How-dee! Grand Ole Opry Welcomes New Finance Chief

M&A banker named CFO at parent company of country music landmark.
Jennifer CaplanSeptember 5, 2001
  • Officials at Gaylord Entertainment Co., which operates the Grand Ole Opry, the country music venue in Nashville, appointed David Kloeppel chief financial officer. He replaces Denise Wilder Warren, who resigned in late July.

    This is an intriguing career switch for Kloeppel. He comes to Gaylord from Deutsche Bank, where he was responsible for the mergers and acquisition practice. While at the investment bank, Kloeppel helped complete more than $21 billion in transactions for some of Deutsche Bank’s biggest clients.

    Gaylord CEO Colin Reed had been functioning as the company’s CFO when Warren resigned in July. Before moving to Gaylord Entertainment, Reed was CFO and a member of the office of the president for Harrah’s Entertainment Inc. Reed joined that company in 1977 and spent several years working in Harrah’s Holiday Inns division. At Harrah’s, he helped oversee the company’s growth strategy.

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    He’ll be looking to do the same for Gaylord, a hospitality and entertainment specialist. Besides the Grand Ole Opry, Gaylord owns and operates several hotels — and is planning to build Opryland hotels in Florida and Texas. The company also runs several entertainment management services as well as three radio stations in Nashville. In addition, Gaylord holds a stake in the Nashville Predators, an expansion team in the National Hockey League.

  • Patricia Johnson has been chosen to succeed Arlene Meier as CFO at Kohl’s Corp., an apparel, accessories and home products retailer. Johnson has been with the Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin-based company since 1998 and was named treasurer at the retailer in 2000. Prior to signing on at Kohl’s, she was vice president of finance at the Disney Store Co., a unit of the Walt Disney Co.

    Johnson began her career with Coopers & Lybrand. She is a certified public accountant and earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from California State University at Fullerton. Former Kohl’s CFO Meier is staying on at the company and will serve as chief operating officer.

    While many retailers have been hit hard by the economic downturn, Kohl’s has managed to weather the storm rather nicely. The company’s sales jumped 21 percent, up to $1.52 billion, for the quarter ended July 29. Kohl’s also beat analysts’ expectations by one cent per share for Q2. Earnings in the second quarter came in at $86.5 million (25 cents per share), compared with $64.3 million (19 cents per share) for the same quarter the previous year. Managers at the company also said they were comfortable with third-quarter earnings consensus estimates of 23 cents a share, predicting comparable store sales growth would be somewhere around 5 percent. Another sign that the retailer has its house in order: Goldman Sachs recently upgraded the company from market outperform to its recommended list.

  • Managers at MAPICS Inc., an Alpharetta, Georgia-based provider of ERP applications for manufacturers, tapped Michael J. Casey for the CFO post. Casey will officially take over the financial reins on September 11. He replaces John A. Stone, who took over as interim chief financial officer after William J. Gilmour left the company for personal reasons in early July. Stone had previously served as the company’s vice president of finance operations.

    Casey joins MAPICS from iXL Enterprises Inc., a Web development company that offers consulting, Web-site design, and application integration services. He served as executive vice president and chief financial and administrative officer at iXL, where he helped manage financial, human resources, IT, facilities, and administrative activities. Prior to that he served as CFO at Manhattan Associates Inc., a supply-chain software developer.

    Casey began his career at Arthur Andersen, where he specialized in the technology and communications industries. He earned a bachelor of business administration degree in accounting from the J.M. Tull School of Accounting at the University of Georgia. He is also a certified public accountant in Georgia and is a member of the American Society of Certified Public Accountants and Technology Association of Georgia.

    For the three months ending June 30, MAPICS reported earnings of $2.4 million, or $0.12 per diluted share, before goodwill amortization and special items, on revenue of $36.1 million. In the year-earlier period, earnings at the company totaled $1.3 million, or $0.07 per diluted share on revenue of $36.5 million.

  • Managers at Seattle-based, a provider of gift certificates and related services for corporate clients and consumers, named Douglas P. Fletcher chief financial officer. Fletcher joins, which was established in 1997, from eCharge Corp., an online charge company also based in Seattle. Fletcher was CFO at that company as well.

    Prior to joining eCharge, Fletcher held senior management positions in the Citigroup/Citibank corporate finance, restructuring, and equipment finance businesses from 1987 to 2000. He has also held a variety of finance positions at International Paper and PricewaterhouseCoopers. Fletcher has a B.A. in accounting and finance from Ohio University and is a certified public accountant.