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Jennings showed former CEO Daryl Hodges the door, replacing him with Calgary-based head of energy banking David McGorman.Chris Bolin/The Globe and Mail

Jennings Capital Inc. has replaced its chief executive and made other major changes to senior management, as the boutique brokerage deals with a major drop-off in energy and mining transactions and high staff turnover.

Jennings showed former CEO Daryl Hodges the door, replacing him with Calgary-based head of energy banking David McGorman.

"The board made a decision on Wednesday and made the changes," Mr. McGorman said in an interview. "Mr. Hodges is not with the firm any more."

Mr. Hodges, a founding partner at Jennings, had been CEO since 2010.

Other changes include bringing some past executives back to the firm, including Nancy Peck as chief operating officer and CFO, Peter Campbell as a managing director, and David Lawson as managing director of the sales and trading desk.

"We have had a number of people turning over. It's been a distraction, both in the capital markets and internally," said Mr. McGorman, who will remain in charge of energy investment banking. "We thought it was the best decision that the board could make. We do believe that the market is starting to rebound."

He pointed out that the firm, which has offices in Toronto and Calgary, closed on a $33-million private energy financing in August, and other energy deals have been announced in the last two months that point to an increase in business.

"We felt that in order to get ourselves best positioned, to stabilize our capital base – which is very important in this business – and to get the right people interested in the right seats, we had to make this decision," he said.

He said the financial situation at Jennings is not dire, though without the changes "maybe it would have been."

Some houses have been hit hard by the 2013 downturn in resource deals. Stifel Nicolaus closed its Canadian division in August. Earlier in the year, Stonecap Securities closed its Calgary branch and made cuts in its Toronto office.

In the first half, the value of energy mergers and acquisitions was down 77 per cent in Canada from the same period in 2012, according to Sayer Energy Advisors. Financings, which tend to go hand-in-hand with deal activity, also sputtered, though there have been recent signs of life.

Mr. McGorman said he is confident about Jennings' viability, assuming the current market conditions do not persist indefinitely.

"I've been in the business for over 20 years and this is, bar none, the worst I've seen," he said.