From the October 2005 issue of Treasury & Risk magazine

40 Under 40

Treasury & Risk and Citigroup present the 2005 list of the nation's up-and-coming young finance executives.

Where do finance leaders come from? That's a reasonable question, but a look at the resumes of the promising younger executives on the 2005 Treasury & Risk Management/Citigroup 40 Under 40 list shows that they took many different routes to reach their current positions. The executives, all 39 or younger, have undergraduate degrees ranging from business administration, finance and accounting to chemistry, history and international relations. Some have graduate degrees, others don't. Some went straight into finance jobs at corporations, others started as accountants, in banking or as Wall Street analysts. Some spent time in operations, others have worked in finance throughout their careers.

The aspect that the Under 40 executives all share, and that sets them apart, is the projects they have undertaken and improvements they have put in place at their companies. A second common element is their enthusiasm for their work. As corporations scramble to stay abreast of a changing world, it is executives like these who will keep them competitive.

Adelphia Communications Corp.
Vanessa Wittman, 38
Executive vice president and CFO

Vanessa Wittman, the 38-year-old executive vice president and CFO of troubled Adelphia Communications Corp., says that after two experiences dealing with messy corporate bankruptcies, she might better be called Chief Garbage Lady.

Wittman actually caught the eye of the team that took over corruption-plagued Adelphia because of her earlier work bringing the telecommunication service provider 360networks Corp. through a bankruptcy. "That bankruptcy had caught me by surprise," she recalls. "I had joined the company to ride it into the future. Instead the whole industry got hit, and I ended up having to take it into bankruptcy and back out again."

Her experience at Seattle-based 360networks is what interested Adelphia's new chairman, William Schleyer, who assumed the daunting task of rebuilding Adelphia after that company's collapse in 2002. "My experience at 360networks helped me know what to do for the first few months at Adelphia," she says, "but after that it was all new. The depth and breadth of the problems at Adelphia were unprecedented. There is $9 billion in bonds and $6.8 billion in secured bank debt, as well as an equity committee and seven ad hoc committees." She pauses and adds, with a sigh, "... and more professionals involved in this case than in any other bankruptcy."

Asked how she has managed the financial demands of what she calls this "multilevel financial whack-a-mole," Wittman says, "What gets me through the day is the amazing team we have here, some of whom I brought over with me from my old job." She adds, "And it helps that the windows of my office don't open so we can't jump out!"

Wittman, who earned an M.B.A. from the University of Virginia, began her career in banking, eventually moving into a finance role at a small company called Metricom Inc. When she was hired as CFO at 360networks in 2000, it was to help prepare the company to go public, which she did in 2001. In short order, however, the bottom fell out of telecom stocks. The company went belly-up, and she had to start majoring in bankruptcy. At Greenwood, Colo.-based Adelphia, because of the rampant fraud that led to the company's bankruptcy, she has had to go back through five years of financials, all the while fending off and dealing with the creditors.

Looking ahead, Wittman says the challenge is allocation of assets. "We're finished with the valuation issues. Now the hand-to-hand combat is over allocation, but we're hoping for a settlement. Meanwhile, we have to get the financials up to date and to be SarbOx compliant."

Just coming out of a 9 1/2-hour deposition in the bankruptcy case, Wittman was asked how she'd react to being invited to serve as CFO of another bankrupt firm. "Because of my record, I clearly get inquiries," she says, "but I'd have to be on pretty serious medication to do another one!"


Archer Daniels Midland Co.
Vikram Luthar, 38
Treasurer and vice president of finance

Hurricane Katrina has created major problems for companies like Archer Daniels Midland that depend on the Mississippi River to transport goods. The Decatur, Ill.-based company has storage facilities in the Louisiana delta that were damaged, and with the river itself full of wreckage and the port in ruins, barge traffic is backed up. But for 38-year-old Vikram Luthar, ADM's treasurer and vice president of finance, there was a more immediate concern: the 500 or so ADM employees in New Orleans who lost homes and might have no money in their pockets. Luthar and his staff went to work immediately devising ways to get cash to those employees--a major problem with phone lines, ATMs, banks and mail services all down. "It makes you feel good to be helping people that directly," he says of the effort.

