According to AFP, Chief Executive of Blackwater USA Erik Prince is leaving his function in that role with the company. Blackwater, recently renamed Xe is a private security company with major contracts in Iraq. Blackwater came under heavy criticism following a string of civilian shootings that culminated in a slaying of 17 innocents in a busy Baghdad intersection in October of 2007.
Since that time, Blackwater has been in a precarious situation still operating as security personnel for visiting foreign dignitaries. They even provided security cover for President Barack Obama during his summer 2008 visit. However, earlier this year the government of Iraq announced Blackwater's bannishment from their country and criminal prosecutions of employees inside the United States has lead to the renaming of the multi-million dollar private military contractor.
Erik Prince, a retired Navy SEAL founded Blackwater USA in 1997. After receiving government contracts for operations in Iraq, their profits have skyrocketed from hundred-thousands of dollars a year to grossing well past the multi million dollar mark. Mr. Prince will remain with Blackwater, now Xe, as the chairman of the company.