McKesson CFO Jumps to Software Provider

James Beer is named finance chief of Atlassian, a provider of team collaboration and productivity software.
Vincent RyanDecember 18, 2017

After four years heading up finance at pharmaceuticals distributor and health-care giant McKesson, James Beer is moving on. The veteran CFO, who has also had stints at Symantec and AMR (American Airlines), will start at software provider Atlassian on February 20, 2018.

Beer replaces current Atlassian CFO Murray Demo, himself a veteran technology CFO  who steered Atlassian through its initial public offering more than two years ago. Demo will leave the company at the end of January 2018. Beer will report to Atlassian co-CEO and co-founder, Scott Farquhar, and work in the company’s San Francisco office.

“Mike [Cannon-Brookes, Atlassian’s co-founder] and I are thrilled to bring James’ vast experience and leadership to Atlassian’s team,” said Farquhar. “His track record of scaling businesses and accelerating growth for global leaders across software, aviation, and health care will serve as a huge addition to Atlassian as we continue our journey of creating better ways to work for the Fortune 500,000.”

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Said Beer: “Atlassian has built a phenomenal company powered by great products, great people, and a strong values-driven culture. I am very excited to be joining TEAM [Atlassian’s ticker symbol] and look forward to helping the company continue to build upon its previous successes and realize its full potential.”

Replacing Beer at McKesson will be Britt Vitalone, senior vice president and CFO of U.S. Pharmaceutical and McKesson specialty health. In 10 years at McKesson, Vitalone has also been senior vice president of corporate financial planning and analysis and merger and acquisition finance, as well as senior vice president and CFO of McKesson medical-surgical.

Demo, the CFO being replaced at Atlassian, serves on a number of tech company boards and was finance chief of Adobe Systems from 2000 to 2006.

He actually stepped out of a board role at Atlassian, which he had held for four years, to serve as finance chief in October 2015.

The move was necessitated because the Securities and Exchange Commission was investigating accounting improprieties by Erik Bardman, Atlassian’s former CFO, in his prior job at Logitech. The SEC sued Bardman in April 2016.

Atlassian, based in Sydney, Australia, develops and sells cloud-based collaboration software, including Trello, which it acquired for $425 million earlier in 2017. Atlassian is forecasting revenue of between $841 million to $847 million in fiscal 2018.

Beer currently serves on the board of directors for Alaska Air Group, parent company of Alaska Airlines and Virgin America, and ForeScout Technologies. He is also a member of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco’s economic advisory council.

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