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Help Wanted: Washington Mutual Needs Finance Chief

Search is on for new CFO at nation's biggest S&L. Also: Barnes & Noble.com, Federal Signal find finance chiefs.
Jennifer CaplanFebruary 11, 2002

>>No shortage of candidates likely to line up for Washington Mutual CFO post vacated by William Longbrake…Former finance chief recently left job to become vice chairman of company’s risk management group… Managers at Seattle-based savings and loan—biggest S&L in United States—have hired headhunter Heidrick & Struggles to find new CFO…

Longbrake now top cop of S&L’s operational and capital risks…Watch out for those commercial real estate loans…Home loans, however, fine…Washington fourth quarter profits rose 69 percent to a record high, as lower interest rates spurred boom in home loans…Company earned $842 million (97 cents a share), fourth quarter, compared with $497 million (62 cents a share) a year ago…Loan volume grew to a record $59 billion in Q4…But nonperforming assets soared amid recession, climbing to almost $2.4 billion from $2.0 billion three months earlier…

>>Kevin Frain hitting books as new CFO at Barnes & Noble.com…named only three days after online bookstore named Marie Toulantis as previous CFO of Barnes & Noble, Inc. as new chief executive…Toulantis previously COO of the dot-com….Frain joined Barnes&noble.com in 1999 as director of finance and has been vice president of finance since early 2001…Was previously treasurer…Between 1996 and 1999 Frain was finance manager at Barnes & Noble Inc…

Finance chief may have struggle on his hands…Company’s shares fell almost 22 percent Friday after a Prudential Financial analyst said Amazon.com might have gained market share from the company in the fourth quarter… Barnes Noble.com managers said company recorded a fourth-quarter net loss of $127.8 million (81 cents per share), compared with a net loss of $158.5 million ($1 per share), in same period a year ago. Consolidated fourth-quarter net sales were $115 million versus $114 million a year ago…

>>Managers at Federal Signal Corp., Oak Brook, Illinois-based maker of environmental and fire-rescue vehicles based, tapped Stephanie Kushner as CFO and vice president…She replaces Henry Dykema who announced retirement in October of last year…Kushner most recently vice president and treasurer of FMC Corp.… Had been with FMC since 1989…Began career at Amoco Corporation, where she spent eight years in various financial positions…

Kushner may need to signal for help…Federal Signal’s fourth-quarter earnings fell 21 percent as airports and other customers delayed projects…Company reported income of $11.7 million (26 cents a share), compared with $14.7 million (32 cents a share), a year earlier…Still, stock has risen 2.6 percent so far this year…