Dina Dublon vaulted into the CFO position at Chase Manhattan Corp. She was formerly EVP and corporate treasurer at the New York-based bank. She is the first to hold the CFO position since Peter J. Tobin retired more than a year ago. Dublon joined Chase when it merged with Chemical Bank in 1996.
Browning-Ferris Industries Inc. will unload Jeffrey E. Curtiss as its CFO. The nation’s second- largest trash company, based in Houston, said Curtiss agreed to step down so the company could bring in someone with more experience in cost-cutting and information systems. He will remain with the company until a successor is found.
Hambrecht & Quist LLC welcomed Patrick J. Allen back to his post as CFO of the San Francisco-based investment banking firm. Allen left the firm briefly to become president and COO of Cruttenden Roth Inc., a closely held investment bank in southern California. Unfortunately, Allen had already sold his Bay Area home.
Brian Steel is making his move to the presidential suite at On Command Corp. The former EVP and CFO was named president of the hotel in-room entertainment provider. He succeeds Robert Kavner, who resigned as president and CEO. A new CFO has yet to be named.
Craig W. Logan will attempt to break the mold at Co-Mack Technology Inc. He was named CFO of the Vista, Calif.-based injection molding solutions provider. Before joining Co-Mack, he was CFO and controller at Wavetek Corp., an electronic test and measurement company.
It’s up to Mark J. Miller to straighten out the downward slope of American Skiing Co.’s performance. He was named SVP and CFO of the Newry, Maine-based operator of ski resorts. Before joining the company, he was EVP of financial administration at Showboat Inc., a hotel and gambling unit of Harrah’s Entertainment Inc., in Memphis. Miller succeeds Chris Howard, who will continue as SVP and administrative officer.
It’s Robert Codd’s job to build up Momentum Business Applications Inc., in Pleasanton, Calif. The former CFO of PeopleSoft Inc. was named CEO of Momentum, PeopleSoft’s research-and-development unit. He was succeeded as CFO of PeopleSoft by Alfred Castino.
Jim Douglas landed in the newly created COO position at World Airways Inc., based in Herndon, Va. He was formerly CFO of the passenger and cargo carrier. Gilberto Duarte Jr. took over the CFO post.
Blair Caple will serve the Women’s Tennis Association as its new CFO. He had been interim director of finance at the Stamford, Conn.-based organization that runs the women’s professional tennis circuit. Blair was president of Kaaterskill Management, a consulting firm in Boston, before joining the WTA last summer.
Colin Reed, CFO of Harrah’s, was dealt a promotion to the newly formed Office of the President at the Memphis-based hotel and casino operator. He was also named to the board.
New Kid on the Block
After six CFOs in four years, Rent-A-Center Inc. is going with youth to try to stop the revolving door at its top finance post. At 27 years old, Robert D. Davis is one of the youngest CFOs of any publicly traded company. But don’t tell him that. The newly named finance chief of Rent-A-Center, a Plano, Tex.-based operator of rent-to-own stores, is already working on integrating a major acquisition, dealing with Wall Street, and building a finance team that includes many executives much older than he. But Davis doesn’t see his age as being an issue “within the company itself.”
He began as a staff accountant in 1993 after graduating from Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Davis says he has spent the past six years “building the faith, trust, and confidence of senior management. As we grew, my responsibilities grew as well,” he says. Rising quickly through the ranks, he was named to the CFO job when Danny Z. Wilbanks, 43, resigned to pursue entrepreneurial interests.
Now that Davis is in the front office, he faces a number of challenges. Rent-A-Center was formerly called Renter’s Choice, but changed its name after it acquired Rent-A-Center from Thorn Americas Inc. in August. The acquisition added 1,400 stores to the company’s 700. Now Davis is faced with the task of integrating the larger organization into the company. “We swallowed a fish twice our size,” he says. “The challenge will be to stay on top of the growth.”
Still, Davis admits that the job will be a learning process. “We have terrific senior management, and they are going to help me a great deal along the way,” he says.
In addition, Davis will have to overcome the skepticism of Wall Street, which doesn’t look kindly on inexperience. “That is to be expected,” says Davis. “Gaining the respect of Wall Street is tough for any new CFO, regardless of age.”
First Team, All-Finance
The NBA lockout is finally over, and casual basketball fans aren’t the only ones with mixed feelings. As EVP and CFO of national cable sports network ESPN, Christine F. Driessen says the settlement dampens the network’s hopes to draw more fans to its college-basketball coverage and other fare. “We saw [the lockout] as a potential opportunity,” she says.
But Driessen, who has been with ESPN since 1985, hasn’t missed many opportunities herself. She has steadily risen to become a key player in the company’s lineup. She was named EVP last year, and has helped launch ESPN into new venues, including ESPN, The Magazine, ESPN.com, and ESPN Zone theme restaurants. One restaurant is already open in Baltimore, and new openings are on deck this year in Chicago and New York. She sees more growth for the network by continuing to extend the brand of ESPN–which is 80 percent owned by The Walt Disney Co.–into new media, especially the Internet. She also sees more international business in store as cable television expands globally.
Driessen has broken through the double-pane glass ceiling of finance and big-time sports. She credits her success to the culture at ESPN, where “one of the things that sets the individual apart–male or female–is the energy and aggressiveness with which you do your job,” she says.