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Off Easel Street: NextMonet Finance Chief Jumps to Restoration Hardware

Plus, we read it in our alphabet soup: New CFOs at SLI and BMC.
Jennifer CaplanNovember 21, 2001
  • Kevin Shahan is the new finance chief at Restoration Hardware Inc., a specialty home furnishings and hardware retailer. Company management did not specify the reasons for replacing current CFO, Raymond Hemming.

    Shahan joins Restoration Hardware from NextMonet Inc., an Internet and catalog retailer of fine art products, where he was chief financial officer and vice president of operations. Prior to his position at NextMonet, Shahan was the vice president and chief financial officer for the retail division of Coach Inc., a producer of men and women’s accessories. He also spent four years as CFO at Smith & Hawken, a specialty retailer of garden and home products. Shahan is a graduate of Cornell University and holds an M.B.A. in finance from New York University.

    Restoration Hardware, which is based in Corte Madera, California, has been struggling of late. Net sales for the third quarter fell 5.4 percent to $76.6 million from $81 million in the year-ago quarter. Comparable-store sales decreased 8.8 percent in the quarter.

    The company has been particularly hard hit by the events of 9/11. Comparable-store sales for the nine weeks ended fiscal September decreased 13 percent from the same period a year ago. Sales for the company’s direct-to-customer division, however, increased 32 percent in the third quarter of 2001. Management remains upbeat about the company’s near term prospects. “While the tragic events of September 11 clearly had an impact on our business, we believe that we are well-positioned for the holiday season in terms of our product offerings, in-stock position and marketing plans,” said CEO Gary Friedman in a statement. As of November, Restoration Hardware operated 104 retail stores in 31 states, the District of Columbia, and Canada, in addition to selling through catalogs and over the Web.

  • Executives at SLI Inc., a designer and seller of lamps and lighting fixtures, promoted treasurer Robert Mancini to the CFO post. Mancini has been serving as treasurer at SLI since 1998. He replaces Rick Parenti, who resigned. Prior to joining the Canton, Massachusetts-based SLI, Mancini was assistant treasurer at toy maker Hasbro Inc. He began his career with Coopers & Lybrand in Boston and holds a B.S. from Boston College.

    Mancini has quite a job ahead of him. In Q3, SLI’s losses soared to $15 million, substantially worse than the $1.5 million loss the company reported in the same period the previous year. Net sales were down slightly to $201 million, versus $219 million in the same quarter the year prior. Managers attributed the decline to discontinued operations and the disposal of its maintenance business. In the third quarter, SLI also completed an amendment to its senior revolving credit facility with a multinational syndicate of banks led by Fleet Bank. The revolver, which matures in October 2004, provides the company with up to $380 million in loans. CEO Frank Ward recently said in a statement: “In the past nine months the company has aggressively divested itself of negative performing assets and also aggressively downsized its overheads and direct costs. Our banking syndicate has expressed confidence in these moves. I believe the majority of negative results are now behind us.”

  • Managers at BMC Industries Inc., a maker of eyeglass lenses and aperture masks used in television sets, announced that Kathleen Pepski resigned as chief financial officer. Pepski had been CFO at BMC since April 2000. Curt Petersen, executive vice president of finance and administration of the company’s optical products group, will take over the position on December 1.

    BMC did not offer details about Pepski’s departure. Petersen has held his current position only since August 2001. Before joining BMC, Petersen served as senior vice president and chief financial officer of Rivertown Trading Company, a catalog subsidiary of general merchandise retailer Target Corp. Prior to that, he served in numerous executive positions in finance, accounting and operations at Rosemount Inc., a division of Emerson Electric Co.

    BMC reported a $4.1 million third-quarter net loss, compared with a $2.7 million profit a year earlier. The company was hurt by falling demand for computer monitors and TV sets. BMC managers, however, expect the company to break even or report a slight profit for the fourth quarter. Revenues at the Minneapolis-based company fell 19 percent to $73.3 million from $90.2 million a year ago. The price of BMC shares has also fallen, down a whopping 53 percent this year.

  • Bruce Paul was named interim chief financial officer at Rohn Industries Inc., an infrastructure provider for the telecommunications industry. Former CFO James Hurley is leaving “to pursue other professional opportunities” but will remain at the company until the end of the year to assist with the transition.

    Paul is a partner at Tatum CFO Partners LLP, a national partnership of chief financial officers that provides CFO services to companies. In the third quarter, net sales at Rohn came in at $53.4 million, down from $67.6 million in the third quarter of 2000. Earlier this month managers at the Peoria, Illinois-based company announced that they would continue to reduce staff in the fourth quarter and take a Q4 charge of about $2.5 million for severance and related expenses.

  • Managers at Footwear Specialties International, a Portland, Oregon-based maker of workplace footwear, hired Ted Greenwood as the new finance chief. Greenwood comes to FSI from Doc Martens AirWair USA, a subsidiary of the footwear maker, where he was vice president of finance as well as a member of the senior management team responsible for risk and relationship management.

    Prior to his position at Doc Martens, Greenwood was a senior accountant for the Portland office of the accounting firm Deloitte and Touche. He is a C.P.A. with a degree in business from Portland State University. Greenwood is also a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants as well as the Oregon Society of Certified Public Accountants.