updated 4/3/2006 6:32:09 PM ET 2006-04-03T22:32:09

Maytag Corp.’s top executive announced Monday he resigned from the company, which was bought by rival Whirlpool Corp.

Ralph Hake, 56, Maytag’s chairman and CEO announced in a conference call with company executives Monday morning that he was leaving, said Whirlpool spokesman Steve Duthie.

“I will not be staying with the company — by choice — as Whirlpool already has the leadership required,” Hake’s statement said. “I have many things I still want to pursue and accomplish in life and this gives me the opportunity to move on to the next chapter.”

Duthie said the notice came during a call with about 900 Maytag and Whirlpool senior executives around the world.

Hake, who sold his home in Newton last month, has a change of employment package that awards him more than $12 million in the event of significant changes in job duties.

Hake joined Maytag in June 2001 after leaving Flour Corp. as chief financial officer. Before that, he held executive positions at Whirlpool for 12 years.

Duthie said no other executive departures were immediately expected.

“These meetings are just now getting under way. Over the course of the next four to eight weeks, you’ll be seeing some adjustments,” he said.

Whirlpool completed the $2.6 billion purchase of Maytag on Friday and company officials said they would begin the process of integrating the two companies. The merger made Maytag a wholly owned subsidiary of Whirlpool and ended Maytag’s 113 years as an independent company.

David L. Swift, president of Whirlpool’s North America division planned to be in Newton Tuesday, Maytag’s home base east of Des Moines, to meet with employees and local and state officials.

Maytag has about 18,000 employees worldwide in 11 manufacturing plants in the United States and two in Mexico. More than 4,000 workers are located in Iowa.

The company markets Whirlpool, Maytag, KitchenAid, Jenn-Air, Amana, Brastemp, Bauknecht and other major brand names.

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