A trade publication reported Thursday that John Sykes has stepped down as head of GunnAllen Financial's board as the Tampa brokerage firm struggles to find its financial footing.
According to an online report by Investment News, Sykes and "a number" of other firm directors have stepped down. Investment News, a Crain Communications publication focused on financial advisers, said GunnAllen "appears to be in serious disarray and faces questions about its financial future."
Sykes, a 73-year-old serial entrepreneur best-known for founding the Sykes Enterprises call center operation, led an investment group that bought a controlling position in GunnAllen in 2008.
Sykes came in to run the company personally after his hand-picked CEO, Gordon Loetz, died in a boating accident. Loetz was not only Sykes' personal adviser but Sykes said he looked on his longtime protege "like a son."
The company for months has been roiled in litigation tied to an apparent $250 million Ponzi scheme operated by former broker Frank Bluestein.
GunnAllen referred calls to marketing director Lisa Rotondo, who was not available for comment. A spokesman for Sykes Enterprises, which is now run by Sykes' son Chuck, said he had no independent knowledge of John Sykes' status with GunnAllen.
Jeff Harrington can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 893-8242. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/jeffmharrington.