Lee Korins: Declaration Of Independence In Philly

Leopold Korins' personal stock took a hit Mar. 9, when the Philadelphia Stock Exchange announced its chair- man and CEO as resigning because of a difference with the board over strategy. Korins, a 32-year Merrill Lynch veteran who ran the Pacific Stock Exchange from 1990 to 1996, took over the struggling Philly bourse last August.

Korins, 64, arrived in Philadelphia at a difficult time. In 1996, then Chairman Vincent Casella resigned after it was revealed he had a financial interest in a company that had been selected to install a new trading system. Under pressure from the Securities & Exchange Commission, the exchange then adopted a sweep- ing governance overhaul. Reforms included a more independent board of directors, and sources close to the exchange say the board was frustrated with Korins' prog- ress in addressing regulatory problems. Korins couldn't be reached.

There is talk that Korins' exit could lead to a merger with another bourse--maybe the Chicago Board Options Exchange. A Philly bourse board member says his exchange prefers to remain independent but would consider any proposals.

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