Magazine article American Banker

Future CEO Sees 'Genuine Power' in Doral Prospects

Magazine article American Banker

Future CEO Sees 'Genuine Power' in Doral Prospects

Article excerpt

Glen Wakeman, Doral Financial Corp.'s chief executive-elect, said the Puerto Rican banking company has strong growth prospects even though it is still dealing with much-publicized accounting issues.

On May 23, almost nine months after its CEO left, Mr. Wakeman became the president and chief operating officer of the San Juan company, which said then that he would become its CEO and a director once it has filed full-year 2005 results.

On Tuesday, in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Doral said he would become CEO before June 27.

Mr. Wakeman, 46, was the chief executive of General Electric Co.'s Latin American consumer finance business. In an interview Tuesday, he said leaving GE after 20 years was hard but he wanted the opportunity to head a publicly traded bank.

"Having read the filings, all the public information. ... I was convinced the franchise had some genuine power, the core of the business was strong, and the people were excellent, and there are good growth prospects."

"This is a strong franchise and it has to overcome its current challenges, but the more people get to know about how good the employee base is and how solid the prospects are with the customers, I think, the better for everybody."

Analysts say that hiring Mr. Wakeman is a move in the right direction for Doral, but noted that the company still has a lot of work to do to recover from accounting issues that have plagued it since early last year.

Mr. Wakeman's "background and credentials seem suited for the job," said analyst Joe Gladue of Cohen Bros. & Co.

Shares of Doral rose on the news, gaining 8.6% Tuesday.

"It's a very positive development, but it's going to take more than an announcement to fix this company," said analyst Thomas Monaco of Sterne, Agee & Leach Inc. "Glen has an extreme amount of work ahead him, and I hope he's up to it. …

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