200544408-001When the editors of CFO began the process of selecting 20 finance chiefs to watch in the year ahead, the initial sentiment was: why so few? After all, hardly a week goes by when a CFO isn’t making news because of a financial or operational or strategic initiative. Our email boxes overflow with missives from public relations officers who want to draw attention to noteworthy activities involving their companies’ top financial executives.

But we had to draw the line somewhere. In choosing the 20 CFOs to watch on the following pages, we are not claiming they are the best CFOs—although many would surely rank near the top of such a list. Instead, we have selected finance chiefs who face formidable challenges in the months ahead, whether integrating a landmark technology acquisition or splitting a tech giant into two, grooming a startup company for bigger things or adapting established businesses to changing times, or simply making their debuts as CFOs in high-stakes situations.

Of course, lists like these are inevitably subjective, and no doubt readers could come up with an entirely different, and equally compelling, set of CFOs to watch. The profiles on the following pages were chosen and written by Vincent Ryan, editor-in-chief of CFO.com; David M. Katz, deputy editor of CFO; David McCann, deputy editor of CFO; and Edward Teach, editor-in-chief of CFO magazine.

 

DAVID DENTON
EVP & CFO, CVS Health
Prescription for Success?  David Denton has helped drive consistent if not spectacular earnings at CVS Health, and Wall Street has been acquiescent. But that may change if investors get nervous about the health care giant’s weak retail performance, and if two big acquisitions don’t boost earnings in 2016.

Indeed, Denton, who has been CFO since 2010, will be in the hot seat for the rest of this year and next, as he has to close and start integrating the acquisitions once they get the government’s nod: the $12.9 billion purchase of Omnicare, a provider of pharmacy services to long-term care facilities, and the $1.9 billion deal to rebrand and operate Target’s in-store pharmacies. Analysts have questioned the rich EBITDA multiple that CVS paid for Omnicare, while the Target acquisition is a little puzzling, given that CVS’ existing retail drugstore business (outside of filling prescriptions) is struggling. In addition, only about 5% of Target’s customers utilize pharmacy services.

CFO David DentonOn the positive side, CVS pharmacy same-store sales rose 4.1% in the second quarter. “Pharmacy operations are critical to CVS’s success, in our view, accounting for over 70% of retail store sales in 2014,” said S&P Capital IQ in a recent note. The company’s pharmacy benefit management unit produced a 7.1% year-over-year increase in operating profit, but Denton doesn’t expect that performance is sustainable. “There continues to be [drug] reimbursement pressure in the marketplace,” he said during CVS’s second-quarter earnings call. “We don’t see that abating. … Revenue is going to grow faster than operating profit, implying margin compression.”

At this point, though, CVS is producing robust free cash flow—$523 million in the second quarter, up 32.7%. A good chunk of it is going to shareholders: Denton says the company will repurchase $5 billion in shares this year and will continue near that level through 2018.

Smartly, though, the CFO shaved $1 billion off share repurchase guidance for 2015, because CVS highly leveraged its acquisitions: Denton said he hopes to whittle down CVS’ adjusted-debt-to-EBITDA to a target of 2.7x from 3.2x “in a reasonable amount of time.”

Still, CFO of a huge pharmacy company is not a bad position to be in. S&P Capital IQ expects prescription volumes will rise significantly in 2015 as about 25 million people are expected to eventually gain health care coverage due to the Affordable Care Act. And in the long term, says S&P, store “traffic will also be aided as an aging U.S. baby boomer generation, with nearly 10,000 people turning 65 years old every day, results in increased demand for retailers’ prescription drug offerings.” —Vincent Ryan

 

ANTHONY NOTO
CFO, Twitter
All Atwitter Over Nothing  Of the three former bankers on our list of CFOs to watch, Anthony Noto has the least enviable job. Beleaguered social media firm Twitter, which he joined a year ago, needs a product and marketing overhaul. To make matters worse, the company will see a new CEO come through the door this year, unless interim chief Jack Dorsey takes the full-time job. And Twitter’s share price is less than half its peak since shares started trading in November 2013, when Noto took the company public as a banker at Goldman Sachs.

