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By Olivia Oran and Jessica Toonkel
NEW YORK, Jan 29 (Reuters) - Eric J. Gleacher has resigned as chairman of Gleacher & Co Inc and will leave the broker-dealer he founded in 1990.
His departure, announced Tuesday, comes after Gleacher & Co said last year it was exploring the potential sale of the company.
Gleacher, 73, spent the past 22 months working on the sale of Archstone LP, a real estate company owned by Lehman Brothers Holdings inc, to Equity Residential and AvalonBay Communities Inc for $16 billion. With that deal completed in November, Gleason felt it was time to move on, he told Reuters in an interview.
He will continue to consult investors and chief executives independently.
"I am not retiring at all," Gleacher said.
His decision to step down is unrelated to a potential merger, a person familiar with the situation said.
Gleacher & Co shares have plunged 55 percent in the past 12 months. In August, Chief Executive Thomas Hughes said the firm had engaged in a strategic review that "may end in merger with a strategic counterparty, a strategic acquisition, divestiture of business units, investment in our company by a third party, or a stay-the-course outcome."
Hughes did not return calls seeking comment on Tuesday.
Eric Gleacher founded the mergers and acquisitions department at Lehman Brothers in 1978 and later headed global mergers and acquisitions at Morgan Stanley.
At Morgan Stanley, he advised private equity firm KKR & Co LP in its high-profile takeover battle for RJR Nabisco, which was featured in the bestselling book "Barbarians at the Gate."
Gleacher & Co shares were down 1.3 percent at 75 cents in late-afternoon trading.