Three More CFOs Now ”Pursuing Other Opportunities”

Finance chief shuffle at Brown & Company, Critical Path, and ReSound.
Jennifer CaplanAugust 22, 2001
  • Boston-based Brown & Company Securities Corporation, a wholly-owned discount online brokerage arm of global financial services firm J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., appointed Karen Vernamonti chief financial officer. Vernamonti joins Brown & Company from rival CSFBdirect, where she was CFO and managing director since 2000. A J.P. Morgan Chase spokeswoman told that Jeff Connors, the former CFO at Brown & Company, left in July to pursue other opportunities.

    Vernamoniti is no stranger to the rough-and-tumble world of publicly traded online brokerages. After a rocky start, her former employer, CSFBdirect was taken private this month by its investment banking parent Credit Suisse First Boston, for about $110 million, or $6 a share. That’s considerably below CSFBdirect’s initial public offering price of $20 a share two years ago. CSFB sweetened an earlier offer to buy CSFBdirect for $73.6 million. In March, Merrill Lynch lowered its rating on the beleagured online brokerage, which also cut 180 jobs.

    In her new position, Vernamonti will be responsible for managing all finance, reporting, and budgeting at the seventh largest online brokerage firm in the US. Prior to joining CSFBdirect, Vernamonti worked for five years in the treasury department at Donaldson, Lufkin and Jenrette. She has also held finance positions at Bank of Tokyo- Mitsubishi and Irving Trust Company. Vernamonti holds a BS in accounting and information systems from Pace University.

  • San Francisco-based Internet-messaging software maker Critical Path Inc. named Laureen DeBuono interim chief financial officer. DeBuono will not have an easy time in her new job. Critical Path has been on the critical list of late, and the company is struggling to maintain its Nasdaq listing. This month, Critical Path laid off 450 employees, or 43 percent of its work force. The company is now in the process of shedding its noncore businesses to focus on Web messaging and directory products. The company is also coping with the aftermath of a management reshuffle stemming from the restatement of financial results for the final two quarters of last year. The restatement was necessary because of accounting irregularities.

    This year, the company’s second-quarter net loss narrowed to $81.1 million, or $1.10 a share, from a loss of $130 million, or $2.22 a share, in the year-earlier period. Revenue fell 19% to $27.1 million from $33.5 million.

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    DeBuono will succeed Larry Reinhold, the current CFO, who is resigning effective Aug. 31 to pursue other business interests, the company told Reuters. Reinhold held the CFO post since December 2000.

    DeBuono joins Critical Path with more than 17 years of experience in managing operations, financial and legal departments. As CFO and COO at ReSound Corporation, a manufacturer of hearing devices and communication products, she helped develop and implement a worldwide restructuring program that contributed to $15 million in annualized cost savings. She also oversaw the company’s paying down of its long- term debt.

    Prior to her role at ReSound, DeBuono held executive management positions at Nellcor Puritan Bennett Inc., a manufacturer of respiratory products. While at ReSound, the company’s revenues jumped up more than 400 percent over five years. DeBuono was also involved in the sale of that company to Mallinkrodt, Inc. a deal valued at $2 billionl. She also held corporate counsel positions at detergent maker, Clorox and Varian Associates, a health care equipment manufacturer. DeBuono has a BA from Duke University, an MA from Stanford University and a JD from New York University Law School.

    By September 4, DeBuono and Critical Path are to present Nasdaq with a strategy for short-term and long-term compliance with the exchange’s minimum listing requirements. Company managers said that, as part of its plan to restructure its outstanding debt, it has repurchased nearly $129 million of its outstanding convertible subordinated notes for a net gain of approximately $90 million.

  • Managers at Mountain View, Calif.-based Reasoning, Inc., a provider of automated software inspection services, named Julia O’Connor company CFO. O’Connor will be responsible for the company’s financial, legal, and human resource operations worldwide. O’Connor has more than 20 years of financial experience in the software, hardware, venture capital, and investment banking sectors.

    She was most recently CFO at Aurigin Systems, Inc., an asset management software provider. O’Connor also served as CFO at Docent, Inc., a provider of infrastructure software and services for knowledge exchanges. O’Connor also has significant experience in venture financings, initial public offerings, corporate acquisitions, and strategic partnerships. She was a founder and general partner of Diversified Growth Associates, a venture capital investment firm, and began her financial career as an investment banker at EF Hutton.

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