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CFO Departures 2019

From GE to Expedia, Red Hat to CSX, many companies saw changes at the CFO position last year.
Vincent RyanJanuary 1, 2020
CFO Departures 2019

Record numbers of chief executives left their jobs in 2019. Turnover in the CFO chair was just as prevalent. The following were some of the more notable CFO departures last year.

January 2019

Deepak Ahuja retired as CFO of Tesla, two years after rejoining the automaker. Vice President of Finance Zach Kirkhorn, who joined Tesla in 2010 and obtained an MBA from Harvard Business School in 2013, replaced him.

Vertex Pharmaceuticals fired Ian Smith, the interim chief financial officer of the Boston-based biotechnology company, for unspecified violations of the company’s code of conduct. “At Vertex, we are deeply committed to our culture of diversity, inclusion, and respect, and we insist that all of our employees, regardless of their seniority, live our values and adhere to our code of donduct,” chairman and CEO Jeffrey Leiden said. The company hired former Ortho Clinical Diagnostics finance chief Charles Wagner in April.

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Longtime Amazon executive Tim Stone left the CFO slot at social media company Snap, the developer of Snapchat, after only eight months on the job. Stone subsequently joined Ford as its finance chief.

Cathy Smith retired as CFO of Target. She joined the company in September 2015 after serving as CFO of Express Scripts.

Netflix hired media finance veteran Spencer Neumann as CFO, just two days after Activision Blizzard announced he would be terminated from its top finance job. Neumann’s gaming-to-streaming move filled the vacancy at Netflix created by the resignation of David Wells. Neumann had been at Activision for only 18 months. According to Reuters, he was terminated for “violating his legal obligations to the company.”


SurveyMonkey announced the retirement of CFO Tim Maly as it reported better-than-expected quarterly sales. Maly guided SurveyMonkey, which provides digital survey tools and data analytics to businesses and individuals, through its initial public offering in September 2018.

Mastercard’s chief financial officer Martina Hund-Mejean retired in 2019 after 11 years in the role. Chief financial operations officer Sachin Mehra succeeded Hund-Mejean.

Antivirus software maker Symantec announced that its chief financial officer Nicholas Noviello would be stepping down to pursue other opportunities. Symantec’s CEO left the company a few months later.

CFO Kevin Wills left Tapestry to join travel center Pilot Flying J as finance chief. Wills joined Coach in March 2017, and helped oversee the company’s rebranding when Coach bought Kate Spade. Joanne Crevoiserat succeeded Wills in the job.


Kathleen Winters filled the top finance spot at Automatic Data Processing (ADP), succeeding Jan Siegmund. Winters had headed finance at MSCI since 2016. Siegmund is now a board member at Western Union.


Nancy Walsh became the second top executive to leave Pier I Imports when she vacated the CFO role. She had joined Pier 1 after three years at Bon-Ton StoresDeborah Rieger-Paganis, a managing director in the turnaround and restructuring practice at AlixPartners, replaced Walsh as finance chief.

Qualcomm CFO George S. Davis left the chipmaker after a six-year tenure to fill the finance chief position at rival Intel that had been vacant since Bob Swan was promoted to CEO. Akash Palkhiwala was named his successor in November.


Rob Lloyd, GameStop‘s chief operating officer and CFO departed the video game-maker after nearly 23 years with company. As part of a new organizational structure, GameStop eliminated the position of COO. James Bell took over as finance chief. Bell had been CFO of Wok Holdings, the parent company of P.F. Chang’s.

CSX finance chief Frank Lonergo stepped down after 19 years at the railroad operator. CSX gave no explanation for the departure of Lonergo, who was named CFO in September 2015. Kevin Boone, a vice-president of corporate affairs and of marketing and strategy, took over as CFO.


Sealed Air fired CFO Bill Stiehl for cause. The company said the firing was related to an internal review by the board’s audit committee in connection with a previously disclosed SEC investigation into the company’s accounting practices. The company appointed James Sullivan, former CFO of Joy Global, as its new head of finance.

Kellogg said that Fareed Khan would leave the company. Amit Banati, president of Kellogg Asia Pacific, Africa, and the Middle East, replaced him.

Bristol Myers Squibb announced that following the closure of its merger with CelgeneDavid Elkins, who headed finance at Celgene, would become CFO of the combined company. Charles Bancroft of Bristol Meyers is scheduled to retire in 2020.

Discover Financial Services said Chief Financial Officer R. Mark Graf planned to retire in 2020. Graf joined Discover in 2011. Discover named John T. Greene to take over finance.


General Electric let go of Jamie Miller, the finance chief who joined in October 2017. In November, she was replaced by Carolina Dybeck Happe. Miller was “instrumental in developing our portfolio strategy, furthering our efforts to make GE a more focused industrial company, and spearheading [a] de-leveraging plan during a challenging period,” said GE CEO Larry Culp.

