Anticipation: New Heinz CFO to Take Over in January

Plus: Maidenform, Laura Ashley hire finance chiefs.
Lisa YoonDecember 13, 2001
  • Management at packaged-food maker H.J. Heinz Co. said Arthur Winkleblack has been named CFO effective January 7. Winkleblack succeeds Paul Renne, who is retiring after 28 years with the Pittsburgh-based company.

    Winkleblack worked most recently at Indigo Capital, which is an investor group focused on growth-oriented businesses in the United States and Europe. Before that, he held senior management roles in strategic planning and finance at PepsiCo, Allied Signal, and Six Flags Entertainment. Winkleblack holds an M.B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and an undergraduate degree in Business and Economics from UCLA.

    Renne, who has been CFO since 1996, will become a special adviser on finance until May, Heinz said.

    Like most companies, Heinz results have been down of late. In a November conference call, CEO Bill Johnson blamed the company’s plunging sales on the recession, as well as the mad-cow scare in Asia. Domestic sales, he noted, have been hurt by an overall decline in food-service and fast-food sales. In Japan, consumer worries about mad-cow disease have led to a drop in sales of Heinz’s best-selling product there, a demi-glace sauce for beef.

    On the plus side, Heinz executives say the acquisition of Classico pasta sauces — and innovations like EZ Squirt ketchup for kids — will help boost overall sales by around 10 percent by the second quarter next year. Whether EZ Squirt ketchup is truly an innovation, or merely a minor advance in condiment delivery systems, is subject to debate.

    On Wednesday afternoon the price of Heinz shares held steady, closing at $38.28.

  • Bravo to Kevin Walsh, who was named executive vice president and CFO of intimate-apparel company Maidenform Inc. Walsh joins the Bayonne, New Jersey-based, privately held company from Birmingham Steel, where he was also executive vice president and CFO. No stranger to the consumer-products world, Walsh has also worked at the likes of Johnson & Johnson, Burger King, and Newell/Goody’s Products.

    As finance chief, Walsh will be responsible for finance, treasury, and IT. The company did not indicate whom he is replacing.

  • Executives at U.K. women’s clothing retailer Laura Ashley Holdings Plc announced that director of retail finance David Cook was promoted to the top finance spot. Cook replaces CFO Jim Bellingham, who will retire at the end of February. Cook starts his new gig March 1, 2002.

  • Barry Faison has been named CFO of the Virginia Retirement System pension fund. Faison succeeds Gary Smith, who retired last month.

    Before this promotion, Faison was controller for more than 11 years at the independent state agency. He was the VRS accounting manager from 1979 to 1989, senior auditor for the Auditor of Public Accounts from 1978 to 1979, and junior auditor in the same office from 1976 to 1978.

    Faison holds a B.S. in accounting and an M.S. in business with an accounting emphasis from Virginia Commonwealth University. He is a certified public accountant and a certified government financial manager. He is also a graduate of the Governor’s School at Duke University and the Virginia Executive Institute.