operator Move Inc. Chief Financial Officer Lewis R. Belote III, who joined the company in 2002 (then known as Homestore) in the wake of an accounting scandal, will leave the company this year.

Belote will continue to serve as CFO until the company appoints a successor, Move officials said in a statement.

Belote is the latest in a series of top executives to leave the company — the company announced in February that Lorna Borenstein, a former Yahoo exec who joined Move in May 2007, was departing the company on March 13.

And in January, Move announced that CEO W. Michael Long was retiring, replaced by Steven H. Berkowitz, former CEO of Berkowitz has assumed Borenstein’s duties and the company announced there were no plans to hire a new president.

In March 2008, Move announced that Allan Dalton, hired as president in 2002 and reassigned to a secret Move Inc. project in 2007, had resigned. And Jack Dennison, who also joined Homestore in 2002, resigned in September 2007.

In March 2008, a Move shareholder group, the D3 Family Funds, called for the dismissal of Long and Belote, blaming them for a $130 million investment in auction-rate securities that was held up with the sinking financial markets.

Long, Belote, Dennison and Dalton were part of the management team that was brought in to save the company after an accounting scandal that led to nearly a dozen convictions of former managers and employees — the stock price had fallen from a peak of $138 per share to about 14 cents as the scandal unfolded, and the company was forced to restate earnings. The 2006 conviction of Stuart Wolff, a former Homestore CEO, was overturned last year and a retrial is planned (see Inman News).

Berkowitz said in a statement, "Lew has been a stable presence for the company during some challenging times, and we appreciate the professionalism, expertise and dedication he brought to the company."

And Belote said in a statement that it "has been an incredible journey at Move and I’m proud of our past accomplishments."

Move reported losses of $32.7 million in 2008, with revenue down 3 percent (to $242 million) compared to 2007.


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