Movin’ On Up
Xerox Corp. sorted out its succession picture when it named Rick Thoman to the chief executive post. The former president and COO takes over for Paul Allaire, who will remain chairman for a year. Before joining the Stamford, Conn., document company, Thoman was CFO of IBM Corp.
Cadence Design Systems will be marching to the beat of a different drum. CFO Ray Bingham replaced Jack Harding as CEO after the San Jose-based manufacturer of microchip-design software announced less than stellar results. William Porter, corporate controller, was named acting CFO.
John R. Alm is having a Coke and a smile. The CFO of Coca-Cola Enterprises Inc. was named co-COO of the bottling company, along with Norman P. Findley, president of the company’s European division. The move sets the stage for a two-way race to succeed Henry A. Schimberg, who is expected to retire as CEO in a year.
Rolling Right Along
C.J. “Corky” Nelson will keep on trucking as the new CFO of Ryder System Inc. The former president of Koch Capital Services Inc. succeeds Edwin Huston, who was promoted to vice chairman of the Miami-based truck-leasing and logistics concern.
Robert D. Womack is taking the wheel at Houston-based Coach USA Inc. He was recently appointed CFO of the motor-coach and shuttle-service company. The former CFO of Pacific Consumer Funding LCC replaces Larry King, who will continue as chairman and CEO.
It’s a banner day for Stephen Collins. He was named CFO of Internet advertising company DoubleClick Inc. The former controller succeeds Jeff Epstein, who was promoted to EVP of business development at the New York-based company.
Walter Skowronski will be flying wing at Boeing Co. The former treasurer of Lockheed Martin Corp. moved into the role of VP, finance, and treasurer of the Seattle-based jet giant. He’ll report to Debby Hopkins, who recently took over as CFO (see “Fearless in Seattle,” April).
In order to remain on the cutting edge, The Sharper Image promoted former CFO Tracy Wan to president and COO. Jeffrey Forgan, formerly of Foundation Health Systems Inc. and Deloitte & Touche LLP, was selected to replace Wan as CFO of the San Francisco- based specialty retailer.
The CFO community mourns the loss of Harry Kavetas. The CFO of Eastman Kodak Co. died in May. He is credited with making sweeping changes at the Rochester company and helping Kodak dig out from under a massive debt load. Jesse Greene Jr. was named acting CFO, while a search for a successor is conducted.
In the National Football League, a team looking to institute a concept known as the West Coast Offense often hires a coach from the San Francisco 49ers, where the high-powered attack was developed. In Corporate America, companies looking to gain an edge hire finance executives who worked for The Walt Disney Co. Call it West Coast Finance.
The list of Disney alum who have gone on to big things is becoming a who’s who of finance. Onetime Disney CFO Stephen Bollenbach went on to become CEO of Hilton Hotels Corp. Gary Wilson, who also served as CFO of the Burbank Calif.-based media empire, is now chairman of Northwest Airlines Corp. Scott Little, another Disney finance executive, now serves as CFO of the Hard Rock Cafe. And Ted Philip, CFO and COO of Lycos Inc., also studied at the school of Disney (see “New @ttitude,” June).
“There certainly was a strong finance culture at Disney,” says SteveSchoch, CFO of Internet start-up Etoys, and a former Disney finance executive. “The signature was innovation,” says Schoch.
What makes Disney finance executives so desirable? “It’s a great training ground because you’re exposed to so many different experiences,” says John Simonelli, former VP, corporate finance, at Disney, who left in May to join PeopleMover Inc., a Manhattan Beach, Calif., workforce management software developer.
One of the most influential architects of West Coast Finance was former Disney CFO Richard Nanula. “He was the leader of the pack,” says Schoch. Nanula recently stepped down as president and COO of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc.