Waterstone Mortgage founder and CEO resigns

Eric Egenhoefer

Eric Egenhoefer, the chief executive officer of Pewaukee-based Waterstone Mortgage Corp. who founded the company in 2000, has resigned.

Eric Egenhoefer

The company announced the news late Friday, and said Egenhoefer’s last day would be Sept. 15. He will stay on as a non-employee director on Waterstone’s board of directors until December.

Waterstone Mortgage is a subsidiary of Wauwatosa-based WaterStone Bank SSB, which is part of Waterstone Financial Inc.

A.W. Pickel III, who was recently hired as president of Waterstone Mortgage, will take on Egenhoefer’s duties. When Pickel was hired in June to take on Egenhoefer’s president role, the company said it added the separate president position to help manage its recent growth.

Douglas Gordon, president and CEO of Waterstone Financial, said it wasn’t necessarily the plan at the time for Egenhoefer to resign, but it was contemplated.

“Eric had communicated to me that he didn’t want to do this the rest of his life,” Gordon said. “He’s done this for 18 years and he may look for other opportunities and he thought it would be good to bring on a No. 2.”

Egenhoefer is going to work for an undisclosed private equity firm to build an online mortgage model. Gordon said it wouldn’t compete with Waterstone Mortgage.

A.W. Pickel III

“After bringing A.W. on board and giving significant consideration to Waterstone’s current and future leadership needs, I have come to the conclusion that it is time for me to step down, pass the torch to a new leader and move on to the next chapter in my career,” Egenhoefer said. “I could not have made this decision without having someone like A.W. in place. I am truly grateful to have worked alongside an incredible group of individuals. Their passion and dedication are the reason Waterstone is what it is today and the reason the company will continue to be successful in the future.”

Gordon said he anticipates Pickel will be named chief executive officer around Sept. 15. He said Pickel built a company (Overland Park, Kansas-based LeaderOne Financial Corp.) similar to Waterstone and sold it in 2016, so he expects the transition between the leaders to be seamless.

“We appreciate the contributions Eric has made over the past 12 years,” Gordon said. “Under his leadership and direction, Waterstone Mortgage Corp. has grown from less than $100 million in annual loan originations in fiscal 2006 to over $2.5 billion in 2017. We also appreciate Eric’s commitment to ensuring a seamless transition of his responsibilities.”

Gordon said with its new regional office in Albuquerque, he expects Waterstone Mortgage to grow to about 800 employees in the next 60 days.

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Molly Dill, former BizTimes Milwaukee managing editor.

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