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Where are Boss's U.S. Bosses?

Viva Las Vegas? Report says clothier's U.S. CFO on paid leave, CEO in hiding. Plus: small world at Vivendi Universal, and Pyramid Breweries hopped up over new finance chief.
Lisa Yoon, CFO.com | US
May 29, 2002

>> Remember when accounting was boring? Not anymore. These days, accounting scandals -- and the CFOs blamed for them -- even rate a mention in gossip columns. In yesterday's "Page Six," New York Post's tattler section, that paper had plenty to say about finance chief at tony German clothing manufacturer Hugo Boss . According to the Post, Vincent Ottomanelli, CFO of Hugo Boss's U.S. operation, and his boss CEO Marty Staff, have been "on vacation" since mid-May. Post claims Staff in hiding. Allegedly, Boss's U.S. Boss left voicemail stating: "I'm off to Vegas!"...

Indeed, last Friday, Hugo Boss management announced that Ottomanelli and Staff have been on paid leave since May 14... On Monday, the company said it discovered discrepancies in inventory accounting 2001 during a routine check in April and that it was conducting an internal investigation. As a result, company will miss its 2002 targets... Boss brass said the company would probably not restate 2001 financial -- instead would take a charge of 6 million euros ($5.5 million) against 2002 earnings...

According to the New York Times, some analysts growing impatient with Boss's lack of openness with respect to growing questions about its accounting... "The news is bad enough," Scilla Huang Sun of Clariden Bank, told the newspaper. "But the market needs clarification as to what is really wrong."

Meanwhile, Post looking for clarification as to whereabouts of CEO Staff. Paper claims the flamboyant Staff told a reporter -- from an undisclosed location, mind you, "I love the Post and I would do anything for you guys but I really can't comment right now."

>> Meanwhile, back on Earth: Universal Studios CFO Frederick Huntsberry promoted to executive vice president and CFO of parent company Vivendi Universal Entertainment, film-and-TV subsidiary of French media giant Vivendi Universal. Huntsberry put in charge of finance for the company, including recent acquisition USA Networks Inc... He will also be responsible for Universal's IT and strategic sourcing departments... Huntsberry continues to report to COO Ron Meyer and to Vivendi Universal CFO Guillaume Hannezo...

Huntsberry's been with Universal five years, joining in 1997 as VP of business development for Universal Pay Television.. In 1998, he was appointed CFO of Universal's television and networks group. Next year, he became finance chief of Universal Pictures, then promoted to SVP and CFO of Universal Studios... A GE alum, Huntsberry manager of corporate mergers & acquisitions for that conglomerate. Stayed at GE for where he worked for over 12 years before making jump into show biz...

>> Seattle-based specialty brewer Pyramid Breweries said Eric Peterson was appointed CFO and VP of finance and administration May 13... Peterson had been serving as interim finance chief at beverage company since February, while he was still partner at consulting firm Tridia Partners LLC... Pyramid is counting on Peterson's experience growing small companies. Brewer trying to grow from small outfit to king of beers... Over last decade, Peterson helped raise over $100 million in equity and over $100 million in debt financing at various small companies...




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