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CFOs on the Move

President Bush's former finance man may be heading to Washington. Plus: ATA; Applied Materials; US Airways; Hershey Foods; Yankee Candle; Chicago M...
Lisa YoonOctober 29, 2004

• One former chief financial officer may be on the move to the Beltway. It doesn’t hurt that he goes way back with U.S. President George W. Bush. K. Michael Conaway was once vice president, secretary, and treasurer of Bush’s oil company, Bush Exploration. He was later senior VP and CFO of United Bank of Midland, the bank that loaned the future president $500,000 to buy his share of the Texas Rangers baseball team. These days Conaway is in politics. In June last year he lost a bid to represent the Lubbock, Tex., district in Congress. He’s back this year, running the new 11th Congressional District, which Bush calls home, according to the San Angelo Standard Times. Conaway is the favorite to win next Tuesday.

• On Monday, the day before ATA, the nation’s 10th-largest airline, filed for bankruptcy protection, its parent corporation announced that it had appointed a chief restructuring officer and rehired its former CFO. The restructuring job went to Gilbert Viets, currently vice president and chief financial officer of the Indianapolis-based airline. Viets, a retired Arthur Andersen accountant, took over as ATA’s CFO after David Wing resigned in June. Wing, a former American Airlines executive, was ATA’s from March 2003. Company founder and CEO George Mikelsons said then that Wing resigned for personal reasons. Wing now reassumes his former CFO post with the company.

• Semiconductor equipment maker Applied Materials Inc. named group vice president Nancy Handel chief financial officer. Joseph Bronson, former CFO, resigned from the Santa Clara, California-based company effective October 22 to pursue other interests. Handel, a 19-year veteran of Applied Materials, held the post of deputy chief financial officer, corporate controller, and principal accounting officer for the past four years. Before joining Applied Materials, Handel held treasury and finance positions at Raychem Corp., Crown Zellerbach, and The Aviation Group.

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• Bankrupt US Airways Group Inc. named Ronald Stanley chief financial officer, replacing David Davis. Stanley joined the US Airways board of directors in May 2004 and has served as chairman of the board’s audit committee since then. He has extensive finance experience, according to the company, and was previously chief operating officer and director of HSBC Equator. He also held several posts within the Royal Bank of Canada Group, including senior vice president and general manager of Europe, Middle East and Africa; chairman of RBC Europe Ltd.; and a member of the executive committee of RBC Dominion Securities.

Davis is resigning from the Arlington, Virginia-based air carrier to work for Kraton Polymers LLC, based in Houston. He joined US Airways in 2002 as vice president of financial planning and analysis. He was promoted to executive VP and CFO in 2004.

• Frank Cerminara, senior vice president and chief financial officer of chocolate maker Hershey Foods Corp., is stepping down from his post at year’s end. He will retire from the company December 31, 2005. Succeeding Cerminara is David West, senior vice president and chief customer officer. West, a sales specialist, starts his new role as CFO on January 1. Cerminara will work with West through 2005 to ensure an orderly transition.

West joined Hershey in May 2001 as VP of business planning and development. In 2002, he became senior VP of sales, and earlier this year he was promoted to chief customer officer. Before joining Hershey, West was senior VP of finance at Kraft Foods-Nabisco Biscuit, Confectionery, and Snacks. Before Kraft’s acquisition of
Nabisco, West was senior VP and CFO of Nabisco Biscuit Co, capping off 14 years with Nabisco. During his tenure he was also VP and controller of the Stella D’oro cookie unit–experience that may come in handy as Hershey enters the cookie business.

• Sixteen-year company veteran James Parisi has been promoted to the posts of managing director and chief financial officer of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Holdings Inc. and its subsidiary CME, the large futures exchange. Parisi replaces David Gomach, who announced his departure from CME in July to spend more time with his family. Previously, Parisi served as managing director and treasurer. He joined the company in 1988 as an internal auditor.

Further, James Pribel was promoted to director and treasurer. Pribel joined CME in 2002 as associate director and assistant treasurer. He previously held a variety of finance roles at United Stationers Inc. from 1978 to 2001, most recently serving as VP, treasurer, and assistant secretary.

