MoneyGram International Inc. announced yesterday that Philip W. Milne, a 17-year veteran of the company, has resigned as chairman, president and CEO of the company. Milne's departure comes after MoneyGram posted a $361 million net loss for the first quarter ended March 31. The company tied the loss to the decline in value of asset-backed securities in its investment portfolio. The Securities and Exchange Commission in February notified the company that it was beginning an informal investigation into the financial statements surrounding MoneyGram's investments, according to a May SEC filing by the company. To avoid a hostile takeover by rival Euronet Worldwide Inc., MoneyGram in March raised funds from Thomas H. Lee Partners LP and Goldman Sachs Group Inc. Milne, who had been MoneyGram CEO since 2004, will receive a severance package valued at $9.7 million, which includes $2.05 million in salary severance, SEC filings say. "With the recapitalization successfully completed, we are on firm footing to pursue our global growth opportunities," Anthony Ryan, executive vice president and chief operating officer, said in a statement. MoneyGram this week began a search for a new CEO, and Ryan will lead the company during the interim. MoneyGram, based in Minneapolis, enables global funds transfers, money orders and payment-processing services for financial institutions and retail customers. It has 152,000 locations in 180 countries.