CFOs on the Move: Week Ending May 25

Sallie Mae, Aon, Ligand Pharmaceuticals, HEI, Constellation Energy, First Charter, Boston Communications Group, Furniture Brands, Sigma Designs.
Sarah JohnsonMay 24, 2007

• CFO C.E. Andrews is taking over as vice chairman and chief executive of SLM Corp., which is better known as Sallie Mae. He replaces Thomas Fitzpatrick, who has resigned from the student-loan company. Fitzpatrick will provide advisory services over the next few weeks during the transition. Andrews joined Sallie Mae in 2003 as executive vice president of accounting and risk management, and was promoted more than a year ago to finance chief.

• David Bolger has resigned as vice president, CFO, and chief administrative officer of Aon. He will continue his finance chief duties until the commercial insurance broker names his successor. He joined the company in 2003 after holding senior positions at Bank One and its predecessor companies, including American National Bank and First Chicago.

• Tod Mertes, the CFO of Ligand Pharmaceuticals until two weeks ago, has left the company. Mertes was recently replaced by John Sharp and given the titles of vice president and interim chief accounting officer. He resigned on May 15. A five-year veteran of Ligand, Mertes took over the CFO role in January when Paul Maier stepped down. Mertes’ departure was planned, according to CEO John Higgins. “He just wants to take a break and enjoy his large family,” Higgins told

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• Mark Thomas has reneged on his plans to resign as CFO of HEI Inc. by May 31. He has agreed to stay with the company as CEO, CFO, and board member, a position he did not previously hold. His compensation arrangement with the software company remains the same.

• E. Follin Smith, executive vice president, CFO, and chief administrative officer of Constellation Energy, has resigned to spend more time with her family, according to a company press release. John Collins, senior vice president and chief risk officer, will succeed Smith as chief financial officer. Smith will provide consulting services to the company through February 2008. “I want to be more actively involved with my children at this stage of their lives and, for right now, want to control my calendar more than is possible as the chief financial officer of a publicly traded company,” Smith said in a statement. In 1997, Collins became CFO of Constellation Commodities Group, and was promoted in 2004 to chief risk officer of that company’s parent, Constellation Energy.

• Charles Caswell has submitted his resignation as CFO of First Charter Corp. He will help the company during its transition to a new CFO through August 17. In the meantime, Sheila Stoke, the company’s senior vice president and controller, will serve as principal financial officer on an interim basis, and Matthew Carson, senior vice president and director of strategic initiatives, will handle responsibility for management reporting, balance sheet management, and treasury matters until the company finds a CFO replacement. Caswell joined the financial services company in 2005.

• Joseph Mullaney will do triple duty as acting CEO, CFO, and treasurer of Boston Communications Group. He is filling in for the spot left open by Paul Tobin, who resigned as interim CEO. He had taken the temporary position in October in addition to his duties as chairman, a role he will retain. Mullaney has been CFO of the company since February. He joined the company from SofTech, where he held various positions, including president, CEO, and CFO. He has also worked at Coopers & Lybrand.

• Denise Ramos has traded her job as senior vice president and CFO of Furniture Brands for the same titles at ITT Corp. The retailer is searching for her replacement. Ramos begins her new job July 1, replacing George Minnich, who is retiring. Before joining Furniture Brands more than two years ago, she was senior vice president and corporate treasurer of Yum Brands and CFO of KFC. She began her career at Atlantic Richfield Co.

• Mark Kent has resigned as CFO of Sigma Designs after three months on the job. Thomas Gay will replace him on June 1 and have the titles of CFO and treasurer. Gay previously worked at Catalyst Semiconductor as vice president of finance and administration and CFO. He has also worked at Wireless Access and Sanmina Corp.

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