By Noto’s own admission, Twitter has failed to get the masses to understand why or how to use Twitter, resulting in less than 30% penetration of the social media market. “This is both a product and marketing issue,” the former Kraft brand manager said on Twitter’s second-quarter earnings call. The revelation of sluggish user growth caused the stock to fall more than 14% the next day. Not the CFO’s problem, right?

Wrong. Noto was handed the reins of the company’s marketing efforts (with much publicity) last year. Somehow the CFO must, in his own words, “elevate the importance of marketing” at Twitter and help the company’s service “cross the chasm” to the mass audience. To start, Noto says, the company has identified eight growth markets and has calculated the lifetime value of those prospects.

Despite his Wall Street pedigree, the tougher selling job for Noto may be institutional investors. Financially, Twitter is relatively healthy. Revenues increased 63% in the second quarter, with international revenues jumping 78%. But the word “profitability” doesn’t even come up. Twitter posted an operating loss of $131 million in the second quarter, with costs and expenses up 37% year-over-year. Fortunately, the company has $3.6 billion in cash on its balance sheet, in part thanks to a $1.5 billion convertible debt offering Noto orchestrated early on.

Another alarming number for Noto and investors is Twitter’s share-based compensation as a percentage of revenue, which hit 35% in the second quarter. Diluted shares have risen 10% year-over-year, meaning shareholders’ piece of the company is shrinking at the same time as the stock price, currently around $29. (Fortunately, the convertible debt strike price is $77.64, a world away.)

When Noto first joined Twitter, he mistakenly sent a public tweet about acquiring another company. Nowadays, he sticks to Army football, women’s lacrosse, and his kids. Noto has learned how and when to use Twitter, but can he get the rest of the globe to join him? —V. R.

 

JEFFREY DAVIS
SVP & CFO, Darden Restaurants
Table Stakes  For a divisional finance leader at a public company, it’s a long stride to the top CFO slot—no matter how big the division happens to be.

Suddenly, you are the financial point person for the analyst and institutional investor communities, the ultimate arbiter of capital allocation, the one who has to sign off on financial statements at great personal risk. Plus, the whole world now knows exactly how much money you make, which is even less appealing these days than it used to be.

Jeffrey Davis_Darden RestaurantsThrough June of this year Jeffrey Davis had spent more than nine years at Walmart, the last year and a half as CFO of the company’s U.S. stores division. It’s a division on steroids: were it to be separated from its parent, the world’s largest company, it would still be the second-biggest company based in the United States, with revenue of $288 billion in its most recent fiscal year.

Davis did not, in fact, elevate to companywide CFO after a meteoric career at Walmart. Instead, he’s the new finance chief at Darden Restaurants, a company that finds itself at a pivotal moment in time.

On the one hand, Darden’s sales for its 2015 fiscal year, which ended May 31, increased by 7.6% over the previous year, to $6.8 billion, even though the sale of the company’s Red Lobster chain was completed just two months into the year. Net earnings swelled by almost 150%, reaching $286 million, through an emphasis on “everyday value, reduction in deep discounting, greater take-out and alcoholic beverage sales, corporate expense cuts (including a streamlined management structure for Olive Garden and LongHorn), food procurement/waste reductions, and labor/facilities/advertising cost optimization,” Morningstar analyst R.J. Hottovy wrote in a June 26 research report.

Hottovy called it “the early stages of what could be one of the [restaurant] industry’s more notable turnaround stories in recent memory.”

On the other hand, developing trends in the casual dining segment, especially the surge of fast casual chains like Chipotle Mexican Grill and Panera Bread, bode ominously for Darden over the next few years. “This shift will effectively neutralize Darden’s brand intangible asset advantages, bargaining power with suppliers, and marketing and other operating expense economies of scale,” wrote Hottovy.

