Bear Stearns ( BSC) Chairman and CEO James Cayne will reportedly become the next corner-office casualty in the Wall Street credit crisis.

The online version of The Wall Street Journal said late Monday that Cayne, who has been CEO since 1993, will step down from that position but remain chairman, according to people familiar with the matter.

Bear's president, Alan Schwartz, is expected to replace Cayne as CEO, the Journal said.

Various media outlets have speculated in recent weeks that the company's board has been planning a move to replace Cayne.

He will join the ranks of several dumped chief executives in the wake of the subprime mortgage-related meltdown suffered by top financial companies. CEOs at Citigroup ( C), Merrill Lynch ( MER) and UBS ( UBS) have left as a result of hits to their companies' bottom line.

Last month, Bear wrote down $1.9 billion in painful mortgage-security positions, contributing to the first quarterly loss in its 84-year history.

The red ink didn't dovetail well with Cayne's reputation as a somewhat absent CEO -- a notion that was seemingly crystallized by a Nov. 1 Journal profile that highlighted frequent bridge and golf outings by Cayne amid this fall's credit downturn.

Shares of Bear Stearns, which have dropped by about 50% in the past seven months, were up 1.7% to $77.53 in recent after-hours trading.

This article was written by a staff member of TheStreet.com.

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