While not everything he does can be that personal--or that personally satisfying--Luthar says that working at ADM, which hired him 10 months ago, is much more informal than his prior job in treasury at General Motors Corp. "Your interaction with higher management here is much more frequent," he says. "They are more accessible. At GM, treasury isn't even located in corporate headquarters."

But the training that GM treasury provided could not be easily matched anywhere else. Luthar says GM helped him to think globally--good preparation for his job heading up ADM's treasury operation. "The benefit [at GM] is the breadth," he says.

He says his biggest achievement to date has been working on the integration of ADM's treasury into the corporate structure and decision-making--the way the office operates at GM. "In the past, ADM's treasury was more of a standalone unit perceived to be managing cash and capital. My goal, and continuing challenge, has been to provide more treasury support to the whole operation," he says. One example: ADM has one of the largest corporate fleets of trucks, railcars and barges--all very capital-intensive operations. Luthar has demonstrated to ADM management that it can save millions of dollars, in some cases, by switching from owning to leasing such equipment. For him, it is about integrating treasury into the planning process across an organization. "This is how it's done at GM, where treasury is deemed a strategic partner," he says.


Baxter International Inc.
Robert M. Davis, 38
Corporate vice president and treasurer

Davis signed on as treasurer of the $9.5 billion pharmaceutical company in 2004 from Eli Lilly & Co., where his last position was director of corporate financial planning. Since starting at Eli Lilly in 1990, Davis had worked in both tax and treasury, including stints as tax counsel and assistant treasurer.

B.S., finance, Miami University; M.B.A., Northwestern University's Kellogg Graduate School of Management; J.D., Northwestern University School of Law


Cendant Corp.
David Wyshner, 38
Vice chairman and CFO, Travel Content Division

Wyshner was named vice chairman and CFO of Cendant's Travel Content Division, home of such brands as the Avis and Budget car rental operations, this year, after having served as executive vice president for finance, planning and development at the $19.7 billion hotel franchiser since 2001 and as Cendant's treasurer since 2004. Earlier, he worked in investment banking at Merrill Lynch & Co.

B.A., applied mathematics, Yale University; M.B.A., accounting and finance, University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School


The Children's Place Retail Stores Inc.
Hiten Patel, 38
Senior vice president and CFO

Patel signed on as CFO and senior vice president of the rapidly growing chain of children's clothing stores in April 2005 after consulting with the company for six months on projects, including its Disney Store acquisition. He worked at Dell Inc. from 1999 to 2003 in strategic planning, business development and treasury; spent two years as acting corporate controller and director of financial planning at Rickel Home Centers; and worked at Arthur Andersen LLP.

B.A., economics and history, University of California, Berkeley; M.B.A., finance and strategic management, University of Chicago


Cisco Systems Inc.
Roger Biscay, 37
Assistant treasurer and senior director

Biscay joined the $22 billion telecom equipment company as portfolio manager for Cisco Systems Investments Ltd., a subsidiary that managed the company's significant investments. He was named director of global investments in 2001 and promoted to senior director and assistant treasurer in 2002. Earlier, Biscay held trading and sales positions in the foreign exchange, fixed income and equity markets at Lehman Brothers, Paribas Capital Markets and Royal Bank of Canada.

B.S., finance, and M.B.A., University of San Francisco


Dell Inc.
Brian MacDonald, 39
Vice president and treasurer

MacDonald joined the $49.2 billion personal computer company as its treasurer in 2003 after working for 13 years at General Motors Corp., where his final position was deputy CFO for Isuzu Motors Ltd. His other jobs at GM involved responsibility for treasury, restructuring issues, developing strategy, business development, investor relations and employee benefits.

