Here’s a novel way for a just-replaced finance chief to look for work: get your former employer to tuck a notice into a press release reporting on your replacement. And make sure there’s a public announcement in the release that you’re looking for opportunities at companies within the same private-equity portfolios of the company you are leaving.
On the face of it, that’s just what Mark Miller, the departing finance chief of Sabre Holdings, a travel technology company, managed to do. In a press release issued by Sabre today announcing the appointment of Rick Simonson as its new CFO, the company stated that Miller “is leaving the company to explore opportunities with other portfolio companies of TPG or Silver Lake, the two private equity firms that own Sabre.”
That would not appear to be too limiting a career strategy. TPG, a $54.5 billion fund, boasts a portfolio consisting of 263 companies, including such household names as Burger King, Caesar’s Entertainment, and Del Monte Foods. Silver Lake, a $14 billion technology-investing fund, owns about 35 companies, including, Groupon, Zynga, and Go Daddy.
Having worked for the company for 18 years, including 4 as finance chief, Miller seems to have had some pull with Sam Gilliland, Sabre’s chairman and CEO, who in turn put in a good word for him from the owners. “I’m hugely appreciative — and I know I speak for TPG and Silver Lake as well — of the tremendous leadership Mark has provided for our finance organization over his nearly four years as CFO, and during the 18 years he has been with Sabre. We wish him the best,” said Gilliland.
For his part, Simonson comes to Sabre after a stint as CFO and president of business operations at Rearden Commerce, a provider of e-commerce aps. Before that, he spent nearly a decade in various roles at Nokia in Helsinki, Zurich, and New York, including CFO, a slot he held for more than five years. He was also with Barclays Capital and Bank of America Securities serving the telecom, media, and technology industries.
Sabre is a big software-as-a-service provider to the aviation industry, and its reservations system is used by Aeroflot, AeroMexico, Etihad Airways, JetBlue, LAN, Virgin America, and Virgin Australia.