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Fashion Statement: DK Announces CFO O-U-T

French suitor LVMH replaces nine-year vet at Donna Karan with former Armani finance executive. Also: Two items from Canada.
Lisa YoonNovember 28, 2001
  • Executives at apparel specialist Donna Karan International Inc. announced that chief financial and operating officer Joseph Parsons resigned after nine years with the New York-based company.

    In a statement, the company offered no reason for Parson’s departure. Two possibilities: Donna Karan has reported widening losses of late. In addition, French luxury-goods conglomerate LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton plans to buy Donna Karan this week. Indeed, in the same announcement reporting Parson’s resignation, Donna Karan management said LVMH’s Tisha Kalberer has been appointed chief financial and administrative officer at the fashion retailer. Kalberer worked for 11 years at Giorgio Armani Corp. before joining LVMH’s fashion and leather goods group in July.

    Parsons is the second top executive to leave the company since July, when then-CEO John Idol accepted a $12.2 million package. Idol was subsequently replaced by Giuseppe Brusone.

    The $243 million planned acquisition by LVMH is subject to the approval of Donna Karan shareholders, who were slated to vote on the offer yesterday. As of press time, the results of the vote were not available. But it seems DK’s owners have champagne tastes. At the close of the market yesterday, Donna Karan shares were trading at $10.73, just off the company’s 52-week high of $10.75. That’s also up from a year low of $4.25 per share.

  • Suncor Energy Inc. officials said that EVP and CFO Mike O’Brien will retire from the company at the end of June 2002.

    In a statement, O’Brien said he is leaving Canada’s second-biggest oil-sands miner to pursue other interests. He worked at Suncor for 27 years.

    The company has begun an external search to replace O’Brien.

  • In other news from the Great White North, Canadian computer company Geac Computer Corp. Ltd. announced the promotion of VP and corporate controller Arthur Gitajn to the top finance post.

    As the new finance chief, Gitajn will report to COO and former CFO Paul Birch, who is also interim president of Geac Enterprise Solutions (Americas). According to a company statement, the appointment frees up time for Birch to focus more exclusively on strategic and management developments within the company.

    Before becoming Geac’s controller, Gitajn was CFO at one of Geac’s largest operating units, Interealty Corp. Gitajn has extensive experience in evaluating merger and acquisition opportunities, coordinating due diligence efforts, and developing and implementing business plans, according to the statement.

    Gitajn joined Geac from the government sector. He was CFO of the City of Alexandria, Virginia, for 13 years. Before that, he spent three years as a manager at the Government Finance Research Center in Washington, D.C. Gitajn must like change: He began his career as an English teacher for Prince George’s County Schools in Maryland.

    Gitajn holds an undergraduate degree from Virginia Wesleyan College, an M.A. from the University of Maryland, and an M.S. in accounting from Georgetown University.