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Watts Water CEO’s Departure a Short-Term Negative, Analysts Say

The departure of Watts Water Technologies Inc. Chief Executive Officer David Coghlan is surprising and a short-term negative though the company “is in good hands,” Sterne Agee & Leach Inc. analysts said.

Dean Freeman, the chief financial officer, was named interim CEO while the North Andover, Massachusetts-based water products manufacturer searches for a new chief executive. Watts late yesterday said Coghlan, in the post for three years, resigned to become a partner in a private investment firm.

“The surprising departure of Watts’s CEO could be a small near-term negative as he was very well regarded by the Street and made tremendous strides to improve all aspects of the company,” Kevin Bennett and Todd Vencil, Sterne Agee analysts, said in a note.

The shares were down 1.6 percent to $59.26 at 11:10 a.m. in New York trading, trimming gains over the past year to 38 percent. Michael Gaugler, a Brean Capital LLC analyst, termed the departure disappointing yet said Freeman “may in fact be the best candidate for the job,” maintaining a hold on shares.

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