Job Hunting

The Six Week Itch: CFO Heels It

After less than two months on the job, the finance chief of Pacific Ethanol wants to go back to his former industry.
Stephen TaubJuly 20, 2007

Pacific Ethanol said Chief Financial Officer Douglas Jeffries has resigned just six weeks after accepting the position. The company, which calls itself the largest West Coast-based marketer and producer of ethanol, said Jeffries, who assumed the post on June 4, expressed a desire to return to work in the technology sector. He had previously spent four years with eBay, most recently serving as vice president of finance and chief accounting officer.

Pacific Ethanol has already removed from its website the press release announcing that Jeffries joined the company. Meanwhile, company officials named Chief Operating Officer John Miller as acting CFO while a search is conducted for a permanent finance chief. Miller was acting CFO prior to Jeffries’ appointment.

“We wish Doug well in his future pursuits,” said CEO Neil Koehler. “We look forward to filling the position with a seasoned professional as soon as possible.” To be sure, Jeffries also fit that description, as he has more than 25 years of corporate finance experience.

Prior to joining eBay in 2003, he held executive roles in finance and technology with GenCorp, Red Herring Communications, Cardinal Health, and PricewaterhouseCoopers. He is a certified public accountant and holds an MBA from the University of Southern California, and a bachelor’s degree in accounting from California State University, Chico.

At press time, the company could not be reached for comment.

When he was appointed in May, Koehler noted that, “Doug’s strong financial background, public company experience and proven track record in improving company performance and shareholder value, will be a significant asset to us as we continue to execute on our strategic plan.” At the time, Jeffries commented that he was “very excited to join Pacific Ethanol,” and was looking forward to “working with its experienced management team to oversee the [c]ompany’s continued rapid growth.”

In February, Pacific Ethanol obtained a $325 million credit facility to provide financing for its first five ethanol production facilities. The company says its goal is to achieve 220 million gallons per year of ethanol production capacity by the middle of 2008 and to increase total production capacity to 420 million gallons per year by the end of 2010. In addition, the company says it is working to identify and develop other renewable fuel technologies, such as cellulose-based ethanol production and bio-diesel.