Slice of Life: Vignette Hires New CFO

Also, eBay controller makes good at OnDemand, struggling Covad replaces chief financial officer.
Jennifer CaplanSeptember 18, 2001
  • Covad Communications, a broadband services provider founded by former Intel Corp. employees, announced that Mark Richman has joined the company as chief financial officer. Covad offers DSL, IP, and dial-up services, through Internet service providers and telecommunications carriers, to small and medium-size businesses and home users. Its network covers more than 40 million homes and business in the United States. Richman will be responsible for Covad’s finance organization, including strategic and financial planning and analysis, financing, investor relations, accounting, and treasury. He replaces Mark Perry, the former CFO, who left the struggling company in early August to ”pursue other interests.”

    Richman is taking on a difficult assignment. The Santa Clara, California-based company has taken on massive amounts of debt to pay for a rapid expansion, only to see losses escalate at an even faster clip. Those losses forced Covad to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy-court protection early last month after the company reached a deal with its bondholders to retire $1.4 billion in debt. Covad agreed to pay creditors 19 cents on the dollar, plus preferred stock in the company that emerges from bankruptcy. To make matters worse, second-quarter net losses rose to $175.5 million ($1.01 a share), compared with a loss of $153 million ($1 a share) a year ago. The company also recorded a restructuring item of $2.9 million and a charge of $2.2 million related to the write-down of goodwill associated with the closing of its BlueStar unit. Meanwhile, revenue doubled, up from $43.2 million a year ago to around $87 million.

    Richman joins Covad from MainStreet Networks, an Internet service provider, where he was vice president and CFO. Prior to that, he held senior management positions at Adecco SA, a temporary and full-time global staffing company. He served as vice president of finance and administration at Adecco US, a $3 billion operating division, and was also vice president and corporate treasurer at the parent company. In that position, he helped raise more than $3 billion in funding through various debt and equity transactions. Richman holds a B.S. in managerial economics from the University of California at Davis and an M.B.A. from the Anderson School at UCLA.

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  • Officials at e-customer-relationship-management software maker Vignette Corp. hired Charles Sansbury as the company’s new CFO. Sansbury replaces Joel Katz, who is leaving the Austin, Texas-based company to spend more time with his family and to pursue personal interests.

    Sansbury joined Vignette early last year as senior vice president of corporate development. He has overseen the company’s strategic finance activities, including its acquisitions and investments program, as well as investor communications. Prior to joining Vignette, Sansbury was a principal in the technology investment banking group at Morgan Stanley. Before that, he was with the Lehman Brothers technology investment banking group.

    A slowdown in corporate IT spending has significantly hurt the eCRM software market this year. Shares of leading vendors including Art Technology Group, BroadVision, and Vignette have fallen approximately dramatically during the last 12 months. While Vignette’s second-quarter revenue increased to $8.3 million from $7.7 million in the same period the year prior, losses from operations increased significantly to $14.3 million from $3.5 million a year ago.

  • Managers at CyberCare Inc., an Internet-based technology provider that enables patients to communicate in real time with their health-care providers, appointed Steven Cohen to the newly created position of chief financial officer. Cohen will manage the company’s financial planning and accounting functions as well as its relationships with lending institutions, shareholders, and the financial community.

    Prior to joining the Boynton Beach, Florida-based company, Cohen served in executive positions at several health-care organizations. Most recently, he was CEO at HIP Healthplan in Florida, where he was responsible for the overall performance of products and services to governmental, business, and retiree communities. Cohen also served as director of finance and administration at Cigna Healthplan. He is a C.P.A. certified in New York.

    CyberCare’s revenues have remained relatively stable of late. The company posted second-quarter revenues of $4.70 million, compared with $4.71 million for the same period in 2000. Net loss for the second quarter amounted to $7.9 million ($0.12 per share), compared with a net loss of $7.3 million ($0.12 per share) in the same period last year.

  • William Elson has been appointed to the CFO post at OnDemand, a company that helps businesses manage reseller relationships. Elson replaces Steven Kaminsky, who left the Menlo Park, California-based company for personal reasons.

    Elson joins the company from online auction site eBay, where he served as vice president and controller. Prior to his stint at eBay, Elson served as vice president and corporate controller at ERP software heavyweight Peoplesoft. Elson has also served as a financial controller at Hewlett-Packard. In addition, he worked six years at Ernst & Young.

    At OnDemand, Elson will be responsible for finance and administration, including investor relations, cash management, and human resources. He earned his undergraduate degree in accounting from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo, and is a certified public accountant in the state of California. He is also a member of the AICPA.

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