CEO resigns from Clearwater auto loan company Nicholas Financial

The president and CEO of Clearwater subprime auto loan company Nicholas Financial has resigned.

Douglas Marohn informed the publicly traded company’s board of his resignation on May 6, and it took effect three days later. He also stepped down from the company’s board.

Stepping in as interim CEO is Michael Rost, Nicholas Financial’s vice president of branch operations, who has been with the company for more than 20 years.

“The board is excited to have Mike take over executive leadership on an interim basis,” Nicholas Financial chairperson Jeffrey Royal said in a statement. “Mike has been successfully managing branches for many years now, growing organizations while maintaining strict discipline on loan terms. We believe that Mike’s close involvement with company operations positions him to lead the company effectively following Doug’s departure.”

Royal said Rost is expected to be a candidate in Nicholas Financial’s search for a full-time CEO. A call and emails to Nicholas Financial were not immediately returned Wednesday.

Marohn had worked for Nicholas Financial from 1998 to 2011 before leaving for other companies. He returned as president and CEO in 2017.

Marohn will receive a severance payment of $131,250, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, as well as compensation for unused vacation time. The agreement includes the forfeiture of Marohn’s restricted stock shares, a one-year non-compete agreement and a two-year agreement not to solicit Nicholas Financial employees for other work.

Nicholas Financial is traded on the Nasdaq, and had 261 employees as of its most recent annual financial report last summer. After closing at $10.11 per share on Tuesday, the company’s stock dropped to about $9.50 Wednesday morning.

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