CFOs on the Move

Calpine; Dynegy; United States Steel; Google; Havas; Escada; Altana Chemie; Shoe Pavilion; Planar Systems; Cost Plus; Pride International.
Lisa YoonDecember 2, 2005

• San Jose-based power company Calpine Corp. announced that chairman, president, and chief executive officer Peter Cartwright and chief financial officer and executive vice president Robert Kelly have stepped down. The company gave no reason for the departures. But it did state in a press release that its board of directors “believes that these management changes are essential to better address Calpine’s financial challenges and to provide a new direction for the company.” Lead director Kenneth Derr has been named chairman and acting CEO; deputy CFO and executive vice president Eric Pryor will serve as interim finance chief.

• Houston-based electricity provider Dynegy Inc. promoted senior vice president and treasurer Holli C. Nichols to the position of executive vice president and chief financial officer. She succeed Nick J. Caruso, who is leaving the company; Caruso came out of retirement in 2002 to oversee Dynegy’s restructuring. Filling Nichols’s shoes will be Chuck Cook, a vice president of finance in treasury. In addition, vice president of investor relations Peter J. Wilt is leaving the company. He will be succeeded by John Sousa as vice president of investor and public relations, reporting to Nichols.

• United States Steel Corp. named John P. Surma Jr. chairman of the board, effective February 1. He succeeds Thomas J. Usher, who will retire as chairman and as a director at the end of January. Surma, who joined Pittsburgh-based U. S. Steel in 2002 as vice chairman and chief financial officer after the company’s spin-off from USX Corp., will continue to serve as president and chief executive officer.

How Startup CFO Grew Food Company 50% YoY

How Startup CFO Grew Food Company 50% YoY

This case study of JonnyPops’ success highlights the unusual financial and operational strategies that enabled rapid expansion into a crowded and highly competitive frozen treat market. 

• Google Inc. named former Pixar chief financial officer Ann Mather to its board of directors. Mather will also chair the audit committee at the Mountain View, California-based company. Mather, who was CFO of Pixar from 1999 to 2004, has served on the boards of Central European Media Enterprises and, where she was also chair of the audit committee.

• Herve Philippe was named chief financial officer of Havas, the Paris-based advertising giant. He succeeds Jacques Herail, who is leaving the company after a 20-year career. Philippe joins the company from Sagem, which he joined in 1998 and where he was CFO since 2001. Previously, he was head of the corporate finance division in the Commission des Operations de Bourse, the French Stock Exchange regulatory authority.

• German luxury retailer Escada AG named Markus Schürholz chief financial officer, effective January 1. Schürholz succeeds Georg Kellinghusen, who is leaving “by best mutual consent as part of the generational change,” according to a company statement. Schürholz joins the Escada from Douglas-Holding AG, where he was finance director.

• Altana Chemie AG, the chemicals division of Altana AG, named Martin Babilas a member of the management board, effective January 1, and chief financial officer, effective April 1. Babilas joined the parent company in 1998 as assistant to the CFO; in 2001, he moved to Altana Chemie as head of strategic business development. He will succeed Gerd Buescher, who will focus on his current position as managing director of finance and administration of the company’s additives and instruments division.

• Shoe Pavilion Inc. tapped Neil Watanabe as executive vice president and chief financial officer. Watanabe most recently held the same titles at Elizabeth Arden Spas and previously served as CFO of Petsmart Inc. At the Sherman Oaks, California-based shoe retailer, Watanabe succeeds, John D. Hellmann, who resigned effective November 21, choosing not to move with the company to its new Southern California headquarters.

• Scott Hildebrandt rejoined flat-panel display-systems specialist Planar Systems Inc. as vice president and chief financial officer. This is Hildebrandt’s second stint as finance chief of the Beaverton, Oregon-based company; he has also been finance chief of Merant Plc and InFocus Corp. At Planar, he succeeds Steve Buhaly, who served as both CFO and COO.

• John Luttrell resigned as executive vice president and chief financial officer of Oakland-based retailer Cost Plus Inc. to accept a similar position at Wet Seal Inc. While Cost Plus searches for Luttrell’s successor, his responsibilities will be handled by vice president of financial planning and treasurer Jane Baughman and vice president and controller Chris Miller.

• Houston-based drilling contractor Pride International Inc. named Brian Voegele senior vice president and chief financial officer. Voegele joins the company from Offshore Logistics Inc., where he was senior vice president, CFO, treasurer, and secretary since June.