CIT's CFO follows CEO in retiring

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The chief financial officer of CIT Group Inc is retiring, adding another executive search for a board that is already looking for a chief executive officer.

CIT, which emerged from one of the largest bankruptcies in U.S. history earlier this month, is looking to re-establish itself as a lender to small and medium-sized businesses after a disastrous foray into subprime lending earlier this decade.

CFO Joseph Leone will retire at the end of April after more than 25 years with the company, CIT said on Tuesday.

Leone’s departure will follow that of CEO Jeffrey Peek, who has delayed his own retirement to January 15, according to a separate regulatory filing.

That filing also revealed that Leone’s salary for his remaining months at CIT will be at an annual rate of $1.3 million, double his 2009 compensation.

Half will be paid in cash and half in so-called salary shares, the filing said. These shares will be granted at the same time Leone receives his cash salary, but there will be transfer restrictions on the shares for a year.

The search for a replacement for Peek, who said in October he would retire at the end of the year, is progressing, CIT said in a statement.


The company also said it had appointed four new independent directors, bringing its board to 12 members including Peek, who is chairman.

The new directors are Michael Embler, formerly chief investment officer of asset manager Franklin Mutual Advisers; Arthur Newman, a senior managing director at Blackstone Group; Daniel Ninivaggi, of the law firm Winston & Strawn, and Brad Oates, managing partner of advisory firm Stone Advisors.

CIT said it was still searching for three new independent directors. The final board will have 13 members, it said.

The lender, one of the biggest financial sector victims of the credit crisis, is also the only major company in the sector to emerge from bankruptcy.

On Monday, billionaire investor Carl Icahn, who said he was CIT’s largest bondholder before bankruptcy, disclosed in a regulatory filing that he has a 6.1 percent equity stake in the company.

CIT shares were up 0.3 percent at $28.30 at midday on the New York Stock Exchange, after rising nearly 2 percent earlier in the day.

Reporting by Elinor Comlay; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn, John Wallace and Matthew Lewis