Meanwhile, it’s hard to predict how anyone will fare in Darden’s fast-changing culture. Last October, shareholders ousted the company’s entire board of directors by electing the 12 nominees of activist investor Starboard Value. In February the new board hired a new CEO, Gene Lee, who has been making wholesale changes to company operations.

At the least, Davis won’t be bored. —David McCann

 

CATHERINE LESJAK
CFO & EVP, Hewlett-Packard
Two Companies Diverge  Seven months after breaking the news of plans to split the technology giant in two, higher-ups at Hewlett-Packard changed their minds about the future of their CFO, Cathie Lesjak, apparently with her blessing.

In October 2014, HP announced that it would split into two public companies by late 2015. One, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, would focus on providing infrastructure, software, and services to businesses, focusing on such hot areas as the cloud, Big Data, and security. The other, HP Inc., would stick to the company’s traditional bread and butter: PCs and printers.

At the time, there could be little doubt about which of the two would be positioned as the company’s favorite child. Because of the strong cash flow it was primed to generate from the printing business, HP Inc. was deemed to be the “Yield Co.,” recalled HP chief executive Meg Whitman during the company’s second-quarter earnings call. HP Enterprise, on the other hand, was supposed to be “more targeted to growth at a reasonable price.” That Whitman herself was slated to become CEO of HP Enterprise and bring along with her Lesjak, the company’s finance chief since 2007, spoke volumes.

Or seemed to. During the May earnings call, Whitman announced that she had changed her mind, along with Lesjak and Dion Weisler, the designated CEO of HP Inc. Having looked at several candidates for a finance chief for Weisler, the three executives “decided that a better solution is for Cathie to take her experience over to HP Inc.,” Whitman said.

As for the enterprise business, Whitman announced that its CFO would be the current finance chief of HP’s enterprise division, Tim Stonesifer. “Part of the reason we can make this move is that Cathie has done a great job bringing up the next generation of leaders in HP finance,” said Whitman, citing Stonesifer as an example.

On the surface it may seem that Lesjak got the less interesting job, but it may well be the more substantial one. That’s because HP Inc. “could be liable for most of the debt of the parent company,” as Bloomberg reported in July. The news service noted that as of April 30, HP’s current enterprise division had total debt of $1.45 billion, a fraction of HP’s overall debt of $21.06 billion. Though the company hasn’t revealed yet how much debt HP Inc. will eventually shoulder, it’s clear that Lesjak will have plenty of it to manage. —David M. Katz

 

CHRIS LIDDELL
CFO, WME/IMG
Talent Show  For CFO watchers, it’s a tantalizing question: Why did Chris Liddell agree to lead finance at WME/IMG?

The former finance chief of both Microsoft and General Motors had told CFO a year before joining the firm in July 2014 that he wasn’t interested in “going back and doing the same thing again.” He wanted new challenges beyond finance, he said. And, according to published reports, he told many other people the same thing.

To be sure, the entertainment field—WME/IMG was formed through the acquisition of IMG Worldwide, the iconic marketing and athlete representation firm, by William Morris Endeavor Entertainment, a leading Hollywood talent agency—might qualify as a new challenge for the longtime industrial executive. But did Liddell have another motive?

He’s not saying. In fact, judging from Internet searches, Liddell appears not to have given any interviews at all since coming aboard with his new employer.

Now, one could imagine that someone tired of being a CFO might take the role as a stepping stone to becoming chief executive. But could that possibly be the case here? After all, Liddell is basically still an outsider in an industry famously dominated by veteran insiders like Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell, the co-CEOs of WME/IMG.

A March 2015 article in Vanity Fair suggested that taking over the firm’s management was precisely Liddell’s motive, but it should be regarded skeptically, as the claim was attributed to an unidentified former IMG insider. Still, the stated rationale is intriguing.

