Tom Hicks to step down early

The co-founder of Hicks Muse Tate & Furst said yesterday he will relinquish his leadership of the firm several months ahead of schedule.

Thomas Hicks, co-founder of storied Dallas buyout firm Hicks Muse Tate & Furst, said at an annual investor conference last night that he will step down as chairman of the firm on December 31.

In August, the firm announced that Hicks would retire from the firm but retain his chairmanship until the end of March 2005.

Speaking to limited partners at the firm’s annual investors meeting in Dallas, Hicks reiterated a succession plan described to LPs earlier this year that will see co-founder John Muse take over as chairman of the firm. Muse remains head of the firm’s London office.

Hicks also announced he would step down from the board of Clear Channel, a publicly traded radio and entertainment company in which Hicks Muse has an investment.

Hicks, one of the pioneers of the leveraged buyout, has told colleagues and investors he plans to spend more time managing his family’s investments in sports teams, including the Dallas Stars hockey team and the Texas Rangers baseball team, and in real estate holdings.

In 2002, Hicks Muse co-founder Charles Tate retired from the firm.