Symbol CFO Departs amid Poor Forecasts

''Two weeks ago we gave guidance and now we have to revise it. That's just not acceptable,'' says the executive now stepping into the top finance j...
Stephen TaubJuly 15, 2005

Fresh off a high-profile accounting scandal, bar-code company Symbol Technologies Inc. announced that chief financial officer Mark Greenquist has resigned “to pursue other career interests.”

In a conference call Thursday, chief executive officer William Nuti insisted that Greenquist, who had served as finance chief since 2003, “is not being fired from the company,” reported Newsday. However, the company implicitly linked the departure with a simultaneous announcement that the company is revising downward its second-quarter revenue projections.

Senior vice president and chief administrative and control officer Sal Iannuzzi, who will take on the additional role of CFO, said in a statement, “Symbol has made major strides in improving our financial controls, but much work remains in areas such as forecasting.” And according to the newspaper, in the conference call on Thursday, Iannuzzi said: “Two weeks ago we gave guidance and now we have to revise it. That’s just not acceptable.”

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Iannuzzi, who is also a member of Symbol’s board, will have direct responsibility for the company’s global finance and accounting functions, the company stated in a press release. During the conference call, Nuti said that he will take over forecasting duties personally, with direct assistance from Iannuzzi, reported the paper.

Part of the problems with forecasting at Symbol, Iannuzzi reportedly acknowledged, stems from a number of “necessary” but “draconian” measures and controls implemented after the discovery of widespread accounting fraud at Symbol, according to the paper. “What we’re seeing is that some of these procedures are extremely difficult to deal with,” Iannuzzi stated, according to Newsday. “It’s one of the principal reasons we’re having such a difficult time giving you a forecast that works.”

The newspaper noted the Greenquist, the departing CFO, took over for Kenneth Jaeggi, who resigned in December 2003 and was indicted on securities fraud and conspiracy charges in June 2004. He has pleaded not guilty and is awaiting trial, Newsday added.

Iannuzzi has held a number of positions in audit, finance, and corporate administration, according to Symbol. After six years as an auditor and supervisor at KPMG and two years as deputy general auditor at Bear Stearns, Iannuzzi joined Banker’s Trust, where he held a variety of senior leadership positions during a 20-year career, including senior control officer for the corporation. In 2001, he joined CIBC, where he served for four years as chief administration officer.