Peter Kraus, ousted as chief executive of AllianceBernstein Holding LP, is walking away with about $99m as questions remain about the startling shake-up at the asset manager.
The company agreed to purchase 4.34 million stock units already beneficially owned by Kraus at $22.90 each, according to a regulatory filing Monday. During his tenure at the company, Kraus received most of his pay in units. They were awarded under his employment contract.
Bloomberg News reports that Kraus’ departure - and the removal of nine directors - left analysts puzzled and fueled speculation on several fronts: that majority owner Axa SA wanted more direct control, that there was friction between the CEO and Axa, or that a major strategy shift was on the way. A conference call led by Axa Chairman Denis Duverne provided few details.
“Management’s conference call produced more questions than answers,” Jefferies analyst Surinder Thind wrote in a note on Monday. The changes “would lead one to believe AB will be undertaking a change in strategy. Otherwise, the change does not appear to be justified.”
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