Digital Realty Trust, Inc., the leading global provider of data center solutions, announced today that Michael F. Foust has departed as Chief Executive Officer, effective immediately. The board has appointed A. William Stein, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Investment Officer, to serve as Interim Chief Executive Officer.
"We are very thankful to Mike for his many years of dedicated service to Digital Realty, and for the remarkable business he has built," said Dennis Singleton, Chairman of the board of directors. "Under his leadership, Digital Realty has dramatically expanded the size of its asset base, from a $1 billion collection of properties at the IPO in 2004 to a global platform with a $12 billion enterprise value. This growth has been achieved not just on an absolute basis, but on a per-share basis as well, creating significant value for shareholders in the process. Our share price has more than quadrupled since the IPO in 2004, and the per-share dividend has more than tripled, delivering total shareholder returns far ahead of both the REIT sector and the broader market average.
"With this solid foundation in place, the board and Mike mutually agreed that it was an appropriate time to find the next leader to help guide Digital Realty to the next level and scale of operational sophistication.
"We are gratified that Bill Stein has agreed to serve as Interim Chief Executive Officer while we conduct a search for a successor. Bill has been a member of the senior management team since prior to our IPO in 2004, and has been responsible for creating and maintaining the fortress balance sheet that has provided us a significant competitive advantage with respect to both access to and cost of capital. He is intimately familiar with our customers, employees, and stakeholders. He has the full confidence of the board, and the business will be in very capable hands throughout this transition period."
The board plans to retain a leading executive search firm to immediately begin a search for a successor. The board has also established a Transition Committee, comprised of independent board members William G. LaPerch and Robert H. Zerbst, to ensure a smooth transition. Mr. Foust will continue to serve as a member of the board of directors until the company's annual meeting in April 2014, but will not stand for re-election. The size of the board will be reduced to seven members, effective immediately prior to the 2014 Annual Meeting of Stockholders.
Digital Realty expects to record a one-time charge in the first quarter of 2014 of approximately $0.10 per share related to Mr. Foust's separation compensation. Excluding this one-time charge, the company's 2014 core FFO per share guidance of $4.75-$4.90 remains unchanged.
Source: Digital Realty Trust, Inc.