July 20, 2010 / 3:42 PM / 8 years ago

UPDATE 1-BB&T, Wells Fargo cut ManTech on COO departure

* BB&T Capital Markets cuts stock to hold from buy

* Wells Fargo cuts stock to market perform from outperform

* Shares down 9 pct

July 20 (Reuters) - At least two brokerages downgraded ManTech International Corp (MANT.O), citing the resignation of its President and Chief Operating Officer Larry Prior.

The defense technology company’s shares fell 9 percent in morning trade.

“This departure raises a number of questions in our opinion,” BB&T Capital Markets analyst Michael Lewis, who cut ManTech stock to “hold” from “buy”, wrote in a note to clients.

ManTech Monday announced Prior’s resignation and said Chief Executive Officer George Pedersen will assume the responsibilities of the president.

    The company said its three operating group presidents will assume the chief operating officer’s duties.

    Analyst Lewis raised doubts on the reason behind Prior’s departure as president just one year into office, and if there were any disagreement between Prior and the company.

    “Following a string of new senior management announcements orchestrated by Prior, will the recently hired personnel stay with ManTech or follow Prior after non-solicitation agreements end?,” the analyst wrote.

    Wells Fargo, which downgraded shares of the company to “market perform” from “outperform”, said it assumed “no meaningful surprise” on ManTech’s results which is due July 28.

    The brokerage lowered its valuation range on the stock to between $41 and $45 from between $54 and $59. (Reporting by NR Sethuraman in Bangalore; Editing by Don Sebastian)

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