Bahrain's Gulf Finance House chief executive Ted Pretty, who cut costs and rolled over debt but failed to kick start revenues, has left the cash-strapped firm, sources familiar with the matter said.
GFH has been hard hit by the Gulf's economic crisis and struggled throughout 2010 to pay back the debt it took on during the Gulf property boom that ended in 2008.
"Ted Pretty has left. It's effective end of March, but he left a couple of weeks ago," a source familiar with the matter, who spoke on condition of anonymity said.
A second source confirmed the departure.
The sources said that disputes with GFH's Executive Chairman Esam Janahi were the main cause for his departure.
GFH denied, however, that Pretty had left the company for good.
Haider Majali, the company's corporate secretary, told Reuters that Pretty had taken extended leave on February 3 for personal reasons.
"We expect him back in mid-March," Majali said.
Pretty became chief executive of GFH in December 2009, shortly after joining the bank from Australian investment bank Macquarie. He slashed costs at GFH, partly through job cuts during the first quarter of 2010. He also rolled over several loans.
But GFH was unable to find new revenue sources after its earlier business model of earnings fees on money it raised for real estate projects in the region collapsed with the property crash. It booked only $533,000 in revenues during the third quarter of last year.
Pretty's absence comes at a crucial time for the banks. Its cash reserves were depleted at the end of September 2010, and it is currently trying to raise up to $500m in fresh capital to repair its balance sheet.
Subscribe to Arabian Business' newsletter to receive the latest breaking news and business stories in Dubai,the UAE and the GCC straight to your inbox.