Sallie Mae's Lord to retire

Al Lord, the boss at publicly traded, for-profit student lender Sallie Mae, who in recent years engineered the company's move to Wilmington from Virginia, the "insourcing" to U.S. sites of jobs it had formerly moved overseas, plus a new focus on "private" loans and collections after Democrats in Congress cut off lucrative taxpayer-subsidized student loans, surprised investors by announcing yesterday that he's leaving at the end of 2013.

"Jack Remondi, current President and COO, would be a strong, and likely, choice to replace Mr. Lord upon his retirement," analyst Sameer Gokhale told clients at Janney Capital Markets in a report this morning. The Sallie board has started a search.

Sallie Mae CEO Al Lord.

"It is unclear why the company decided to make the announcement now, more than a year before Al Lord actually retires. It may have been more appropriate for the company to wait until a new CEO had been selected," Gokhale added.

"We believe the loss of Al Lord will be significant for Sallie Mae given his substantial experience and success at managing the company, especially through the extremely difficult period of 2008/2009. ...

"Mr. Remondi is well respected by the investment community and has been effective at communicating with regulators and legislators."