HealthSouth Promotes CFO and Controller

Also, new finance chiefs at Groen Brothers Aviation, Peopleclick, and Optical Cable.
Jennifer CaplanAugust 23, 2001
  • Salt Lake City-based Groen Brothers Aviation, Inc., a developer of commercially-viable gyroplanes, a hybrid aircraft, announced today that Robin H. H. Wilson joined the company as chief financial officer and head of business development. He will also become a member of the company’s board of directors.

    Wilson will have his work cut out for him at Groen Brothers. For the nine months ended March 21, 2001, the company reported a net loss of $8.2 million, with revenues decreasing 61 percent.

    Wilson joins Groen Brothers with plenty of experience in the aviation industry. He served as president, chief operating officer and board member of Western Airlines, Inc.. He was also president, CEO and director of Burlington Air Express, as well as chief technical officer of Guinness Peak Aviation, then the world’s largest aircraft leasing company.

    Wilson, who is a native of Dublin, Ireland, received a BA in mechanical sciences from Cambridge University, and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School. He also received an honorary Doctor of Laws from Adelphi University in New York.

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    He began his aviation career as an engineer in the aeroengine division of Rolls-Royce in England. After receiving his MBA, he began a 17-year career with Trans World Airlines as a financial analyst. At TWA, Wilson rose to senior vice president of operations. In l981, he became president and general manager of the Long Island Rail Road, the nation’s largest commuter railroad, where he worked for over three years. During that time, he also served as a director of the start-up airline, Air Atlanta. When TWA emerged from bankruptcy in 1992, Wilson returned to the airline as co-chief executive. Most recently, he was partner and board member of international aviation consultancy, SH&E.

  • Managers at Peopleclick, a Research Triangle, N.C.- based, privately held provider of human resources software services, appointed Rudy C. Howard chief financial officer and executive vice president.

Howard has more than 20 years of corporate finance experience. As CFO of PPD, Inc., a provider of worldwide clinical research and developer of pharmaceutical products and medical devices, he helped lead the company’s IPO. He also helped manage PPD’s remarkable growth: the company went from a $40 million business with 600 employees to a company with $325 million in revenues and 3500 employees. He also played a key role in the company’s merger and acquisition program. Howard has more than 15 years of public accounting experience providing assistance in valuation, price negotiations, transaction structuring, accounting and SEC reporting.

Given Howard’s experiences taking private companies public, it sounds like his hiring means Peopleclick management plans on launching an IPO. “We certainly have growth plans going forward,” Howard told “Going public is certainly something we are considering, but it depends, of course, on the markets and our continued strong financial performance.”

Howard also served as a Partner with PriceWaterhouseCoopers for 5 years, and is a certified public accountant. He received his B.A. in accounting from North Carolina State University.

  • Birmingham, Ala.-based HealthSouth Corp. promoted senior vice president and controller, Weston Smith, to the chief financial officer position. The move comes amid a reshuffling of senior management at HealthSouth, the largest provider of outpatient surgery and rehabilitative healthcare services in the US.

    Smith succeeds William Owens, who was named president and chief operating officer. Owens was previously executive vice president and chief financial officer and served as company controller for 14 years before being named to the top finance post in February 2000. Smith will assume responsibility for all finance, accounting and budgeting functions at the company. Malcolm E. McVay, previously senior vice president and treasurer, was promoted to executive vice president and treasurer, and will be responsible for commercial and investment banking relationships, capital markets transactions and investor relations.

    The company is also streamlining operations. It is combining its Ambulatory Services into a single division.

    For the six months ended June 30, 2001, HealthSouth’s revenues increased 6 percent to $2.19 billion, as patient volume and fees under Medicare and Medicaid programs increased. Net income decreased 58 percent, however, and earnings were offset by a loss of $139.9 million on the sale of assets.

  • Optical Cable Corporation, a Roanoke, Va.-based manufacturer of high bandwidth optical cable, tapped Neil Wilkin chief financial officer. Wilkin was also elected to the company’s board of directors effective September 1, 2001.

Wilkin joins Optical Cable from Inc., an online homeselling service, where he was CFO and treasurer. Wilkin managed both the company’s financial and corporate administrative functions including fundraising, mergers and acquisitions, accounting, cash flow management, and risk management.

Before joining Homebytes, he worked at two law firms, McGuire Woods in Richmond, Va. and Kirkland & Ellis in Washington, D.C., specializing in mergers and acquisitions and corporate finance. He also worked for Coopers & Lybrand from 1986 to 1990. Wilkin holds an MBA from the University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate Business School, a JD from the University of Virginia School of Law and a BS in Commerce from the University of Virginia, McIntire School of Commerce.