Activist hedge fund manager Richard Breeden is stepping down as chairman of tax preparer H&R Block at the end of tax season next month.
The former Securities and Exchange Commission chairman said he is leaving the board to focus on his hedge fund, Greenwich, Conn.-based Breeden Capital Management, which owns about 4% of H&R Block.
Breeden has led the company's board for three-and-a-half years. He and two other Breeden Partners nominees were elected to the board in September 2007 with some 85% of the vote, leading then-Chairman Mark Ernst, who campaigned against them, to resign.
"I am looking forward to having more time to work on some of Breeden Capital's more recent investments," Breeden said.
H&R Block's remaining board will elect a new chairman within the next several weeks.
"At the outset we wanted to extricate the company from risky financial businesses, restore financial stability, renew the leadership team and reignite growth in the tax business" Breeden said. "After nearly four years of work, the tax business is surging, the company's balance sheet is vastly stronger than when we began, we are out of the mortgage and securities businesses and there is an effective senior management team running each area of the business."