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Driving Costs Down

Chrysler enlists a soldier in its battle against costs; while Home Depot retools the finance department.
Michelle GabrielleMay 4, 2001
  • Chief Cost Cutter:
    DaimlerChrysler AG’s ailing Chrysler unit has named Frank Sklarsky, 44, as its VP of finance and assistant controller for product quality, cost management, and procurement. Sklarsky will oversee cost management related to quality and serviceability, supplier issues, product line profit and component costs. Sklarsky joined what had been Chrysler Corp. in 1983 as an analyst and held various posts in the controller’s officer before leaving the company in 1999 as its VP for corporate financial activities. Sklarsky rejoins Chrysler after working for Dell Computer Corp.

The company also named Ford Motor Co.’s former director of retail marketing and online business, Jeffrey Bell, as its new VP for marketing communications.

The arrivals of Bell and Sklarsky come as Chrysler wages a three-year, $3.9 billion revival plan to stanch about $3 billion in loss over the past three quarters. Under the turnaround plan, Chrysler looks to cut 26,000 jobs — one-fifth of its work force — over the next three years, with most of those cuts expected to come this year. Chrysler also intends to close six plants and has pushed suppliers to cut prices by 15 percent.

  • The Right Tools for the Job: Carol Tome has reached the top of the financial ladder at Atlanta-based home-improvement retailer Home Depot Inc. She was promoted to the position of CFO, replacing Dennis Carey, who was recently named EVP of business development, strategy and corporate operations. Tome was previously treasurer and SVP of finance and accounting. She joined the company in 1995.
  • If The Shoe Fits…: Shoe marketer Stride Rite Corp. named its corporate VP Frank Caruso to the CFO post. Caruso replaces John Kelliher who left the Lexington, Mass.-based company in March. Caruso spent the last four years as the company’s corporate VP and controller.
  • This just in… Newspaper publisher Lee Enterprises Inc. named Carl G. Schmidt to the CFO and treasurer role, effective immediately. Schmidt, 44, joins the Davenport, Iowa-based company from Johnson Outdoors a Racine, Wis.-based maker of outdoor recreation products, where he was SVP and CFO. He succeeds Larry Bloom, who left Lee Enterprises last fall.
  • Makin’ Waves:
    Endwave Corp., a Sunnyvale, Calif.- based maker of radio-frequency subsystems, announced the promotion of Julianne Biagini to the post of CFO and SVP. Biagini was formerly the company’s VP of finance and administration, as well as corporate secretary. She succeeds Bruce Margetson, who chose to pursue other business opportunities.
  • Spring Training:
    Provant, Inc., a provider of performance improvement training services and products, named Norman Fornella as its CFO. Fornella replaces Rajiv Bhatt, who left the Boston-based company in April to take another position.
  • All eyes are on Romeo Dizon, corporate controller of Fortel, Inc., a maker of software for monitoring online performance, now that he has assumed the additional role of acting CFO at the Fremont, Calif.-based company. The appointment follows former Fortel CFO Henry Harris’ move to Visualware Inc., in which Fortel has a technology licensing agreement and partial ownership interest.
  • The Real Deal:
    Fargo Electronics Inc., an Eden Prairie, Minn.-based manufacturer of identification-card systems, named Paul Stephenson as its CFO. Stephenson had previously served as CFO of the Minnesota Orchestral Association.
  • Simon Says:
    Medi-Hut Co., Inc., a Lakewood, N.J.- based manufacturer of safety syringes, announced the appointment of Laurence M. Simon as the company’s CFO. Simon is a CPA with over 14 years experience in the accounting field. Previously, he has worked for the accounting firm of Rosenberg, Rich, Baker, Berman and Co., Medi-Hut’s auditor.
  • Crossing The Line of Information: Leonia, N.J.-based Infocrossing Inc., an information technology services provider, announced that it hired William Fischer as SVP and CFO. Fischer, 50, succeeds Nick Letizia, who has held the positions of CFO and general counsel since November 1998. Fischer will also assume the role of general counsel. Before joining Infocrossing, Fischer was CFO of Index Stock Imagery Inc., a stock photography agency that licenses digital imagery mainly over the Internet. Prior to that, he was VP and controller of ICON CMT, an Internet technology company that was acquired by Qwest Communications International, Inc.

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