B.S., chemistry, Mt. Allison University; M.B.A., McGill University


D.R. Horton Inc.
Bill Wheat, 39
Executive vice president, CFO and director

After joining the $10.8 billion homebuilder as an accounting manager in 1998, Wheat was promoted to controller and senior vice president in 2002 and named CFO and executive vice president in 2003. He worked at the Bombay Co. from 1991 to 1998 in jobs including assistant controller and merchandising planning manager. Wheat began his career as an auditor at Price Waterhouse.

B.B.A., finance and accounting, Baylor University

Eli Lilly & Co.
Josh Smiley, 36
Executive director, finance and administration, Six Sigma

Deployment champion Josh Smiley, the 36-year-old tasked with managing Eli Lilly's new Six Sigma program worldwide, knew he had a challenging task when he took on the job a year ago. He'd been at the global pharmaceutical firm for 10 years, and he says candidly, "We've had a history at Lilly of having corporate initiatives that didn't go as well as planned."

Besides, right out of the gate, the program had a fair share of detractors. "People associate Six Sigma with GE and with manufacturing, so there were questions about how relevant such a program could be to a research-driven company like this," he says.

To win people over, Smiley says Lilly began with pilot projects across the organization, which meant he had to log a lot of air miles. "We set up a model where we could leverage good managers around the world," he says. "Luckily, we had strong pilots, and we picked good people and projects going in."

Smiley says that the $13.8 billion company's Six Sigma program is bringing major improvements to a sector that is increasingly driven by how cost effectively companies do business and how well they serve their customers. "We intuitively knew what customers wanted, but we were not using metrics to measure exactly what it was and whether we were meeting their needs or exceeding them," he explains. "The lesson from Six Sigma is you need to know exactly what they want. It's about getting down to measurable, quantifiable results for customers, so you can know how you're doing on a daily basis."

In finance, for example, he says Lilly had been spending more time on planning and forecasting than best-in-class performance efforts. A Six Sigma project there has enabled the company to improve performance while taking people out of the process. In the area of audits, he says Six Sigma has allowed the company to eliminate 30% of the workload on staff. "Now what we use that extra time for varies--sometimes you save money, or sometimes you just improve quality," he says.

The challenge ahead for Smiley is staying on top of a rapidly expanding program. "We launched Six Sigma in October 2004," he says. "Now we have 300 projects going on around the world. But we need to be running thousands of these projects, each of which lasts three to four months."

Smiley says his biggest satisfaction with Six Sigma is discovering that the company has been wrong in many of its assumptions. He cites the way the company traditionally viewed the problem of value-added tax (VAT) payments. To avoid the complications of paying such taxes and then trying to recover them, Lilly had been avoiding Europe altogether for some operations. A Six Sigma project showed that other supply chain costs outside Europe were actually greater, so now Lilly is just using European sourcing and dealing with the VAT. "The whole thing has been a broadening experience," says Smiley. "And the better job I do, the less I'm needed."


Fannie Mae
Eric Schuppenhauer, 35
Senior vice president for accounting policy

Eric Schuppenhauer, who assumed the post of senior vice president for accounting policy at troubled Fannie Mae in September, says he has had to do a lot of explaining to his Wall Street friends about why he left his job in accounting policy at Credit Suisse First Boston LLC to move to a quasi-government corporation that is by most accounts in financial shambles. "I know colleagues think I'm a finance geek when I say it, but what attracted me here was this great opportunity," he says.

"Some might call it the Olympics of accounting," he adds with a laugh. And indeed, the 35-year-old Schuppenhauer will have sizable hurdles to clear, including restating nearly $11 billion in net income and getting the huge congressionally chartered home mortgage corporation into compliance with Securities and Exchange Commission regulations.

