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Schmear Campaign

Former Taco Bell CFO drops chalupa, joins floundering bagel chain.
Lisa Yoon, CFO.com | US
June 5, 2002

>> Smell toast burning?

Could be fortunes of bagel retailer New World Restaurant Group Inc…. Of late, New World's problems—from Securities and Exchange Commission investigations to staggering debt load—have been mounting... This may be reason operator of Einstein Bros. and Noah's New York Bagels shops tapped fast-food veteran Max Craig as new finance chief… Craig, former Taco Bell Corp. CFO, replaces Jerold Novack, whom New World canned in April…

Craig was with Taco Bell (now a unit of Yum Brands Inc.) back when fast-food purveyor was under PepsiCo's umbrella… Joined Pepsico Food Systems's finance department in 1980 and eventually became senior director of finance… In 1987, he moved to Taco Bell unit as VP of business planning… Held subsequent senior positions in development and acquisitions and became CFO in 1997…

New World hoping Craig's experience in fast-food industry will help bagel maker out of its current jam… Problems such as investigation by SEC for filing financials late and for paying possibly unauthorized bonuses to departing chairman Ramin Kamfar in April… SEC also looking into termination, with cause, of Novack in April... In addition, New World carrying $158 million in outstanding debt... Standard & Poor's lowered company's credit rating last week on fears it wouldn't be able to refinance $140 million in senior secured notes due next year… Bagel maker already has been delisted from both Nasdaq and, more recently, OTC Bulletin Board…

To round out management, New World also promoted Paul J.B. Murphy III, EVP of Einstein-Noah business unit, to newly created COO post... Former Yum Brands-KFC Corp. HR exec Richard R. Lovely was named chief personnel officer, another new position…

>> TRC, a technical risk-management and construction-services specialist, said CFO Harold Elston Jr. is retiring in September after nine years with company… TRC named John Hohener as Elston's successor…

Hohener was most recently CFO at Entridia Corp…. Before that, was co-founder, VP, CFO, and treasurer of Smartflex Systems, an electronics contract manufacturer… Hohener co-founded Smartflex in 1988, took company public in 1995, helped expand it through acquisitions, and sold it in 1999… He previously spent some time at Silicon Systems, now owned by Texas Instruments, where he was director of corporate accounting and led company's initial public offering....

CEO Dick Ellison likes Hohener's broad range of experiences… "He is an operationally focused CFO," he says, "whose scope and depth will be valuable for our continued growth."

>> CRM software maker Kana Software named John Huyett EVP and CFO… Huyett no stranger to software business… Was CEO of Clickmarks before joining Kana… Prior to that, held CFO, then CEO positions at Magellan Corp., where he led a turnaround campaign… That effort increased company's revenues by more than 45 percent... By time Huyett left Magellan, company was back in black... He also served a stint as CFO of Avant Corp., which he helped take public... A KPMG alum, Huyett finished an 18-year tenure as partner head of that firm's Carolinas high-tech practice…

Apparently, Huyett's high-tech savvy afforded him luxury of choice in job hunting… "I looked at several software organizations and chose Kana because it's a stable, well-run, and innovative organization," he said... So what impressed him about Kana the most? It kept its word: "Last October, Kana set an extremely aggressive financial plan to become the first post-bubble E-CRM company to be profitable, and they did." Fair dinkum.




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