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Ameritrade CEO leaves

Shares of Ameritrade Holding Corp. (Nasdaq: AMTD) fell slightly in afterhours activity after the company announced the departure of its CEO less than three months after becoming the sole chief executive.

After market close Monday, the online brokerage announced Tom Lewis resigned as CEO for "personal reasons". Lewis may remain as a consultant to the chairman, the company said. Lewis became Ameritrade's sole CEO in May after serving as co-CEO for 14 months with chairman and founder Joe Ricketts.

Ameritrade stock slid to 12 7/8 in afterhours activity on the Island electronic communications network, immediately following the news. Ameritrade closed Monday's regular trading at 13 1/16, up 1/8 for the session.

Executive search firm Heidrich and Struggles will lead the hunt for a new CEO. Ricketts will serve as interim CEO until a permanent replacement is found, the company said.

Ameritrade insisted Lewis' departure wouldn't hurt the company's performance. First Call's analyst consensus currently predicts a profit of a penny per share in the fiscal fourth quarter, which ends in September. Consensus estimates call for a loss of 7 cents per share in fiscal 2000 and a profit of 93 cents per share in fiscal 2001.

• Ameritrade bests Wall Street predictions>