CIT Group says CEO Peek plans to resign

October 13, 2009 5:49:11 AM PDT
Business lender CIT Group Inc. said Tuesday its chairman and CEO Jeffrey M. Peek plans to resign at the end of the year.

Devastated by the downturn in the credit markets, CIT has been trying to avoid bankruptcy for months as it restructures its operations.

Peek said in a statement that CIT's recently launched restructuring plan makes it "the appropriate time to focus on a transition of leadership."

Shares of CIT fell 17 cents, or 16.3 percent, to $0.87 in premarket trading.

New York-based CIT, one of the nation's largest lenders to small and midsize businesses, is in the middle of its second debt restructuring in recent months as it looks to reduce costs to remain in business.

The current debt exchange could reduce the financial firm's near-term debt burden by $5.7 billion. CIT is trying to swap debt set to mature in the near future for bonds or preferred shares.

CIT has already received $2.3 billion in federal bailout money, a $3 billion emergency loan from some of its largest bondholders, and bought back $1 billion in debt as it tries to reorganize and avoid collapse.

The board of directors is creating a search committee to find a new CEO.

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