Cetera Financial Group said late Tuesday that Robert “RJ” Moore is giving up his CEO role next month for health reasons but plans to stay on as an advisor.
Chairman Ben Brigeman will step into Moore’s shoes on an interim basis, while Heidrick & Struggles helps the independent broker-dealer group permanently fill the CEO slot.
According to Moore, his doctor urged him to “cut back on … current commitments” to recover from an undisclosed illness. “This led to one of the most difficult decisions of my professional career…,” he explained, adding that he has “full faith in Cetera’s management team.”
After five months as board chair, Moore was tapped to lead the IBD firm in September 2016, taking over from Larry Roth, who had held the role for over two years.
“This transition was driven by the board and its assessment of the company’s future … and what it wanted to do that would be best” for the firm, its then roughly 9,000 affiliated advisors and their clients, Moore said in an interview at the time.
Previously, the executive had been president of LPL Financial (May 2012 to March 2015), as well as serving as CEO of Legal & General Investment Management America, an asset manager, for about a year and as a board member for eight years.
The news of the CEO search comes less than four months after the private-equity firm Genstar Capital acquired a majority stake in Cetera for about $1.7 billion, according to Bloomberg.
Cetera Financial includes the broker-dealers Cetera Advisors, Cetera Advisor Networks, Cetera Financial Institutions, Cetera Financial Specialists, First Allied Securities and Summit Brokerage Services. It has over 7,000 affiliated advisors today.
“Shocking news. RJ is a great leader in our industry. Best wishes to him and his family!” said Riskalyze CEO Aaron Klein on Twitter.
Brigeman is set to work with other executives before a new CEO is tapped, including Cetera President Adam Antoniades, CFO Jeff Buchheister and Chief Human Resources Officer Jeannie Finkel.
The interim CEO has been in financial services since 1984, when he joined Key Bank. He stayed there until 1996, when he moved to Charles Schwab. He retired from Schwab in 2012, after serving as head of its investor services unit and in other roles, and became a member of Genstar’s Strategic Advisory Board in June 2017.
“RJ has been the leader needed at Cetera during the company’s restructuring and remarkable turnaround, and we are grateful that he will be able to continue to be part of the organization in an advisory capacity,” Brigemen said in a statement.
In 2017, Cetera worked on renegotiating its credit facilities, which followed the restructuring of its operations in 2016 — when it became a stand-alone entity after the bankruptcy of its former parent company, RCS Capital (later renamed Aretec, or Cetera spelled backward).
RCS Capital, which was led by then Executive Chairman Nicholas Schorsch, bought Cetera for $1.15 billion from Lightyear Capital in 2014. Later that year, an entity in the non-traded REIT space that Schorsch was involved with became embroiled in an accounting scandal and related troubles, which spilled over onto RCS Capital.