His first step toward achieving these goals: build a public policy accounting team to do the job. Schuppenhauer says his tenure at CSFB gave him some pointers on where to begin, but he notes that even more important experience for his new post came from his two and a half years in the office of the chief accountant at the SEC, where he worked on such tasks as writing the rules for off-balance-sheet requirements for Sarbanes-Oxley.

Schuppenhauer concedes that working at a quasi-governmental body like Fannie Mae is markedly different from working on Wall Street. "There's a bigger spotlight on the issues here," he says, "but in terms of getting the answers right, I don't think it affects us. The political attention just means we have more people to brief." Still, he adds, "I'm not naive; I know all eyes are upon us."

Schuppenhauer does not have a lot of time to set things right: Congress has set a deadline of a year. But after he completes this initial overhaul, he sees even bigger jobs ahead. "Right now, the work is very tactical, but I'm sure there will be more to do here," he says. "We have a mandate for change--an opportunity to build this into a great corporation."


FedEx Ground Package System Inc.
Heidi Bartholomew, 35
Vice president and controller

Who says accounting can't be fun? Not Heidi Bartholomew, vice president and controller at FedEx Ground. Bartholomew has made it a mission to make her messages on accounting more accessible by adding a little levity. For example, she decided to throw a little Sixties trivia into a presentation at the company's annual GAAP Day--an event devoted to updates on new accounting rules and practices for FedEx's 100-plus CPAs. "I needed to explain the company's new stock option accounting rules," she says, "and that can get pretty dry, even for accountants. So I tucked the names of 18 of the Beatles' top 21 hits into the presentation and told people that anyone who could name the three that were left out would get a prize. People paid attention, spotting titles like 'A Hard Day's Night,'" says Bartholomew, "and catching those that were harder to work into the narrative."

In fact, 35-year-old Bartholomew doesn't sound as if she needs any tricks to stay engaged and excited. Before taking over as controller at FedEx Ground, a unit of FedEx Corp., last July, she was director of financial reporting for the entire $30 billion FedEx, gearing up the company for compliance with Sarbanes-Oxley, including its rigorous Section 404 audits of internal controls. "I had never managed that big of a project before," she says, noting that she oversaw the work of 1,300 people.

Unlike many of her colleagues, Bartholomew isn't complaining about all the new rules and regulations from the Securities and Exchange Commission and other regulators. "It's been a challenge," she admits, "but I think it's a good thing. Our focus is to present absolutely the real story of what is going on in this company. Everyone has been excited about this. It isn't just something you have to do."

Over the past year, in the midst of the work on 404 compliance, Bartholomew says she also oversaw the conversion from an old timekeeping system for payroll to a new swipe-card system that monitors employee schedules. "There's been a lot of automation put in while I was on the controller side," she says.

Before landing at FedEx, Bartholomew was manager of corporate accounting at $2.1 billion Diebold Inc. in Canton, Ohio. While Diebold may not have given her experience managing as large a project as SarbOx compliance, she says her job there helped prepare her for her FedEx role in a different way. "In a smaller company like that, you got to see the whole operation--to do a lot," she explains. "Having that broader understanding of how a treasury and finance operation works really helps you as controller of a much larger company, so it was a great place to start."


Genentech Inc.
David Ebersman, 35

In most U.S. corporations, you don't get ahead by taking a stand counter to senior management. You especially don't get encomiums added to your personnel file by teaming up with other dissenters and pressing your point. For David Ebersman, the 35-year-old CFO of Genentech Inc., that hasn't been the case. Years back, when he was working as a business development analyst at the firm, Ebersman thought that senior management had made a mistake in deciding not to in-license a drug for treatment of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma being developed by a smaller biotech. "A small group of us felt that the product deserved another look," he recalls, "and slowly but surely we worked through the various concerns that existed."

In the end, senior management was persuaded and the drug, Rituxan, was in-licensed by Genentech, and went on to become the top-selling anti-tumor oncology drug in the world. "I learned that sometimes you have to be willing to challenge an existing position or decision when you feel strongly that we might be missing an opportunity," he says.