Banks that financed WME’s $2.4 billion acquisition of IMG did so based in part on the promise of achieving $448 million in cash flow in 2014, or 88% more than the two companies had recorded the year earlier, according to the article. In order to hit the target, Vanity Fair said, Emanuel and Whitesell proposed to find a similarly unrealistic $156 million of cost cuts.

The unidentified source was quoted as saying that Liddell was “not there to be CFO. He’s there for a year from now, when Ari and Patrick can’t come anywhere close to their numbers.”

Meanwhile, the company is carrying $2.4 billion in debt, according to published reports. There are no material maturities until 2021, and it can handle its $95 million in annual interest payments. But with a reported enterprise value of less than half the debt, it’s questionable whether it can gain the financial muscle to pay it off. Vanity Fair suggested that going public may be the only way out. If that happens, might Liddell’s vast experience at publicly held companies position him to move up? —D.M.

 

MICHAEL CAVANAGH
Senior EVP & CFO, Comcast
Program Changes  What a difference a year makes. At the beginning of 2014, Michael Cavanagh was co-head of investment banking at JPMorgan Chase, having previously spent six years as CFO, and was widely regarded as the heir apparent to CEO Jamie Dimon. But in a move that stunned Wall Street, Cavanagh resigned in March 2014 to become co-president and co-COO of The Carlyle Group, the private equity firm.

Cavanagh and Braunstein of JPMorgan Chase are sworn in at the Senate Homeland Security Investigations Subcommittee in Washington in this file photoThen, in May of this year, Cavanagh stunned the Street again. He left Carlyle to become CFO of Comcast, succeeding Michael Angelakis, who had stepped down to run a new venture capital firm for the cable giant. While some wondered why Comcast plucked its new finance chief from financial services rather than media, the choice made sense in light of the company’s decision in April to back away from acquiring Time Warner Cable in a $45 billion transaction.

The collapse of the megadeal, which was over a year in the making, has put pressure on Comcast to find new ways to grow. With a debt ratio of two times annual earnings, the company is already regarded as underleveraged—meaning that the new CFO has to find cheap ways to raise capital to boost returns and fund growth. And there’s a case to be made that Cavanagh’s banking experience and connections make him the right person for that job.

“An area of focus for a lot of investors has been [Comcast’s] underlevered balance sheet. And I think that area of focus can be something that [Cavanagh] can address, particularly as he becomes more seasoned with the company,” says Amy Yong, an equity-research analyst at Macquarie Bank.

Speaking at his first Comcast earnings call on July 23, Cavanagh said his priorities as finance chief “are to make sure our businesses are being fed the capital they need for strong and profitable growth[,] to make sure that we have strategic flexibility from a financial perspective, and to prudently maximize our return of cash to shareholders.” Achieving those goals is likely to keep Cavanagh busy at the company, at least for a while. —D.M.K.

 

JASON CHILD
CFO, Jawbone
Fit to Grow  In his LinkedIn profile, Jason Child identifies himself as “a specialist in working for disruptive companies.”

To define what he means by that, he recalls what Amazon was like in the early years of his 11-year stint in various senior finance roles there. Back in 2001, the conventional wisdom said that the company was doomed because “you would never buy a TV or shoes or clothes you couldn’t touch first,” Child says. “The company was disruptive in changing conventional wisdom.”

Jason Child_JawboneIn December 2010 Child became CFO of Groupon, the online consumer-discount marketplace he regards as similarly innovative. His tenure at the company saw him build a global finance team from scratch and lead a nearly $1 billion initial public offering—but also saw a revenue restatement and skepticism about the company’s use of non-GAAP accounting.

In July, Child joined Jawbone, a participant in the booming market for fitness trackers. Jawbone too is disruptive, he believes, because its wearable devices enable people to track such things as their sleep patterns and their overall fitness, and that “is really going to change the way people live.”

