Happy Gilmour?

Ford said to be seeking permanent replacement for CFO Allan Gilmour; but when will that be? Plus: former Enron finance manager lands gig at UT.
Lisa YoonApril 24, 2003

It seems Ford Motor Co.’s Allan Gilmour wants back — into retirement, that is.

According to Reuters, the carmaker has been putting out feelers for Gilmour’s replacement for some months now. Gilmour, a Ford veteran, came out of retirement last May to help Ford get back on track.

Now he’s saying that, while he has no plans to leave, Ford should start looking anyway. The company’s management declined to talk to Reuters about the search. It has engaged a search firm, however, and insiders told the news service that it was possible Ford might hire a finance chief from outside the company.

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The search may be as big an assignment as the job itself. The added risk brought on by Sarbanes-Oxley’s certification requirements makes any CFO’s job tougher. Add that to the responsibilities of the top finance job at one of the world’s biggest makers, and well… you’ve got a formidable assignment for any recruiter.

One question concerning the search is whether Gilmour’s successor will be an industry veteran. While car companies tend to stick with automotive veterans when filling executive posts, the requirements of the finance chief job at Ford may force the company to look outside the industry. “It would be preferable if they have someone with real savvy within the auto industry, but that may not be possible,” David Cole, director of the Center for Automotive Research, told Reuters.

Gilmour is Ford’s fifth CFO in four years. So far, he’s done what he was called in to do. Last week, the company reported a strong profit, beating expectations by a mile — 45 cents a share, compared to the estimated 22. The good results were due in large part to strong profits in Ford’s finance arm. That unit helped offset a slowdown in car sales.

Ford chairman and chief William Clay Ford Jr., who convinced Gilmour to come out of retirement, has said earlier he wants Gilmour to stay on as long as possible.

Last week, Edward Lundy, one of Ford’s first finance chiefs, was announced as an inductee into the Automotive Hall of Fame. Perhaps to Gilmour, 68, that looks a lot more fun than the daily grind.

Life After Enron

Andrea Vail Reed, a former finance executive of bankrupt Enron Corp., has joined the Austin-based University of Texas Investment Management Co. At UT, Reed will supervise the university’s $13.3 billion in investments, according to the Austin Business Journal.

Reed developed pricing and risk models for Enron. When the Houston-based energy company collapsed after the accounting scandal, Reed joined thousands of Enron employees in the unemployment line.

She was most recently associate treasurer and portfolio-risk manager for Rice University in Houston. The nonprofit UTIMCO manages the university’s investments under the care of the UT Board of Regents.

Bloomberg’s Girlfriend Up for State Banking Job

Paging Rob Reiner: The latest controversy in New York financial circles involves the mayor’s girlfriend.

Diana Taylor, a top aide to Gov. George Pataki and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s girlfriend, is set to be named state banking superintendent, according to New York papers.

Since January, Taylor has been Pataki’s deputy secretary for finance and housing. A former investment banker who has been dating Bloomberg for more than a year, Taylor has also served as a vice president at KeySpan Energy and CFO of the Long Island Power Authority.

The banking superintendent post has been open since the end of March when Elizabeth McCaul resigned. McCaul cited “a variety of personal reasons” for her decision to leave.

Taylor’s possible nomination for the banking superintendent post was first reported last Tuesday by the Crain’s Insider newsletter and has since been confirmed by the New York Daily News and other papers.