As a CFO, Ebersman is unusual in other ways too. Besides having worked his way up to that post from business development analyst to senior vice president for product operations, a post he held until earlier this year, he came to Genentech not from a finance background, but from a job as equity analyst at Oppenheimer & Co.

That earlier career as a stock analyst may be helping him today, as he deals with investors who are over the tech infatuation of the Nineties and expect companies to prove themselves on a quarter-over-quarter basis. "We are continually asking ourselves where we want to take the company looking out five to 10 years, and considering what investments we have to make to get there," he says. "The inherent challenge is that we also want to be disciplined in meeting our short-term financial goals, so deciding upon the amount we invest in long-term projects, such as R&D or major new information systems, is always an interesting challenge." Then again, clearly Ebersman isn't a CFO who backs down when he knows something is right.


General Motors Corp.
Laurie Foulds, 35
Regional treasurer, Europe

Foulds joined the $193.5 billion automaker in 1996 to work on growth initiatives and restructuring activities for the company's European manufacturing operations. In 1998, he moved to GM's treasury and in 2001 he was named director of business development, a position in which he led the sale of GM's defense business to General Dynamics Corp. In 2003, Foulds was named regional treasurer for Europe, where he has played a role in the unwinding of GM's relationship with Fiat Auto SpA.

B.Acc., finance and accounting, University of Glasgow


General Motors Corp.
Sachin Mehra, 34
Regional treasurer, Asia Pacific

The automaker appointed Mehra regional treasurer for Asia Pacific in 2004. Since joining GM's New York treasury in 1996, Mehra has worked for the company on three continents, serving as manager of capital planning in New York, manager of corporate finance in Singapore and manager of capital markets risk management in Brussels. He also did a stint at General Motors Acceptance Corp. as director of capital markets.

B.Com., University of Bombay; M.B.A., University of Virginia's Darden Business School

Matthew W. Allen, 29
Director of global treasury

Allen joined the $6.1 billion company, which owns the Home Shopping Network and Ticketmaster, in 2004 as director of global treasury. Earlier, he spent five years in treasury at Microsoft Corp., where he was manager of global cash management. Allen started his career as a treasury analyst at GMAC-RFC, a subsidiary of General Motors Acceptance Corp.

B.S., finance, Arkansas State University

International Paper Co.
David Whitehouse, 38
Director, global corporate finance

Since joining the $25.5 billion forest products company in 2001, Whitehouse has done financings that raised more than $10 billion for the company. Earlier, he was a senior manager of corporate finance at Ernst & Young LLP, worked in mergers and acquisitions at J.P. Morgan & Co. and was a financial analyst in General Electric Co.'s financial management training program.

B.S., finance, Pennsylvania State University; M.B.A., Harvard Business School

Kerr-McGee Corp.
Tina Poos, 35
Corporate vice president and treasurer

After joining the $5.1 billion oil and gas company in 2002 as manager of financial reporting, Poos was named assistant corporate controller in February 2004 and promoted to vice president and treasurer in September 2004. She started her career in 1992 at Coopers & Lybrand, joined Midfirst Bank as assistant controller in 1998 and moved to Foodbrands America Inc. as director of accounting in 2002.

B.S., business administration, Oklahoma State University

Kimberly-Clark Corp.
Jolene Varney, 39
Vice president and treasurer

Varney joined the $15 billion maker of personal care products right out of college as a cost analyst. Since then, she has held operational and finance jobs, ranging from vice president of the European adult sector and vice president of Central and Eastern European operations to director of business analysis for North American feminine and adult care. She was named treasurer and vice president in May 2003.

B.B.A., finance, University of Iowa

Kinder Morgan Inc.
Kimberly Allen, 35

Kimberly Allen, the 35-year-old CFO of gas storage and transport company Kinder Morgan Inc., had no idea she'd be running the finance department of a $9 billion public company when she signed on in 2001 as director of investor relations. "I didn't even see myself in a corporation as a career choice," says the six-year veteran of Goldman Sachs, where she worked in real estate investment. "I always thought of corporations as too slow and bureaucratic."

Life at Kinder Morgan has proved anything but for Allen as she moved quickly from IR director to treasurer in 2004 and then, this past May, to the post of CFO. And while she may not have contemplated a career as a CFO, Allen says her six years doing financing work at Goldman Sachs, and a brief stint working for a Texas venture capital firm, provided a lot of valuable technical experience. Agreeing that her rise in the company has been rapid, Allen notes, "Kinder Morgan is a straightforward, no-politics, fast-growing company, and I've been given an opportunity to grow with it. It's not an opportunity you get at all companies."

Allen, who serves as CFO of both the parent and its operating unit, Kinder Morgan Energy Partners LP, says that for her the big challenge at Kinder Morgan is "staying focused." The company has been on a fast track in recent years: It did $600 million worth of expansion last year and made another $400 million in acquisitions. Currently, it is in the middle of a major $5.6 billion debt/equity acquisition of Terasen Inc. Clearly, this keeps a lot on her plate--not to mention the more mundane tasks of "making sure that we're collecting the cash and allocating our capital efficiently."

Asked how it has been working as a woman in a traditionally male-dominated, hard-hat industry like gas transmission, Allen laughs. "You know, until you mentioned it, that thought hadn't crossed my mind!" she says. "Actually, the controller here and the head of natural gas pipeline operations are both women, too."


Lucent Technologies Inc.
Marc Stapley, 35
Vice president for financial planning and analysis

Marc Stapley, vice president for financial planning and analysis at Lucent Technologies Inc., insists that he likes a challenge. He certainly got one when he moved in 2003 to struggling Lucent from a post as finance director at San Jose, Calif.-based Cadence Design Systems Inc.

With classic British understatement, the 35-year-old Stapley says simply that Lucent--a potential candidate for Chapter 11 during the telecom industry crash--"needed my skill set." The challenge, says the former Coopers & Lybrand forensic accountant: "How do we restructure this company to deal with the downturn we were experiencing and make informed business decisions?"

While Stapley answers to the corporate controller's office, his position--a new one for the company--has him "crossing over a lot of functions." For example, he could find himself doing risk analysis and control on treasury initiatives, or he could be overseeing client support as part of supply chain management.

A major project he has been involved with is the company's so-called "drive for cash" initiative, which is designed to strengthen Lucent's cash position--an ongoing effort that has thus far enjoyed big success. By the fourth quarter of 2004, Lucent had twice as much cash on hand as it did during the fourth quarter of 2001.

Looking forward, Stapley says growth is his big challenge. "I'm a key protagonist in driving that growth," he notes. "For example, we've been working on benchmarking--trying to get our units into best-in-class status. We've had some progress, but it's a long process."

Stapley concedes that because his position overlaps many units and functions within the company, it has the potential for making people in positions of responsibility feel that he is stepping on their toes. So far, he has avoided that--a feat that he attributes in no small measure to his background in accounting. "I think accounting is a great foundation for this kind of position because it involves a lot of relationship building," he says, "although the business savvy is something you have to build up over time."


Merrill Lynch & Co.
Russell Stein, 37

Stein was named treasurer of the $32.4 billion brokerage in 2003 after serving as a managing director in investment banking, where he led the corporate finance work for financial institutions. He was involved in the development of the liquid yield option notes (LYONs) that Merrill issued in 2001 and 2002. Earlier, Stein spent seven years in debt markets, where he was instrumental in some key transactions. He also worked in investment banking at Morgan Stanley.

