Robert K. Cole will retire as chairman of New Century Financial Corp., Irvine, Calif., and Fredric J. Forster will assume the role of non-executive chairman of the board on Jan. 1, New Century has announced.Mr. Cole, who co-founded the real estate investment trust in 1995 with Brad Morrice and Ed Gotschall, will continue as a member of the board. "Now that there has been a smooth transition of the chief executive officer role to Brad, I plan to retire from my position as chairman of the board at the end of this year," Mr. Cole said. Mr. Forster, New Century's lead independent director, has been a board member since 1997. He was formerly president and chief operating officer of H.F. Ahmanson and Co. and its subsidiary, Home Savings of America. New Century can be found on the Web at http://www.ncen.com.

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