Cardinal Health CFO Jorge Gomez left the drug distribution company after 13 years and joined dental products maker Dentsply Sirona as its finance chief. Cardinal Health had not appointed a new CFO by the end of 2019.


Mick Beekhuizen, CFO of Greek yogurt maker Chobani since early 2016, jumped to a different food business as the new finance chief at Campbell Soup. Anthony DiSilvestro, a 23-year Campbell employee who had been at the finance helm for five and a half years, exited the company to pursue other interests.

Litigation finance firm Burford Capital reassigned its CFO after hedge fund Muddy Waters raised concerns that Elizbeth O’Connell could not function independently because she is married to Burford’s chief executive. O’Connell was named chief strategy officer, and Morgan Stanley veteran Jim Kilman joined as CFO.

Yelp’s finance chief Charles “Lanny” Baker left the company to become CFO at Eventbrite.

Mylan finance chief Ken Parks, who had been in the role since June 2016, announced he was retiring from the company once Mylan merged with Pfizer.


Co-president and CFO Artie Minson and former vice chair Sebastian Gunningham became co-CEOs of WeWork. The company has yet to name a new finance chief.

EBay CFO Scott Schenkel took over as interim chief executive after Devin Wenig resigned, citing disagreement with the board over the direction of the online marketplace. Wenig’s departure came nearly seven months after eBay’s board announced a strategic portfolio review, including its StubHub business, amid pressure from activist investors Elliott Management and Starboard Value.

Overstock said CFO Greg Iverson resigned and would be replaced on an interim basis by Robert Hughes, a former senior vice president of finance and risk management at the company. It gave no reason for Iverson’s departure. Hughes will continue to serve as president of Medici Land Governance, an Overstock affiliate that is applying blockchain technology to property-registry systems.

Chipmaker Xilinx parted ways with CFO Lorenzo Flores, who had headed finance since 2016. Flores subsequently became vice chair of Toshiba Memory, which is rebranding as Kioxia Holdings. Xilinx is still searching for a new CFO.

Online sports apparel retailer Fanatics turned to one of its suppliers for a new CFO, hiring long-time Nike executive Michener “Mich” Chandlee. The appointment of Chandlee, who succeeded Lauren Cooks Levitan, came as Fanatics prepared to sell NFL and Major League Baseball fan gear through a 10-year partnership with Nike. Cooks Levitan became CFO of Faire, an online wholesale marketplace.

Neiman Marcus’s CFO Adam Orvos  stepped down after 18 months in the role. The retailer has yet to name a replacement.


Mattel’s chief financial officer Joseph Euteneuer left the company following an investigation into accounting errors that were raised by a whistleblower. The company said the investigation, conducted by the board of directors’ audit committee, found income tax expense was understated. Mattel said the investigation also found it had “certain material weaknesses in its internal control over financial reporting” but it “did not find that management engaged in fraud.”

Euteneuer was named CFO at Mattel in September 2017, and was scheduled to stay on for a six-month transition period.

Kohl’s promoted Jill Timm, the retailer’s executive vice president of finance, to chief financial officer. She too over for Bruce Besanko, who retired after two years in the role.

Red Hat CFO Eric Shander, who helped steer the open-source software company through its $34 billion acquisition by IBM, was dismissed for violating workplace standards. Shander was replaced by Laurie Krebs, the company’s senior vice president of finance.


Hostess Brands’ executive vice president and chief financial officer Tom Peterson transitioned to the newly created role of executive vice president, strategy and M&A. Brian Purcell joined the company as executive vice president and chief financial officer. Purcell most recently served as CFO of Rawlings Sporting Goods.

At Ingram Micro, Gina Mastantuono left the company to become CFO of ServiceNow. Ingram Micro promoted Mike Zilis to executive vice president and CFO, effective January 1, 2020.

The chief financial officer of Papa John’s International, Joe Smith, left the company as part of a shakeup in the top ranks under new chief executive officer Rob Lynch. Smith nearly 20 years at the company. He was promoted to CFO from senior vice president of global sales and development in April 2018.


Nielsen announced that CFO and chief operating officer David Anderson resigned in advance of the company’s separation into two firms. The former CEO of Alexion Pharmaceuticals, he’d been hired in September 2018 to lead finance at Nielsen. While an executive recruiting firm seeks Anderson’s successor, the company appointed Christopher Taft as senior vice president and corporate controller.

Robert Lewin was appointed chief financial officer at global investment firm KKR, effective January 1. Lewin succeeds William “Bill” Janetschek, who will be retiring at the end of the year.

Expedia’s chief financial officer Alan Pickerill resigned from the company. “Ultimately, senior management and the board disagreed on strategy,” chairman Barry Diller said in a statement. Eric Hart, the company’s chief strategy officer, will serve as acting finance chief. Pickerell had been at Expedia for 11 years, becoming CFO in Sept. 2017.