"The opportunity to lead Legg Mason through a crucial period of its history has been both challenging and fulfilling. I am very proud of our progress and accomplishments during the past five years," Fetting said in a statement. "Now is the right time for new leadership to take the baton and continue to move the company forward into its next phase of growth and development."
W. Allen Reed, the lead independent director, will become the non-executive chairman. Joseph A. Sullivan, head of global distribution, will fill in as interim CEO while the board, which has already formed a search committee, looks for a permanent replacement for Fetting. The company said it will hire a leading search firm to help find a new CEO from inside and outside candidates.
"Since early 2008, Mark Fetting has led Legg Mason through a very challenging period of turmoil in the global financial markets and major changes in the asset management industry," said Allen Reed in a statement. "During this period, he has been instrumental in reducing the company's cost structure, improving its balance sheet and liquidity, and positioning the company for future growth."