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CFOs on the Move

A new finance chief suits up for Oscar de la Renta. Plus: new CFOs at Verizon, Knight-Ridder, Hubbell, and more.
Lisa YoonNovember 12, 2004

• Verizon Wireless named John Townsend vice president and chief financial officer effective January 2005. The telecom company is a joint venture of Verizon Communications and Vodafone Group. Townsend has been CFO of Vodafone’s Europolitan Holdings AB in Sweden, and Vodafone Australia, as well as financial director of Vodafone UK. Townsend will replace Andrew Halford, who has been named group financial director designate for Vodafone Group Plc, as previously announced.

• San Jose-based publisher Knight Ridder named Steve Rossi senior vice president and chief financial officer. Rossi, currently president of the newspaper division, starts his new job January 1.

• Hubbell Inc., a manufacturer of electrical and electronic products appointed Gregory F. Covino interim chief financial officier. He was the corporate controller and chief accounting officer. Covino joined the Orange, Conn.-based company as its director of corporate accounting. Prior to joining Hubbell, he served as assistant controller of Otis Elevator Co., a subsidiary of United Technologies Corp.

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Covino takes over for William T. Tolley, who is on a paid administrative leave after notifying Hubbell, on Nov. 1, that he may face civil charges for alleged securities violations. The purported violations relate to actions taken by officials at Chesapeake Corp., where Tolley was CFO prior to joining Hubbell.

• New York-based fashion house Oscar de la Renta Ltd., named Giuseppe Celio chief financial officer. Celio has been the chief executive of Gianni Versace USA Retail and Wholesale subsidiaries. Previously he was CFO of Versace’s retail subsidiary. He fills a position that has been vacant at Oscar de la Renta since the resignation of Rachel Barnett earlier this year.

• Plato Learning Inc., a Minneapolis-based provider of computer-based and E-learning solutions, said Greg Melsen, its vice president and chief financial officer, has resigned and will be leaving the company in December. Melsen has served in his current role since February 2002. He intends to accept a similar position at a Minneapolis-based life sciences company.

Chief accounting officer Larry Betterley will succeed Melson as CFO. Before joining the company, Betterley was CFO of Diametrics Medical Inc. and Cray Research Inc.

• Chicago-based CrossMedia Services Inc., a Web-based marketing solutions provider, named Mary VanKoevering vice president and chief financial officer. VanKoevering joins CrossMedia from Apartments.com, where she most recently was VP and CFO, and before that, director of finance for technology and production.

• Great Circle Management LLC (GCM), a multi-unit food service company in Southern California, appointed John Bayley as chief financial officer. Prior to joining GCM, Bayley served as U.S. controller with Viking Office Products Inc., a subsidiary of Office Depot Inc., and as director of financial reporting for the company’s international division. Bayley was also vice president of finance for Diedrich Coffee Inc., and spent nearly 20 years working for Collins Foods International Inc., and its successor company, Sizzler International Inc.

• Stuart Grant was named chief financial officer of Geneva, Switzerland-based biotech Serono. This is an internal move for Grant, who was CFO of Serono Inc. in the U.S. Grant held various senior financial positions with Digital Equipment Corp. before joining Serono in 1995.

• Tacoda, an online audience management company, hired Mark R.E. Pinney as chief financial officer. Besides his duties as CFO, Pinney is the company’s chief privacy officer. Both positions are newly created. Pinney was chairman of CanDo, co-founder and CEO of LifeWire, and CFO of Real Media. His experience also includes work at Dillon Read & Co. and Merrill Lynch Capital Markets.

• Via Net.Works Inc. appointed Cameron Mackenzie as chief financial officer. Mackenzie, who joined the company in April 2004 as interim CFO, is a member of The Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland.

• E. Flint Seaton joined Colorado Springs-based XAware Inc., as chief financial officer. Before signing on with the technology company, Seaton was CFO, vice president of finance, and treasurer of NxTrend Technologies, an ERP software company. Seaton has also work at NeoCore Inc., Array Microsystems, Maximum International, and Inmos International, where he held senior financial management positions.

• London-based NDS Group Plc, a News Corp. company, tapped Alexander Gersh as chief financial officer. Gersh will take up his NDS role at the beginning of January 2005. He joined NDS from Flag Telecom Ltd., where he was finance chief. Before Flag, Gersh was executive vice president and CFO at NextiraOne LLC in the U.S. He has held senior international financial roles with British Telecommunications and Motorola.