H&R Block Chairman and CEO Mark Ernst has stepped down two weeks after the company CFO resigned, as the company faces losses from its subprime mortgage operations.

He is being replaced as chairman by former SEC Chairman Richard C. Breeden, who led a proxy battle to put a group of three dissident shareholders on the Block board. Breeden, whose investment fund Breeden Capital Management started buying shares in Block last year, was elected to the board in September along with two of his associates, Robert Gerard and Edward Shaw. He has argued that the company should focus on its tax prep business instead of mortgages and banking.

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