Digital Realty Trust (NYSE:DLR) has replaced its chief executive. The real estate investment trust announced that Michael Foust has vacated the position, effective immediately. He has been replaced on an interim basis by CFO William Stein. Foust will also step down from his seat on the board of directors in advance of the company's annual stockholders meeting next month.

In an SEC filing, the REIT revealed that the outgoing CEO is eligible to receive a severance payment of roughly $6.5 million in cash, in addition to other payments and benefits. It expects to book a total charge of around $14 million, or $0.10 per share, for such costs in its Q1 2014.

Up until now, Foust had been the only CEO in the company's history. Although the firm has had many successes since its 2004 IPO, its stock price dropped by almost 28% in 2013 in the midst of a bull market.

According to the firm, its board has formed a search committee and will immediately begin the work of finding a successor. It plans to retain the services of "a leading executive search firm" to help with the process.

Eric Volkman has no position in Digital Realty Trust. Nor does The Motley Fool. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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