Wamu Decides to Drop Great Western's Top Execs

By Rhoads, Christopher | American Banker, July 3, 1997 | Go to article overview

Wamu Decides to Drop Great Western's Top Execs


Rhoads, Christopher, American Banker


The top executives of recently acquired Great Western Financial Corp. will not be asked to stay at the combined company, Washington Mutual Inc. said Wednesday.

"We decided to run with the team that got us here," said Kerry K. Killinger, chief executive officer of Seattle-based Washington Mutual, whose acquisition of Great Western closed late Tuesday.

"There are some terrific people on the Great Western team, but we simply had some duplication," he added. The executives are expected to leave by the end of July.

The announcement coincided with the news that Washington Mutual had received regulatory approval to proceed with the integration of Chatsworth, Calif.-based Great Western in a deal valued at about $8 billion.

The acquisition, which followed a nearly four-month-long hostile takeover battle initiated by H.F. Ahmanson & Co. of Irwindale, Calif., will make the new Washington Mutual by far the largest thrift in the country, and the 11th-largest financial institution, with $88.5 billion of assets.

The announcement of the departures generally did not surprise analysts because Washington Mutual followed the same script in its December acquisition of American Savings Bank. Only two senior officials from American Savings, Craig Davis and John Donohue, remain at Washington Mutual.

"When you have a deal like this you have a buyer and a seller, and typically the buyer wants to insert their own players," said Thomas Theurkauf, an analyst at Keefe, Bruyette & Woods Inc. …

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