However, he adds, “that kind of disruption is really going to require capital, taking risks, and making some bold bets as we try to predict how the world is changing.” Jawbone’s recently reported $300 billion loan from BlackRock, the big asset manager, provides a head start in that direction.

Ironically, the surge in demand for fitness trackers was the issue most worrying Child in his first few weeks on the job. “The [question] that keeps me up at night most [is] how do we capitalize on the opportunity that’s out there?” —D.M.K.

 

KEVIN OZAN
EVP & CFO, McDonald’s
A Lot on His Plate  Kevin Ozan may be an “unknown quantity,” as one analyst puts it, but one thing that is known is where he’ll be in 2016: in the hot seat.

Ozan, elevated last January to CFO at McDonald’s, where he had been controller, is running finance at a company with weakening sales in a market where key competitors are faring much better. “McDonald’s is at a pivotal moment,” says Sara Senatore, an analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein. “It’s dealing with declining inflows, so the CFO’s job is to figure out how to allocate fewer dollars to the same number of buckets. Or reduce the number of buckets.”

Not only is McDonald’s trailing much of the fast-food field in both top-line and bottom-line trends, its finance operations are significantly more complex than those of competitors like Burger King, whose restaurants are virtually 100% franchised. McDonald’s, by comparison, is about 81% franchised. That may seem like a high figure, but as the company has about 36,000 restaurants, there are some 7,000 for which Ozan has to make capital-allocation decisions.

Ozan_Kevin_2015_095_5x7.jpgBy comparison, CFOs at 100%-franchised competitors don’t spend much capital and “don’t really have much to do other than try to time interest rates to figure how to best refinance debt,” says Senatore.

Another example of greater complexity for Ozan is that McDonald’s, unlike many industry peers, is a real estate company. It owns properties (restaurant buildings and the land they sit on) and leases them to a franchisee or serves as a master lessee that subleases to franchise operators. Franchisees of its competitors generally own their properties or rent from owners other than the franchisor.

McDonald’s is also adamant that it will remain an investment-grade company, while its highly levered, more-franchised competitors don’t much care about that, Senatore says.

Even aside from such built-in complexities, Ozan will have a lot on his plate. The company is trying to convert 3,500 more restaurants to franchises, execute $300 million in cost cuts, decide whether to transfer its real estate to a REIT, return at least $8 billion to shareholders this year (which may require new leverage or real estate sales), and recast its global management structure.

It’s tempting to blame the company’s woes on the public’s taste for healthier food, but the fact is that Burger King, Jack in the Box, Sonic, and Taco Bell, none of which serves much healthy food, have been scoring impressing same-store sales. McDonald’s hasn’t. Can Ozan, now in a strategic role, come up with some new ideas? —D.M.

 

RUTH PORAT
CFO & SVP, Google
P Is for Porat  After three months on the job at Google, Ruth Porat has already demonstrated why she is a CFO to watch.

Coming to the search giant in May from Morgan Stanley, where she had been finance chief since 2010. Porat brought nearly 30 years of Wall Street experience and a reputation for financial discipline to a company “that has been perceived at times to be indifferent to investors and Wall Street,” says Mark Mahaney, Internet analyst at RBC Capital Markets. Shareholders have chafed at Google’s preoccupation with “moon shots,” such as self-driving cars and smart contact lenses, while the company missed analysts’ forecasts for six straight quarters.

The latter streak ended on July 16, when the company revealed that profits in the second quarter had surpassed expectations. Not that Porat, new to the job, could take much credit; expense growth had already started to slow in the first quarter, and Mahaney calls the expanded margins “a parting gift” from her predecessor. Still, in her first earnings call for Google, Porat affirmed her commitment to controlling costs.

“A key focus is on the levers within our control to manage the pace of expenses while still ensuring and supporting our growth,” she said. Porat also hinted that the company might return some of its $70 billion cash hoard to shareholders. Investors were obviously pleased by her performance and the company’s: the next day Google’s stock soared 16%, adding $65.1 billion in market cap.

