Rock of Ages Chalks Up New CFO

Protective Life and Safeguard Scientifics also name chief financial officers.
Jennifer CaplanSeptember 6, 2001
  • Officials at life insurance and investment firm Protective Life Corp. tapped Allen Ritchie as chief financial officer, a newly created position. Prior to joining Protective, Ritchie was CEO at Per-Se Technologies Inc., a physician practice-management-services company. He also served as president of farm equipment maker AGCO Corp.

    Protective Life has been through quite a few changes of late. Earlier this month CEO Drayton Nabers Jr. announced that he would retire at the end of the year. Nabers, listed in Forbes as one of America’s most powerful people, will stay on as chairman at Protective Life. John D. Johns, the insurer’s current president and chief operating officer, will succeed him as CEO.

    Last month the Birmingham, Alabama-based company bought two U.S. life insurance units from Irish Life & Permanent Plc. for about $250 million. In the second quarter of this year, Protective Life posted consolidated net income of $27.1 million, compared with $39.3 million last year. Operating income was $0.61 per share, down a penny from the same period last year. Earlier this month, the company placed $350 million worth of five-year notes in a 144a offering. Lehman Brothers Inc. was the lead manager for the private placement. In August, Protective Life was downgraded by Banc of America Securities.

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  • Christopher Davis was named CFO at Safeguard Scientifics Inc., a developer and operator of emerging technology companies based in Wayne, Pennsylvania. Davis replaces Gerald Blitstein, who resigned to start his own financial advisory consulting firm.

    Davis joined Safeguard in March 2000 as vice president of strategic development and was involved primarily in overseeing partner companies and advising on potential acquisitions. Prior to joining Safeguard, he spent nine years as CFO at LFC Financial Corp., a privately held financial services company, and later served as its president and CEO. Davis began his career at Coopers & Lybrand as a certified public accountant and has also been an independent consultant for start- up technology companies.

    Safeguard has been through some serious management turnover this year. In April company founder Warren Musser resigned as CEO.

    Safeguard has 12 private equity funds, with approximately $2.7 billion in total capital commitments or investments, and more than 40 partner companies. For the quarter ended June 30, 2001, the company reported a net loss of $110.5 million (a diluted loss per share of $0.95), compared with net income of $2.2 million ($0.02 per diluted share) in the second quarter of 2000. In May the company took out a $100 million line of credit with its bank group. The financing was arranged by PNC Capital Markets, the investment banking arm of PNC Bank. “This line of credit further strengthens our competitive advantage and provides us additional flexibility in the marketplace,” said then-CFO Blitstein in a statement.

  • Managers at Graniteville, Vermont-based headstone maker Rock of Ages Corp. appointed Douglas Goldsmith CFO and vice president of finance and administration. He succeeds John Forney, who was named president and chief operating officer of the company’s retail and manufacturing operations in January. Goldsmith joined the Rock of Ages engineering department in 1991 and was promoted to chief information officer in 1997. In his new positions he will report directly to Kurt Swenson, chairman and chief executive. Rob Boulanger, who joined Goldsmith’s information services team at Rock of Ages in 1996, will replace Goldsmith as chief information officer.

    Goldsmith earned a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering and a masters in business degree from the University of Vermont. In case you’re wondering, Rock of Ages is the largest integrated granite quarrier, manufacturer, and retailer of finished granite memorials and granite blocks for memorial use in North America. For the six months ended June 30, 2001, the company posted net income of $412,000, compared with $520,000 in the first six months of last year. Revenue for the first half of the year increased about 3 percent, to $44.6 million. Sales for 2000 were around $91 million.

  • Managers at Atlanta-based Serologicals Corp., a provider of biological products for life science companies, announced the departure of chief financial officer Peter Pizzo III. He will leave the company at the end of the month. The company has already initiated a search to fill the position.

    The company’s board of directors also elected Samuel R. Schwartz to the chief accounting officer post, which he will fill in addition to his current duties as corporate controller. Schwartz will continue to manage Serological’s global accounting functions.

    Serologicals makes the active ingredients used in therapeutic products for the treatment and management of diseases such as Rh incompatibility in newborns, rabies, and hepatitis, and in diagnostic products such as blood-typing reagents and diagnostic-test kits. Net sales for the second quarter of 2001 decreased 35 percent, from $41.9 million in 2000 to $27.2 million in 2001.