Taubman Centers Inc. founder A. Alfred Taubman announced his resignation from the company he began nearly 50 years ago. Taubman relinquished his duties as board member and chairman of the board, the company announced.

His son, Robert Taubman, president and CEO, will assume the chairman position. Taubman’s board term expires May 2002 at which time company executives say the post will remain unseated. "It is of course difficult for me to step away from the leadership of the company I founded," says Taubman, "but I believe this is the right thing to do at this time. I have great confidence in the company’s continuing success."

The question now posed is: Will Taubman’s resignation impact the productivity and virility of the company he created? Matt Ostrower, analyst with Morgan Stanley, states an opinion popular among his peers, "I think it will have no impact on Taubman’s business whatsoever."

In May of this year, Taubman was indicted by a federal grand jury in Manhattan on a criminal charge of fixing rates Sotheby's charged to sellers of works of art, jewelry and furniture at auctions, as reported by the Detroit Free Press. Though Taubman pleaded not guilty, he was convicted for conspiracy to violate antitrust laws in his capacity as owner of the Sotheby’s auction house on Dec. 5. His sentencing is scheduled for April 2 at which time he may have to serve up to three years in prison.

Founded in 1950, Taubman Centers Inc.’s portfolio represents the largest single market share of the United States most productive retail properties. Headquartered in Bloomfield Hills, Mich., the publicly-traded REIT develops and acquires shopping centers while also maintaining comprehensive in-house initiatives in leasing, construction, planning, design, finance and retail analysis.