B.A., international relations, and M.A., international relations, Johns Hopkins University

Merrill Lynch & Co.
Laurence Tosi, 37
CFO of business finance

As CFO of business finance for the big brokerage, Tosi has the CFOs and controllers of the company's businesses reporting to him. He is also head of business development, which gives him responsibility for transactions like acquisitions. Earlier, Tosi was head of business development for Merrill's global markets and investment banking unit and director of business development for General Electric Co.'s CNBC and NBC divisions. Before joining GE, he practiced corporate law.

B.A., government, M.B.A. and J.D., Georgetown University

Microsoft Corp.
Colleen Healey, 34
Senior director of investor relations

Healey was named senior director of investor relations for the $39.7 billion software company in June 2005, a position in which she is responsible for investor affairs, shareholder services and the company's communications with the financial community. She joined Microsoft in 1995 in corporate development and subsequently managed its equity portfolio as a senior director of the treasury group. Before joining Microsoft, Healey worked in investment banking at CS First Boston.

B.B.A., finance, University of Michigan

Microsoft Corp.
Doug Hoch, 37
Director of risk management

You might think it would be difficult at computer software giant Microsoft Corp. to stand out as a computer wiz, but Doug Hoch, the Redmond, Wash.-based company's 37-year-old director of risk management, has managed to do that.

His biggest achievement: moving the company's $40 billion asset risk management operations to a 64-bit computing platform. "Before, we used to have to spend 40 hours doing Monte Carlo simulations to do our value-at-risk calculations," says Hoch. "We wanted to do these every day, but it was just impossible. We realized that with a 64-bit platform, we could do the calculations easily in 12 hours, and at the same time, showcase Microsoft's 64-bit applications to our clients."

With the new system now up and running, Hoch says his new challenge is moving Microsoft towards an integrated risk view, merging financial risk with business risk. "Take 2000, when the stock market fell apart," he says. "You had clear equities risk, but as business models fell apart, companies began to see a connection: If you saw financial risk, you could predict business risk."

Hoch and Microsoft's five-member risk management team are now trying to put the two analyses, typically done separately, together using integrated risk software that Microsoft developed. "We're trying to look at the correlation over time, though at this point the data is very sparse," says Hoch. "This is what enterprise risk management should be. A lot of people talk about it, but outside of finance, I don't think anybody is doing it."

Moving off in new directions is nothing new to Hoch, who began his career studying chemistry. While he was working on his Ph.D., he says a friend who had dropped out and gone into finance suggested he do the same. "I switched to an M.B.A. program and landed an internship at Microsoft in the risk field," he recalls. He has been there ever since, honing "on the job" his management skills. "One thing that has helped me at Microsoft is a lack of fear about trying out new skills," he says.

Northern Trust Corp.
Aileen Blake, 36
Executive vice president and controller

In 2004, Blake signed on as executive vice president and controller of Northern Trust, which has $2.6 trillion of assets and $2.8 billion of 2004 revenues. Earlier, she served as vice president of financial planning and analysis for PepsiCo Beverages & Foods. From 1993 to 2003, she worked in finance at the Quaker Oats Co. Blake began her career as an auditor at Price Waterhouse.

B.S., accounting, Indiana University; M.B.A., Northwestern University's Kellogg Graduate School of Management

Odyssey Re Holdings Corp.
Robert Giammarco, 37
Executive vice president and CFO

Giammarco was hired as CFO of the $2.6 billion reinsurer in March 2005. Before joining Odyssey Re, he was a managing director at Banc of America Securities LLC, where he worked in investment banking and specialized in the insurance industry. He also worked in the insurance investment banking group at Merrill Lynch & Co.

B.B.A., finance, Wilfrid Laurier University

Pitney Bowes Inc.
Debbie Salce, 33
Assistant treasurer

When Salce joined the $4.9 billion maker of postage meters and other mailing equipment in 2001 as director of capital markets, she established a capital markets group and restructured the company's debt and derivatives portfolios. In 2003, she was promoted to assistant treasurer, taking responsibility for the risk management department and becoming involved in key transactions. Earlier, Salce worked in investment banking at Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, Bear Stearns & Co. and Smith Barney Inc.

