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CFO Arrivals, Promotions, and Departures 2021

In their searches to fill CFO roles, a majority of boards favored candidates with years of finance experience inside the organization.
Vincent RyanDecember 23, 2021

CFO turnover from January to October 21 in the S&P 500 was 16%, about even with the two prior years, according to Russell Reynolds. In good news for finance staffers trying to move up the ladder, the promotion of internal finance executives to the CFO seat occurred in 68% of the appointments. When CFOs were hired from outside an organization, more than three-fourths of the time (84%) the nominees had previous CFO experience. Finally, women comprised 33% of new CFO appointments in the 10 months, almost double last year’s rate.

Our CFOs on the Move column tracks the transitions in CFO jobs weekly. Below is a sample of the CFO movement among public and private companies this year.

January 2021

Starbucks named Rachel Ruggeri chief financial officer, replacing Pat Grismer, who retired. Ruggeri joined Starbucks 17 years ago and held various finance roles before leaving for two years as CFO at Continental Mills.

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Online grocery platform Instacart appointed Nick Giovanni as finance chief. Giovanni worked for more than 20 years at Goldman Sachs.

MGM Resorts hired Jonathan Halkyard as CFO. Halkyard was previously president and chief executive officer at Extended Stay America and ESH Hospitality.

Car buying marketplace TrueCar named Jantoon Reigersman to the CFO spot. Reigersman had been CFO of Leaf Group.

February 2021

The Children’s Place promoted Robert Helm to finance chief. He was most recently senior vice president of finance and inventory management.

Rolls-Royce announced that former Deloitte partner Panos Kakoullis would be its chief financial officer. His last position at Deloitte was managing director in the firm’s global audit and assurance business.

HP appointed Marie Myers as chief financial officer. She had been serving as acting CFO and chief transformation officer.

GameStop CFO Jim Bell reportedly was forced to resign as part of a push by activist investor Ryan Cohen to “reshape the ailing retailer.”

March 2021

Fast-casual chain BurgerFi hired Michael Rabinovitch as CFO. Rabinovitch joins the company after serving as chief accounting officer at Tech Data.

Yumi hired Goldman Sachs partner Sarah-Marie Martin as the baby food company’s first CFO. She has been a managing director for Goldman’s financial and strategic investors group since 2016.

Agribusiness giant Cargill named its first female CFO, appointing former General Electric executive Jamie Miller to succeed David Dines. She was finance chief of GE from 2017 to 2020.

Adobe chief financial officer John Murphy stepped down after three years of guiding the software maker’s finances. (On October 18, Dan Durn was appointed Murphy’s successor.)

April 2021

After four years as CFO at Shake Shack, Tara Comonte left to become CEO of TMRW Life Sciences, a biotech company focused on in vitro fertilization.

Raytheon Technologies appointed former United Technologies executive Neil Mitchill to succeed Anthony “Toby” O’Brien as CFO a year after merging to create an aerospace and defense behemoth.

Boeing CFO Greg Smith decided to retire after helping guide the company through the twin crises of the 737 Max grounding and the coronavirus pandemic.

May 2021

Automation Anywhere named James Budge as the cloud RPA company’s chief financial officer. Budge was previously the CFO at Pluralsight.

David Bertolino joined retail software company Aptos as CFO. He was finance chief at B2B sales firm N3, and before that, held financial leadership roles at Verint Systems.

JetBlue named Ursula Hurley acting chief financial officer, adding to her role as head of treasury and investor relations. She was appointed to the job permanently in September 2021.

Everside Health hired Heather Dixon as its new chief financial officer. Dixon previously served as senior vice president, global controller, and chief accounting officer of Walgreens Boots Alliance.

June 2021

Mesirow Financial Holdings promoted chief financial officer and chief administrative officer Natalie Brown to president. Before joining Mesirow, Brown spent 18 years in finance roles at Nuveen.

Beyond Meat appointed Phil Hardin as its new finance chief. Hardin joins the plant-based meat maker from Amazon, where he worked for 15 years in finance and investor relations.

Glenn Schiffman, IAC executive vice president and CFO, left the media conglomerate. Schiffman subsequently became finance chief of Fanatics.

Restaurant chain Ruby Tuesday hired Kathy Buckley as chief financial officer. Buckley has more than 35 years of finance experience, including CFO of Bruegger’s Bagels and The Rug Doctor and vice president of finance at RadioShack.