• Robert Spellman will retire as senior vice president of finance and chief financial officer of The Yankee Candle Company Inc. after the end of the current fiscal year. Spellman joined Yankee the scented-candle retailer in November 1998. No word on the status of the South Deerfield, Mass. company’s search for Spellman’s successor.

• Seattle-based supercomputer developer Cray Inc. is losing Scott Poteracki, senior vice president of finance and chief financial officer, to storage specialist MTI Technology Corp. in Tustin, California. Poteracki will be executive VP and CFO at MTI. Before joining Cray, Poteracki held the chief finance job at Racal Instruments Inc. He also worked at Broadcom Inc. as corporate controller and senior director of finance and at Motorola Inc. as corporate vice president and controller. MTI’s outgoing CFO, Todd Schaeffer. is leaving the company to pursue other interests.

At Cray, former CFO and current Cray general counsel Kenneth Johnson will serve as interim CFO. Johnson was Cray’s finance chief from 1997 to 2001. Cray has also retained CPA William Scott to assist Johnson in managing the accounting department and completing Sarbanes-Oxley compliance. Scott recently served in the CFO roles at Heart Technology Inc. and NeoPath Inc.

• Roper Industries Inc. tapped a former General Electric Co. executive as its new chief financial officer. Michael Towe, a 27-year veteran of GE, is currently CFO at GE Equipment Services. Towe began his career in GE’s financial management program in 1977. He has served as CFO of GE Plastics and GE Capital. Roper Industries, based in Duluth, Georgia, is a diversified industrial company.

• Kforce Inc. promoted former chief financial officer Bill Sanders to president of the professional-staffing firm. Sanders joined Kforce in 1999 as CFO and was promoted in 2002 to the position of chief operating officer. In addition, CFO Derrell Hunter is resigning for health reasons. Joe Liberatore was appointed CFO to succeed Hunter. Liberatore, a Kforce veteran of 16 years, began as a recruiter, became an account manager, and eventually became chief sales officer. Most recently, Liberatore was chief talent officer, responsible for HR and benefits.

• Jeffrey A. Weber has joined Wellesley, Mass.-based GeoTrust Inc., a specialist in identity verification and E-security solutions, as chief financial officer. Weber was most recently CFO and vice president of finance at Storigen Systems Inc. Prior to Storigen, he held the same titles at software provider Gensym Corp.; networking hardware vendor Summa Four Inc., which was acquired by Cisco Systems; and bar code scanning equipment provider Computer Identics.

• Here’s news on a GeoTrust alumnus: Timothy Adams has been named vice president, chief financial officer, and treasurer of Boxborough, Mass.-based Cytyc Corp., a medical device company focused on women’s health. Adams most recently served as finance chief for Modus International Inc., a privately held global supply chain management company serving the high technology and broadband markets. Before that, he was chief operating and chief financial officer at GeoTrust and CFO at Digex Inc. Adams replaces acting CFO Leslie Teso-Lichtman, who will continue as VP and controller.

• Minneapolis-based MakeMusic! Inc., which makes music-education technology, appointed Alan Shuler as vice president and chief financial officer. Shuler’s experience includes jobs at such companies as Crocker Bank Leasing Group, where he was vice president and controller; Dividend Industries Inc, where he was executive VP and CFO; Carlson Companies Inc, where he was president and CEO of the North American Financial Division; Corporate Financial Services, where he was president; and CEO; FSI International, Inc, where he was senior VP of finance and Administration as well as CFO; Astrocom Corp., where he was VP and CFO. For the past twelve years he has been VP and CFO of Datakey Inc., a public company that produces software and semiconductor-based smart-card systems.

• RealAge Inc., a consumer-health media company and provider of personalized health-information and management tools, appointed Thomas O’Hara chief financial officer. He joins the San Diego-based company after working Orincon Corp. International, where he was CFO the San Diego defense technology firm. Orincon was sold to Lockheed Martin.

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