A month later, Google dropped a bombshell. In an August 10 blog post called “G is for Google,” CEO Larry Page announced that the company would reorganize itself into a publicly traded holding company called Alphabet, with the core, moneymaking search and advertising business becoming the Google subsidiary, separate from the noncore businesses and moon shots. Some see Porat’s hand in the reorganization, which will make Google’s business more transparent to investors, but Page has long voiced his admiration of Warren Buffett’s similarly structured conglomerate, Berkshire Hathaway. In any case, Porat will become CFO of Alphabet while remaining finance chief of Google.

Mahaney notes that another reason why Porat is a good fit for Google is her years of experience running the technology banking practice at Morgan Stanley, prior to becoming CFO. At technology companies like Google, “the key to being a successful CFO is less about managing expenses and more about managing investments,” he says. “I think she has that basic understanding, having been a tech banker.”

Consumer Internet companies create shareholder value through constant investment and innovation, Mahaney points out. Given Google’s size and its position as the leading Internet platform, it should be “constantly making investments in opportunities and platform changes that are 3, 5, or 10 years in duration.” He says it would be a “huge mistake” for a Google CFO to limit such investments, and he doesn’t think Porat will make that error. —Edward Teach

 

KAREN HOGUET
EVP & CFO, Macy’s
Raining on the Parade  Karen Hoguet has enjoyed a successful 18-year run as CFO of Macy’s, earning the Wall Street Journal’s nod as the top finance chief in the S&P 500 in 2014. But her job isn’t getting any easier, as the department store chain faces a rocky road ahead.

Start with sluggish sales. In August, Macy’s reported lower-than-expected results for the second quarter, as sales fell 2.6% from the same period in 2014. Hoguet attributed the decline in part to weak demand in the economy and a slowdown in tourist spending, due to the strong dollar. For the full year, Macy’s revised its guidance from 1% total sales growth to a 1% decline.

Karen Hoguet_Macy'sMacy’s stock plummeted 5.3% on the news. But there was also reason for cheer, as Macy’s announced that it would start selling online in China later in the year, via Alibaba Group’s Tmall Global marketplace.

Like other retailers, Macy’s is adopting an omnichannel strategy, integrating its online store with physical stores to provide a seamless shopping experience and fast delivery. But a related restructuring of its merchandising and marketing functions has proved harder than anticipated. “We are confident that we made the right changes,” Hoguet said in May. “But there is clearly a learning curve, and it is steeper than we had expected.”

Then there’s the matter of real estate. In July, activist hedge fund manager Jeff Smith of Starboard Value called on the retailer to unlock the value of its real estate holdings, which he valued at $21 billion. Spinning off the stores could boost the value of Macy’s stock by 70%, Smith argued.

It wasn’t the first time Wall Street had pressed Macy’s on the subject. In May, Hoguet told analysts that while Macy’s was studying opportunities to monetize some of its stores, the issue was “far more complicated than what most people think.” In August, however, Hoguet said the company was again pondering ways to realize the value in its portfolio. “Our strategy has been to maintain a mix of both owned and leased stores, and this approach has worked extremely well for us,” she reminded analysts.

“It’s better for Macy’s to control their real estate so they’re not dependent on a landlord’s whim over time,” contends Efraim Levy, an analyst at S&P Capital IQ Equity Research. “If they want to monetize an underperforming asset, they can do it when they want.” Will Hoguet stick to the tried-and-true strategy? Stay tuned. —E.T.


10 More CFOs to Watch

Turnarounds, acquisitions, possible IPOs, and more are on their agendas.

