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CFOs on the Move: Week Ending December 7

Merrill Lynch, Chrysler Financial, Best Buy, GMAC, Reynolds American, Trump Entertainment Resorts, Pacific Sunwear, Shutterfly, NCL, Aon Consulting...
Sarah JohnsonDecember 6, 2007

• Merrill Lynch has named Nelson Chai executive vice president and chief financial officer to replace Jeffrey Edwards, who has been the finance chief for two years. Chai has been executive vice president and CFO of NYSE Euronext and its predecessor company, NYSE Group Inc., for nearly a year and was CFO of Archipelago Holdings from 2000 to 2005. He will officially join Merrill on December 10. Edwards reportedly suggested he resign after CEO Stan O’Neal was ousted in October, but the board declined his offer. NYSE Euronext announced that Joost van der Does de Willebois, currently deputy CFO, would serve as acting CFO, beginning December 10. He has also headed NYSE Euronext’s Amsterdam market.

• Chrysler Financial has named Leland Wilson CFO. He previously served as senior vice president of capital markets for First Marblehead Corp. He has also worked for Vanguard Car Rental as senior vice president and treasurer.

• Darren Jackson, who became executive vice president of customer operating groups for Best Buy after seven years as CFO earlier this fall, is leaving the retailer. He will become president and CEO of Advance Auto Parts, where he has served as a director for the past three years. In September, Best Buy named Jim Muehlbauer as interim CFO to replace Jackson.

• GMAC Financial Services has tapped another Bank of America veteran to serve in its executive ranks. Samuel Ramsey, who worked at BofA for 25 years including a stint as CFO of its global corporate and investment banking, has started work at GMC as chief risk officer. He joins former Bank of America alumni Al de Molina, who is chief operating officer, and Robert Hull, who is CFO. At GMAC, Ramsey is responsible for global risk management and treasury activities, including funding and balance sheet management. He reports to de Molina, who served as BofA’s CFO for 18 months and left the bank one year ago. Ramsey has been with GMAC since September, when he was hired as treasurer.

• Dianne Neal will resign as executive vice president and CFO of Reynolds American Inc. in March. The company’s chief accounting officer, Thomas Adams, will take her place this January. “Tom Adams is tremendously talented, committed to RAI’s long-term success, and I am confident that I am leaving the CFO role in good hands,” Neal said. He joined the company in 1999 as controller of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Holdings and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. He has also served as a partner for Deloitte & Touche. His predecessor has been with Reynolds for 20 years, first working as a process manager in a coupon redemption center. Neal also held the titles of Reynolds Tobacco’s controller and vice president of investor relations for R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Holdings. She was named executive vice president and CFO of R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Holdings in 2003, and executive vice president and CFO of Reynolds American in 2005.

• Dale Black has resigned as CFO of Trump Entertainment Resorts to accept a similar position at another entertainment company, effective December 14. Trump is looking for Black’s successor. Black has been with the company for two years. He previously was CFO of Argosy Gaming Co.

• Gerald Chaney has resigned as senior vice president, CFO, and secretary of Pacific Sunwear. He has been replaced on an interim basis by controller Michael Henry. The retailer is searching for a permanent CFO. Henry had been with the company for more than seven years.

• Shutterfly Inc. has announced the retirement of CFO Stephen Recht. He is succeeded by Mark Rubash, who is joining the photo services company from Rearden Commerce, where he was CFO. He has also worked at eBay as chief accounting officer and Yahoo as senior vice president of finance. He began his career at PricewaterhouseCoopers. Recht has been with Shutterfly since 2004 and is expected to stay with the company through mid-February.

• NCL Corp. has appointed Kevin Sheehan as executive vice president and CFO. Sheehan previously worked at Cendant for nine years. While there, he served as president and CFO of Avis for five years, CFO of Cendant for two, and chairman and CEO of its vehicle services division. For the past two and a half years, he has provided consulting services to private equity firms. NCL is the holding organization for companies involved in operating the Norwegian Cruise Line and Orient Lines ships.

• Aon Consulting Worldwide has named Mark Blumenthal CFO. He most recently led the global business operations and service delivery for the relocation segment of SIRVA Inc. Prior to that, he founded Blumenthal Financial Advisors, serving as CFO and adviser to international businesses. Blumenthal also spent 20 years with Andersen (formerly Arthur Andersen). His work there included holding the position of CFO of Asia Pacific. His new position expands a controller role previously held by Dennis Slusarski, who will assist Blumenthal during the transition.

• Thomas Pennison is leaving his CFO position at Ruth’s Chris Steak House Inc. to pursue other business and personal interests. The company, which has 116 locations, is searching for his replacement. Until then, Pennison will stay in the CFO role and continue to manage the company’s finances. Pennison has worked there for 11 years.

• Granite City Food & Brewery Ltd. has hired one of its directors, James Gilbertson, as CFO. He replaces Peter Hausback, who has left the 22-restaurant company after a year. Gilbertson currently serves as an executive consultant to businesses in the Twin Cities area. He previously served as vice president of business development and cable distribution for ValueVision Media, as well as CFO of Navarre Corp. He will stay on Granite City’s board but will no longer serve on the audit committee.