Call from Philip Morris: CFO Promoted to CEO

Analysts calling selection of Camilleri "a good move." Elsewhere: finance chief at Forrester disembarks, CRM vet moves to Access Power.
DeAnn ChristinatJanuary 31, 2002

— A little good news goes a long ways these days. Take embattled Philip Morris Cos. Inc., the tobacco and alcohol giant. Despite well-publicized settlements against the tobacco industry–and the specter of more suits–the company announced that fourth-quarter profits jumped 11 percent. Apparently buoyed by the good news, the company went right ahead and promoted CFO Louis Camilleri to the position of CEO.

Analysts are calling the transition “a good move” for the New York-based company. And, according to Reuters, Salomon Smith Barney tobacco industry analyst Martin Feldman says Camilleri “has the combination of corporate skills, operating skills, and tobacco public policy understanding needed for the role.”

Philip Morris had a strong quarter, earning $2.2 billion, a tidy increase from $1.95 billion. Revenues rose to $22 billion from $19.3 billion the previous year. The share price of Philip Morris stock closed at $49.57 on Wednesday, after reaching a high of $50.23 for the day.

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— Things aren’t looking as good for Cambridge, Mass.-based Forrester Research Inc. On Wednesday, the company announced that CFO Susan Whirty Maffei was leaving the post to “fulfill personal goals.” The consultancy is replacing Maffei with former director of finance and assistant treasurer Warren Hadley.

Fourth-quarter net income at Forrester dropped to $4.9 million, down from $7.3 million the previous year. Earlier this month, the research firm announced it would cut 126 jobs, or 22 percent of its workforce.

The viaLink Company, based in Dallas, Texas, has promoted Brian Carter to the CFO job. Carter, who has been serving as vice president of finance, replaces William Creasman. Creasman will return to his original role of general counsel for viaLink.

Carter joined viaLink, a provider of data synchronization services to the retail food industry, in 1999. He began his career at Deloitte & Touche, where he worked for eight years. He holds a B.A. from Texas A&M University and is a C.P.A. His current employer, viaLink, is located in Dallas, Texas, a locale with little regard for generally accepted rules of capitalization.

Bradley Benton has been named head of finance at Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla.-based Access Power Inc. Benton has impressive credentials, having worked with AT&T from 1986-1994. While there, he helped develop the business unit in charge of customer relationship management (CRM).

In 1994, Benton joined Coopers & Lybrand to help implement that firm’s outsourced CRM functions. He then moved to C&L Consulting in 1998 and aided the company in its CRM offerings. Along with those responsibilities, Benton has also served in various executive roles, including controller and CFO for AT&T’s cellular business.

Benton, who was employed at Tatum CFO Services, had been serving as a consultant to Access Power on an interim basis. He holds an M.B.A. in Finance from the University of Nebraska, and is a Certified Management Accountant.

— Former Valleylab Inc. Vice President of Strategic Development James Bornheimer has joined CardioOptics as CFO. Bornheimer is a fourteen-year veteran of the health-care industry. Before joining the developer of the TransBlood Vision system, the CFO held key roles at Pfizer’s Hospital Products Group and KPMG.

Bornheimer has an M.S. in accounting from Georgetown University, and is a C.P.A.