Edward B. Grimball has been ousted as chief financial officer of Whitney Holding Corp.

The move, announced Monday by the New Orleans banking company, came less than two weeks after a dismal third-quarter earnings report.

William L. Marks, chairman and chief executive officer, said he would temporarily assume the CFO responsibilities.

"We thought it was time to take a fresh look at this area," Mr. Marks said. "There is nothing grossly out of line, but it needs a fresh look."

Mr. Grimball had presided over the $4.9 billion-asset company's finances since 1990. Analysts said they were not particularly impressed with him, and the earnings results did little to change that opinion.

"This is a guy who didn't know his job," said an analyst, who would only speak on condition of anonymity.

Quarterly net income dropped 28%, to $10.7 million. There were $991,000 of expenses associated with two small bank mergers and some branch purchases.

The results also suffered from an increase in operating expenses, including much higher medical costs related to a change in claims administrators. Higher utility and maintenance costs and significant technology expenditures also were factors.

The company's efficiency ratio worsened to 74%, from 65.12% a year earlier.

One analyst said the third quarter was not as bad as it looked. Christopher T. Kelley of Morgan Keegan & Co. said many of the expenses were to pay for future growth.

Though earnings per share, at 46 cents, were well below analysts' consensus estimate of 71 cents, as compiled by First Call Corp., Whitney had generally met predictions during the past year.

Mr. Grimball was asked to leave, Mr. Marks said, not because of the most recent quarter's problems but rather because of more general concerns. The CEO would not elaborate, and Mr. Grimball could not be reached to comment.

"When you do something a long time, there is a tendency to get a little out of touch with your numbers," Mr. Marks said. "Had the third quarter not evolved the way it did, we might still be in this situation."

Mr. Marks said he was not sure when he would name a new CFO. He mentioned Thomas Callicutt, Whitney's new controller, as a candidate, however.

Mr. Callicutt joined the company Oct. 1 after leaving his post as controller of New Orleans-based First Commerce Corp., which was recently bought by Bank One Corp.

He succeeded Michael D. Charbonnet, who had left Whitney about a year ago.

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