CFOs on the Move: Week Ending October 17

Dollar Thrifty Automotive, Intelstat, Sears, Best Doctors, Ford Motor, Office of Financial Stability, Expressor Software, PHH Corp., Concurrent, Se...
David McCann and Gabor TaroczyOctober 16, 2008

• Dollar Thrifty Automotive promoted CFO Scott Thompson to president and CEO, effective October 14. He also joins the company’s board of directors. Thompson, who joined the company in May, succeeds longtime chief executive Gary Paxton. Succeeding Thompson as executive vice president and is H. Clifford Buster III, who will join the company on October 27. He’s moving over from Helix Energy Solutions Group, where he was vice president of finance and treasurer of Inc. Paxton will continue to be a director and will provide consulting services to Dollar Thrifty until Oct. 31, 2009.

• Intelsat, a major provider of fixed-satellite services, has hired Michael McDonnell as its CFO, with an expected effective date of Nov. 17. His previous employer was MCG Capital, a publicly held commercial finance company, where he served as executive vice president and COO/CFO. Before joining MCG Capital in 2004, McDonnell was finance chief of satellite provider EchoStar Communications, now known as Dish Network. During his tenure at EchoStar, the company realized more than 100% revenue growth in a four-year period and closed nearly $7 billion of convertible debt, high-yield, and equity transactions.

• Sears has replaced its CFO for a third consecutive year. Joining as senior vice president, finance is General Electric veteran Michael Collins. He will succeed J. Miles Reidy as CFO at the end of the 2008 fiscal year. Sears said Reidy is stepping down to attend to a family issue. At the time Reidy was appointed in September of last year, Sears had been without a permanent CFO for eight months, following the January 2007 resignation of Craig Monaghan after just five months on the job. Collins has worked in a variety of finance positions in his 18-year career at GE, most recently as the senior vice president of planning and analysis for the company’s NBC Universal division.

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• Best Doctors Inc. announced that John Varvaris has joined the company as chief financial officer. The 30-year veteran had been with SMART Business Advisory and Consulting, LLC, where he was senior managing director and a leader in the firm’s largest industry practice, insurance. Varvaris previously spent more than 20 years with Ernst & Young, the last six years as a partner in the Mid-Atlantic practice. He also served as CFO at Old Mutual US Life/Fidelity & Guaranty Life Insurance Company.

• Ford Motor Co. CFO Don Leclair, 56, will retire November 1. His replacement will be executive vice president Lewis Booth, who is chairman and CEO of Ford of Europe and also responsible for Volvo Car Corp. and Ford Export Operations & Global Growth Initiatives. Ford credited Booth with playing a leading role in the successful transformations of Ford of Europe and Mazda during the past decade. Leclair, 56, joined Ford in 1976 and was appointed CFO in August 2003.

• Veteran federal CFO Thomas Bloom has been appointed by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson as interim finance chief of the newly created Office of Financial Stability. Bloom currently is CFO for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. According to the OCC, Bloom will leave his current job for three to four months and report to Neel Kashkari, interim assistant secretary of the Treasury, whom Paulson appointed to head the new office on Monday. Kashkari, whose appointment is subject to Senate approval, is one of Paulson’s senior advisers and formerly served as a Goldman Sachs vice president.

• Melinda Smith has joined Expressor Software Corp., a data integration software developer, as its new CFO. She has held several financial roles at Aspen Technology and also served as finance chief at edocs Inc., an online billing service business that was ultimately rolled into Oracle Corp. after being sold to Siebel Systems Inc. Before that she was vice president of finance at Gradient Technologies Ltd. and worked in the high-tech practice group at PricewaterhouseCoopers.

• At PHH Corp., Sandra Bell is the new chief financial officer, taking over for Clair Raubenstine, who left in May. Bell was most recently CFO of the Federal Home Loan Bank of Cincinnati from 2004 to 2006. Before that she was a managing director at Deutsche Bank Securities, where she worked for 13 years. PHH is an outsource provider of mortgage and vehicle fleet management services.

• Concurrent, a video-on-demand technology provider, has hired Emory Berry as CFO and executive vice president of operations. He already had been serving as the company’s CFO since March 2007 through a contract with TechCFO, where he was a partner. Berry has been with technology and healthcare companies including DVT Corporation and Firearms Training Systems, where he was CFO and treasurer, and at EquiMed, where he was corporate controller.

• Robert Cuthbert has been appointed CFO of SeaBright Insurance Holdings. He succeeds Joseph De Vita, who died in April. Cuthbert previously headed finance at two national brokerage firms, Wells Fargo Insurance Services and Corroon & Black. He’s also been CFO for specialty property and casualty underwriting firms LaSalle Re Holdings, Gryphon Holdings, and Coregis Group.

•Fred Goodwin, CEO of Royal Bank of Scotland, is stepping down following its partial nationalization by the government. His replacement, Land Securities CEO Stephen Hester, was formerly CFO of Credit Suisse and finance director of Abbey until its takeover by Banco Santander.

•Beleaguered German pay-TV operator Premiere announced the resignation of CFO Alexander Teschner. Mark Williams, brought in as CEO by NewsCorp, which holds a 25 percent stake in Premiere, will take on financial responsibilities until a replacement is found.

•U.K.-based newsagent WH Smith announced that its finance director, Alan Stewart, will step down, to be replaced by Robert Moorhead in December.

•Andrew Booker was named finance director of Northern Foods. He previously spent three years as CFO of tobacco group Gallaher.

•Danish shipping group D/S Norden appointed Michael Tonnes Jorgensen as its new CFO, effective at the start of next year. Jorgensen is currently finance chief of APM Global Logistics.

•U.K.-based builder Taylor Wimpey has tapped Christopher Rickard as finance director. He steps in at a difficult time for the property developer, as it struggles to renegotiate a large debt pile.

•Edeka, a German food retail group, chose Reinhard Schutte as its new finance director. Schutte joines from another food retailer, Dohle-Handelsgruppe.

•Boliden’s interim CFO Carolina Wang has decided to leave the group following the appointment of Johan Fant as the new, permanent finance chief of the Swedish metals company.