Brokerage executive found dead at home

Ferris Baker Watts CFO apparently committed suicide

Securities industry

May 15, 1999|By Bill Atkinson and Peter Hermann | Bill Atkinson and Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

Paul "Skip" Geidel, the chief financial officer of the brokerage firm Ferris, Baker Watts Inc., died from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound Thursday evening in his Fairfax County, Va., home, police said.

Geidel, 51, was fatally wounded in his upper body, said Warren Carmichael, director of public information for the Fairfax County Police Department. Carmichael would not confirm whether a suicide note was found.

Geidel apparently was found about 7 p.m. Thursday by his wife, Fran, who had last seen him that morning.

Geidel's death is a shock to those close to him.

"It is just mind-boggling to me," said John Boo, head of Nasdaq trading at Ferris Baker Watts, who had known Geidel for 10 years. "I talked to him [Thursday]. He was talking about his vacation and what he was going to do. We chatted for five minutes. Everything sounded great."

Apparently, the firm's finances are in good shape.

"Our fiscal year ended Feb. 28, a complete New York Stock Exchange and independent audit have been completed with no surprises," said Robin Oegerle, a spokeswoman for the firm. "The books are in order."

Ferris Baker Watts has dual headquarters in Baltimore and Washington. The firm's chief executive is based in Baltimore with its trading floor, corporate finance operations, public finance operations and the largest branch in the system. The firm has 25 branches and 550 employees, of which about 200 are in Baltimore.

Geidel joined the brokerage firm in 1989 as the chief financial officer and member of its board of directors. He rose to become the chief executive officer in 1997, but decided in November that he wanted to return to his job as chief financial officer.

"He was a Wall Street investment-banker type but very warm at heart," Oegerle said. "He made sure everybody felt comfortable."

George Ferris Jr., chairman of Ferris Baker Watts, said in a statement: "Skip Geidel was perhaps the finest chief financial officer in the securities industry and will be sorely missed by his friends and associates."

A funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. Monday at Our Lady of Good Counsel in Vienna, Va.

In addition to his wife, he is survived by four children, Chad, Stacy, Josh and Megan, and two grandchildren.

Pub Date: 5/15/99

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