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Waste Management President & COO Larry O'Donnell Resigns

Waste Management President & COO Larry O'Donnell Resigns
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6/2/2010 10:06 AM ET

Integrated waste services provider Waste Management Inc. (WM) announced Wednesday that its President and Chief Operating Officer Lawrence O'Donnell, III will leave the company to pursue other Chief Executive Officer opportunities. The company's Chief Executive Officer David Steiner assumed the role of President immediately.

As per a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, or SEC, on Wednesday, the company entered into an employment termination agreement with O'Donnell. Under the Separation Agreement, Waste Management will treat his departure as a termination without cause, entitling him to the payments, compensation and benefits set forth in his employment agreement dated January 21, 2000, as amended.

The Houston, Texas-based company noted that Larry O'Donnell will be working with Steiner through June 30, 2010, to assure an orderly transition of his duties to Steiner.

Commenting on the change, Steiner said, "I have worked with Larry at Waste Management for 10 years, and during that time he has demonstrated the capability and desire to become a CEO. That would be difficult to pursue while performing his duties as president, so we mutually agreed that Larry would transition his duties to me to allow him to devote his energies to the next stage of his career."

It was in January 2000 that O'Donnell joined the company as part of the new management team to turn the company around, and became President and Chief Operating Officer in April 2004.

In a recent development, Waste Management announced in mid April that Carl Rush, vice president of the company's organic growth group, has joined the company's senior leadership team.

Steiner added, "Knowing of Larry's desire to pursue a CEO position, we have had in place the plans and personnel to handle the transition. I expect our operational excellence programs to drive more costs out of the business. We will hold firm on our pricing discipline to improve the company's profitability. And we will remain focused on achieving top and bottom line growth through executing our strategies to grow our current markets, grow customer loyalty and grow into new markets."

While announcing the first-quarter results back in April, the company had said that it is confident to meet its prior earnings forecast for the fiscal year 2010. The company projects full year earnings in the range of $2.09 to $2.13 per share, with earnings momentum building steadily throughout the year. On average, analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect the company to post earnings of $2.11 per share on revenues of $12.37 billion for the full year. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.

The company also stated then that all signs in its business during March and early April suggest a continuing upturn in volumes during the second quarter. Recycling commodity prices remain at a high level, and the company's recent pricing activities would provide immediate benefit.

In its first quarter, Waste Management reported higher profit, reflecting improved commodity prices and year-over-year yield increases. First-quarter net income attributable to the company was $182 million or $0.37 per share, compared to $155 million or $0.31 per share in the prior-year quarter. However, adjusted earnings slipped to $199 million or $0.41 per share from $208 million or $0.42 per share a year ago. Operating revenues advanced 4.4% to $1.94 billion from $2.81 billion last year.

WM is currently trading at $32.10, up $0.13 or 0.41%, on a volume of 164 thousand shares. The shares have been trading between $26.31 and $35.99 in the past 52 weeks period.

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by RTT Staff Writer

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