LNR changes prompt moves at Sunrise bank
By Paola Iuspa
According to the plans of the late Leonard Miller, co-founder of Lennar Corp., son-in-law Steve Saiontz will become chairman of Union Bank of Florida.
Mr. Miller, who died July 28, served as chairman of the bank's board of directors. The Sunrise-based bank has 16 branches in Broward.
Effective Dec. 2, Mr. Saiontz will step down as chief executive officer of LNR Property Corp., a real estate investment, finance and management company and a 1997 spin-off of Lennar, to move into the banking industry.
Two years ago, when Mr. Miller was diagnosed with cancer, he started preparing his son-in-law to replace him as chairman of the bank's board of directors, Mr. Saiontz said Friday.
"He started talking about this change two years ago," he said. "But in the past six months the process accelerated."
Stuart Miller, chairman of LNR and Leonard Miller's son, said his brother-in-law will remain a director and share his company knowledge with Jeffrey Krasnoff, who is the company president and will become the firm's CEO in December.
Mr. Saiontz, who had some banking experience in the 1980s, said he does not anticipate changing the bank's direction and hopes to carry on with the organization's current president and management group's business plan.
"We will continue doing the same thing that Leonard was doing," he said.
Stuart Miller said he, Mr. Krasnoff and Mr. Saiontz, who all came from Lennar, worked as a team to build LNR and walked together on the path that took the company public.
"While it may look like a sudden change," Stuart Miller said, "we have been working on the transition for almost a year."
Mr. Saiontz headed a year of negotiations that resulted in the LNR board of directors approving last week a buyback of 4 million shares of the firm's common stock, bringing up to 9.5 million the number of shares available for the company to buy back, of which 4.6 were already purchased.
LNR has another 33.3 million shares outstanding, 23.5 million of which are common stock and 9.8 million are Class B common stock.
During the third quarter ending Aug. 31 the firm posted net earnings of $53.7 million, or $1.54 per share diluted, compared to net earnings of $35.2 million, or $1.00 per share diluted, for the same quarter in 2001, an LRN report said. For the nine months ended Aug. 31, 2002, net earnings were $113.5 million or $3.24 per share diluted, compared to net earnings of $99.6 million, or $2.85 per share diluted for the same period in 2001.