Christine McCarthy_Disney_v2Christine McCarthy
SVP and CFO, Walt Disney
The entertainment conglomerate made history in June when it named McCarthy its first-ever woman finance chief. The role should come naturally to her. As Disney’s treasurer for 15 years, McCarthy built a team that handled corporate finance, capital markets, and financial risk. One challenge: what to do if the profits of company gold mine ESPN continue to flag.

Jeffrey Boyer
EVP & CFO, Pier 1 Imports
The beleaguered home decor supplier faces the challenge most brick-and-mortar retailers face: adjusting to an online world. While Pier 1 is making progress—its e-commerce sales have recently been the primary driver of sales growth—Boyer’s hiring disappointed some in that regard. Will the lack of a technology background foil the efforts of the new CFO, a veteran of Kmart, to help transform the company?

Anthony Maslowski_AvagoAnthony Maslowski
SVP & CFO, Avago Technologies
Less than two years into his tenure as CFO, Maslowski has been handed a major task: steer the Singapore-based chip company through the $37 billion takeover of Broadcom, a deal that adds $15 billion in debt. Maslowski needs to achieve $750 million in annual cost-cutting synergies once the deal closes (expected in 2016). More important, he and the rest of the executive suite need to keep Apple buying Broadcom’s communications chips for its iPhones.

Victoria Harker
CFO, Tegna
Having completed the spin-off of Gannett’s newspaper business in June, Harker now has the challenge of helping the new, publicly traded broadcast (46 television stations) and digital (CareerBuilder.com, Cars.com) company pursue strategic acquisitions and meet lofty financial expectations. (The company’s name comes from the letters in “Gannett,” in case you’re wondering.)

Laurence Tosi
CFO, Airbnb
Yet another executive trading Wall Street for Silicon Valley, Laurence Tosi left The Blackstone Group in July to take the CFO reins at Airbnb, which had just finalized $1.5 billion in new funding and achieved a $25.5 billion valuation. Can Tosi help the home-rental company maximize its financial potential?

Brian Olsavsky
SVP & CFO, Amazon
Wall Street was grumbling about Amazon a year ago, as the Internet retailer racked up a $544 million loss in the third quarter. When would it start delivering some positive news? Answer: the next three quarters, especially Q2 2015, when Amazon beat both bottom- and top-line forecasts, with earnings of 19¢ a share. Olsavsky, who became CFO in June, inherits the ongoing task of explaining the big swings in Amazon’s profitability.

Ed Record_J.C. PenneyEdward Record
EVP & CFO, J.C. Penney
A year and a half into his tenure as finance chief at J.C. Penney, Ed Record got a new boss in August—Marvin Ellison, the struggling retailer’s third CEO in four years. It might not be a surprise if Ellison were to bring in his own CFO, but if Record remains, he, like Ellison, will be under pressure to attract younger shoppers and turn the ship around.

Paul Donofrio
CFO, Bank of America
The regulatory part of the finance function took center stage in July when CEO Brian Moynihan picked company veteran Donofrio to replace Bruce Thompson as CFO. Thompson had helped lead BoA’s failed quest for blemish-free passage of Fed stress tests. Intriguingly, Donofrio wasn’t named a leader of its new compliance team. Can the bank ace the tests without significant CFO leadership?

Vanessa Wittman_DropBoxVanessa Wittman
CFO, Dropbox
Expectations of an IPO rose when the cloud storage firm hired Wittman as its new finance chief in February. Previously CFO of Google’s Motorola unit and Marsh & McLennan, Wittman brings plenty of public-company experience to Dropbox, which says it has more than 400 million registered users. When will the company pull the trigger?

Marianne Lake
CFO, JPMorgan Chase
“Talking to [her], you can see her brain is always working a million miles an hour,” says one recruiter of Lake. The U.K. native, who holds a degree in physics, was previously CFO of the bank’s consumer and community banking unit and was brought in following the London Whale trading debacle. CEO Jamie Dimon has put her at the helm of earnings calls, but Lake, described as “a huge driver of change with incredible energy,” could achieve a lot more.

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