Coming to Comerica: CFO as CEO

Financial services company promotes finance chief to top spot. Plus, Applix loses, gains CFO.
Lisa YoonSeptember 27, 2001
  • Management at Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Art Technology Group Inc. named Ed Terino as its new finance chief, replacing Ann Brady, who resigned in April.

    Terino joins ATG, which makes e-commerce platforms for corporate Web sites, from Applix Inc., where he was also CFO. In addition, he has held senior-level positions at textbook publisher Houghton Mifflin Co. and Deloitte & Touche.

    In a statement, Terino says he hopes to help return ATG to profitability, strengthen the company’s financial discipline, and execute strategic, growth-driving business-development activities.

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    He may have to hustle. The company has taken a rough tumble of late — even for a tech company. The company’s share price, which was once as high as $126.88 a share, is down to $0.80 today. According to Reuters, analysts say Terino must convince investors he can control costs and spend wisely, as ATG tries to woo back customers.

    “My attitude is right now their destiny is in their own hands,” Legg Mason’s Paul Krieg told Reuters. “If they can successfully sell their product to customers and make their revenue line basically stable and pay for expenses, that’s what will start to ease the minds of Wall Street and other future customers.”

    Meanwhile, managers at Applix have already filled Terino’s old job. The Westboro, Massachusetts-based customer-analytics company announced that Walt Hilger was promoted to the CFO spot. Hilger has been Applix’s vice president of planning and operations for the past two years. Before joining Applix, Hilger was vice president of corporate finance at Cahners Business Information.

    The CFO’s office at Applix isn’t the only thing Terino and Hilger have in common. Hilger also did a stint at Houghton Mifflin, where he was corporate manager of financial planning and analysis.

  • This week we ran a column on CFOs-turned-CEOs. Here’s the latest member of the club: The board of Midwest regional financial-services firm Comerica Inc. announced that CFO Ralph Babb Jr. will succeed Eugene Miller as president and CEO upon Miller’s retirement in 2002.

    Babb joined the company as executive vice president and CFO in 1995 and was named vice chairman in 1999. In addition to heading up finance at the Detroit-based Comerica, Babb is also a member of the company’s policy-making management council. Under his watch, Comerica implemented a comprehensive effort to improve customer service, increase efficiency, enhance revenue, and provide funding for future growth. Babb will continue his duties as finance chief until the company finds a replacement.

  • Executives at Swedish medical-devices company Nobel Biocare appointed Harrieth Sundaeus as new CFO. Sundaeus, who joined the Gothenburg, Sweden-based company in 1997, has been director of finance for the past year. She is also credited with assisting in the financial integration of Nobel’s acquisition of Steri- Oss Inc.