Robert H. Morosky, the 46-year-old right-hand man of Limited Chairman Leslie H. Wexner, has resigned as vice chairman, chief financial officer and a director of the apparel retailer, taking with him stock worth about $50 million.
"After more than 15 years of hard work and a lot of fun, I've decided it's time to retire," Morosky said Monday in a phone interview from his home in Columbus, Ohio, where the Limited is based. "I've always wondered whether my money could work harder than me. We'll finally get to test that concept."
Succeeding Morosky as chief financial officer is Kenneth B. Gilman, 41, the Limited's senior vice president and corporate controller. Gilman, whom analysts described as a "Morosky protege," also assumes the title of executive vice president.
The move by Morosky, who is credited with building the Limited's efficient distribution system as well as arranging financing and acquisitions, surprised analysts and, apparently, Wall Street. Shares in the retailer, which in the latest fiscal year had $3.1 billion in revenue, fell $1.875 a share to $43.50, with more than 1 million shares trading hands.
"He was a key guy," said Fred E. Wintzer, an analyst with Alex. Brown & Sons in Baltimore. "Morosky really was the No. 2 guy at the company and a very powerful fellow."
Even so, analyst Robert A. Corea of Ohio Co. in Columbus said the company is in good shape to weather the loss, with good cash flow and strong divisional management.
Both the Limited and Morosky said the parting, which was effective last Friday, was on good terms. "I'm leaving on very positive terms," he said. "I will be available for consulting, which they've asked me to do."
Morosky, who said it would be "unethical and hypocritical" for him to contemplate going into retailing on his own, detailed three plans for his retirement: looking for investment opportunities, using proceeds from his 1.3 million shares of Limited stock; advising Catholic educational facilities in central Ohio, and fishing. His first jaunt will be from Montauk, off Long Island, where he moors his boat, the Mayacca. According to Morosky, the name means "great hopes and expectations."