James M. Weld, president and chief operating officer of Plaza Home Mortgage Corp., resigned abruptly this week after six years with the company.
Jack French, Plaza's cheif executive, will take over the jobs vacated by Mr. Weld.
Both the company and Mr. Weld portrayed the move as an amicable parting. But some industry watchers said Mr. Weld left the company over questions about his ability to manger Plaza now that it has arrived in the top tier of mortgage originators.
Brad A. Morrice, Plaza's corporate administrative officer, denied that Mr. Weld's ability was in question. He said Mr. Weld had told him that running the company was not as much fun now that the company had gotten so large.
"It was a resignation, not a termination," Mr. Morrice said of Mr. Weld's departure.
Mr. Weld, 40, also said he wanted to spend more time with his wife and daughter. Mr. Morrice added that Mr. Weld had made more money in the last two years than he ever believed he would and was taking advantage of that to take a more "low-key" job. Last year Mr. Weld was paid $475,000 in salary and bonus, according to the company's proxy. Mr. Morrice said Mr. Weld owns between 80,000 and 100,000 shares in the company.
Plaza's shares were trading at about $9 at midday Tuesday, down 37.5 cents.
Jack French, Plaza's chief executive, praised Mr. Weld and his contribution to Plaza. "I accept his resignation with regret and wish him well in his future endeavors," Mr. French said.
During his six years at the Santa Ana, Calif.-based company, Mr. Weld helped transform Plaza from a blip on the mortgage map to one of the largest -- and fastest growing -- mortgage companies in the country.
After it went public last year, the company's growth spurted. As of the end of this year's first quarter, Plaza had originated $1.1 billion, making it the 22nd-largest originator in the country. Last year, the company originated $5.5 billion and had a servicing portfolio at yearend of $2.7 billion.