 July 2021

Boeing named Brian West, a former GE executive, to lead its finance department. West was previously CFO at financial markets data provider Refinitiv, which he joined in 2018 from Oscar Health Insurance.

BJ’s Restaurants promoted CFO and president Gregory Levin to president and chief executive officer. Levin had served as CFO since joining BJ’s in September 2005. Thomas Houdek, vice president of strategy and FP&A, was promoted to CFO to replace Levin.

Exxon Mobil hired former United Airlines CFO Kathryn Mikells to lead its finance team. She joins from spirit distributor Diageo, where she was CFO for five-plus years.

Jayant Mittal joined online pizza ordering platform Slice as finance chief. Mittal spent four years as director of worldwide corporate development at Amazon.

 August 2021

The Senate confirmed Margaret Vo Schaus as chief financial officer of NASA. She was the director for business operations in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense.

Impossible Foods’ interim chief financial officer, David Borecky, was promoted to CFO of the plant-based meat maker. Borecky was previously the controller for Stripe and held senior management positions at Square.

Sharon McCollam joined Albertsons Companies as the grocery store chain’s new president and CFO. McCollam retired from the CFO position at Best Buy in 2016.

Petco Health and Wellness Company promoted Brian LaRose to finance chief. Since September 2020, LaRose has served as Petco’s senior vice president of finance. Before joining Petco, he was divisional CFO for HP’s 3D business unit.

September 2021

Tradeweb appointed Sara Furber as chief financial officer, effective September 7. Furber joins the electronic trading provider from equity exchange operator IEX Group.

Alastair Borthwick, president of global commercial banking at Bank of America, was promoted to CFO. Borthwick joined the bank in 2005 as head of global investment-grade debt capital markets.

Goldman Sachs announced that Denis Coleman would take over as finance chief on January 1, 2022. Coleman joined the bank in 1996 as an analyst in the bank loan group.

Technology company Bubblr appointed Neeta Shah as chief financial officer. Shah has 20 years of global experience in finance and previously worked at BlackRock and Citigroup. She is the founder of Startup CFO Solutions.

October 2021

Audio and speech recognition company SoundHound appointed Nitesh Sharan as CFO. Before joining SoundHound, Sharan was CFO, global operations and technology at Nike.

Adam Kroll took over as chief financial officer of electric vehicle company Lordstown Motors. Kroll has served as the chief administrative officer of hydrogen-powered commercial vehicle supplier Hyzon Motors and was previously interim chief financial officer for steel distributor UPG Enterprises.

Melissa Thomas was named the new CFO of Cinemark. Thomas joined the movie theater chain from Groupon, where she started as vice president of commercial finance in 2017.

Brandy Richardson was appointed CFO of Tailored Brands, the owner of retail stores Men’s Wearhouse, Jos. A. Bank, and K&G Fashion Superstore. Richardson was executive vice president and CFO at Neiman Marcus Group.

November 2021

Hormel Foods named Jacinth Smiley, a former GE executive with expertise in strategic planning, as its new CFO. She will succeed Jim Sheehan, retiring after 43 years at Hormel.

Seun Sodipo will join direct-to-consumer beauty brand Glossier in February 2022 as finance chief. Most recently, Sodipo led product finance and strategy at Stripe after working in private equity and mergers and acquisitions.

Brian T. Purcell, chief financial officer of Hostess Brands, resigned after spending less than two years at the bakery company. The Hostess board of directors named Michael Gernigin, senior vice president and corporate controller, as interim CFO.

Frank D’Amelio retired as CFO of Pfizer after a 14-year tenure during which he played key roles in transformative transactions and the drugmaker’s response to the pandemic. Pfizer began an external search for D’Amelio’s successor.

December 2021

Swiss bank UBS named JPMorgan Chase veteran Sarah Youngwood as its next CFO, adding a woman to its executive board. Youngwood will replace Kirt Gardner when he steps down in May 2022.

Publicly held SmileDirectClub announced the resignation of CFO Kyle Wailes to pursue a CEO opportunity at a health care company.  The teeth-straightening company has retained executive recruiting firm Korn Ferry.

Former chief business officer of ZipRecruiter Timothy Yarborough was named the job aggregator’s finance chief. Yarborough takes over for David Travers, who was named president.

Children’s entertainment company Genius Brands International went outside its organization to appoint Zrinka Dekic as chief financial officer and head of strategy and mergers and acquisitions. She was formerly an executive in the investment management division of Goldman Sachs.