Former Merrill CFO Now COO, President (Updated)

Also, moves at Toyota, Fingerhut, and lots more.
Ed ZwirnJuly 24, 2001

Merrill Lynch has promoted Stanley O’Neal, who had been president of its private client group, to president and COO.

The move puts O’Neal, who was CFO of the brokerage from 1998 to 2000, in line to succeed CEO David Komansky when he retires in 2004.

As president and COO, the 49-year-old O’Neal moves into a position vacated in 1999 by the unexpected (at age 55) retirement of Herbert Allison, another former CFO, who had also been in line to replace Komansky.

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A brief sketch of O’Neal’s professional life reads like something out of Horatio Alger: He began his carreer at General Motors Corp., as a cooperative education student, where his duties included work an an assembly line at the company’s Doraville, Ga. plant.

He continued working at GM while earning a B.S. degree from Kettering Institute (formerly General Motors Institute), joining the treasury department after getting his M.B.A. in finance from Harvard University. He joined Merrill Lynch as a director in investment banking in 1986.

O’Neal, who is a vice chairman of the Securities Industry Association, a member of the New York Stock Exchange Capital Markets Advisory Committee and a director of the Nasdaq Stock Market, will continue to be in charge of Merrill’s 15,000-strong broker force until a replacement is found. He has had that responsibility since February 2000.

  • John Stillo has joined Toyota Financial Services as vice president and CFO, the company announced. Stillo, who most recently served as executive vice president, investments and capital planning at Associates First Capital Corp., will be responsible for the finance, treasury and risk management departments at TFS, according to the company announcement.

He replaces Bob Allen, who will continue on with the firm as vice president of international operations and commercial finance.

  • Fingerhut Companies CFO Nils Ytterbo has added senior vice president to his title. The announcement also named Wayne P. Garten president of Popular Club, and noted the promotion of Kin Leung to vice president of finance.
  • Viasystems, a St. Louis-based EMS provider, has promoted James G. Powers, an officer with the firm since 1997, to senior vice president and CFO. He replaces David M. Sindelar, who was recently promoted to CEO.
  • Primedia has named Peter J. Pescatore vice president of finance for Primedia Business Magazines & Media. In this capacity, Pescatore will be responsible for the company’s entire finance function, including accounting, budgeting, forecasting and credit services, and the development of systems to support them, according to the company announcement.
  • Chicago Bridge & Iron has named Richard E. Goodrich, previously a group vice president, to executive vice president and CFO.
  • Zeborg, a procurement software provider, has appointed Donald R. Peck, former CFO and general counsel of Marketmax, as CFO and general counsel.
  • Old Republic International Corp., a Chicago-based insurance holding company, has elected John Adams as senior vice president and CFO.
  • CompuDyne, a Hanover, Md.-based provider of security products, has elected Wade B. Houk, a former assistant director and CFO of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, to its board of directors. The move expands the company’s board roster to seven members.
  • VPIsystems, a Holmdel, N.J.-based developer of management systems, has appointed Paul Commons as CFO. He previously served as CFO and partner at Brainstorm Networks, a SanFrancisco Bay area Internet Service Provider.
  • Denise Wilder Warren has resigned as CFO of Gaylord Entertainment, a Nashville, Tennessee firm that owns the Grand Ole Opry country music radio show. The company said in a news release that the resignation makes way for Colin Reed, the company’s new president and CEO, to name his own management team.