B.A., economics and political science, University of Connecticut; M.B.A., Columbia University Graduate School of Business

PNC Financial Services Group Inc.
E. William Parsley III, 39
Chief investment officer and treasurer

When the $6.3 billion financial services company hired Parsley in 2003 as its treasurer and chief investment officer, he had more than 15 years of experience in finance. He joined PNC from JPMorgan Chase, where his final position was head of its global derivatives book and co-head of the North American interest rate trading group.

B.S., finance and computer science, Boston College School of Management

Reynolds American Inc.
Michael Desmond, 39
Senior vice president and chief accounting officer

Desmond was hired as chief accounting officer of Reynolds American, the second biggest U.S. tobacco company, in April 2005. He started his career at Arthur Andersen LLP, where he was a partner in audit and business advisory services, and moved to Deloitte & Touche LLP in 2002.

B.S., business administration, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Rockwell Automation Inc.
Timothy Oliver, 36
Vice president and treasurer

Oliver was appointed treasurer and vice president of the $4.4 billion industrial automation company in 2004, after spending three years as vice president of financial planning and investor relations at Raytheon Co. Earlier, he spent five years in finance positions at Honeywell International and worked in municipal finance and bond trading at Bear Stearns & Co.

B.A., economics, Williams College; M.B.A., New York University's Stern School of Business

Sara Lee Corp.
Carrie Teffner, 39
Vice president and treasurer

Teffner was named vice president and treasurer of the $19.2 billion consumer products company in March 2005 after having served as assistant treasurer. Since she joined Sara Lee in 1988, Teffner has served in a number of finance and management positions, including CFO of Champion Jogbra, vice president of administrative transformation and vice president and general manager of Sara Lee Business Services.

B.S., business administration, and M.B.A., University of Vermont

Sequa Corp.
Donna Costello, 32
Vice president and corporate controller

Costello was named vice president and corporate controller for the $1.8 billion manufacturer of jet engine parts, automotive components and specialty chemicals in August 2005. She joined Sequa's Chromalloy Gas Turbine unit in 2002 and most recently served as CFO of that unit's industrial turbine services operation. Earlier, Costello had worked at Arthur Andersen LLP, where she began her career in 1993 and achieved the position of audit manager in 1999.

B.B.A. and M.B.A., finance, Iona College

The Shaw Group Inc.
Dirk Wild, 38
Senior vice president and chief accounting officer

Wild joined the $3 billion energy industry engineering and construction contractor as vice president of special projects in 2001 after 12 years at Arthur Andersen LLP, where his last position was senior manager. Shaw named him senior vice president of financial controls in 2004 and CFO of its engineering construction and maintenance operating division. He was named to the new position of chief accounting officer in November 2004.

B.S., accounting, Louisiana Tech University; M.P.A., University of Texas

SunTrust Banks Inc.
John Wheeler, 37
Senior vice president, financial reporting risk management

As senior vice president of financial reporting risk management at the $7.8 billion bank, Wheeler oversees Sarbanes-Oxley compliance company-wide. Earlier, he spent four years as a group vice president in SunTrust's internal audit services division, directed payroll services for Turner Broadcasting System Inc. and served as director of finance for a medical clinic. Wheeler has also worked as a manager at Ernst & Young LLP and as a senior consultant at Accenture Ltd.

B.B.A., finance, and M.B.A., organization and management, Emory University

Jesse Morris, 35
Assistant controller

Morris was named assistant controller of the $29.3 billion foodservice distributor in 2003 after joining SYSCO in 2002 as senior director of financial reporting and analysis. Earlier, Morris served as a senior director at Enron Broadband Services and worked from 1997 through 2002 at Telscape International Inc., a telecommunications company, where his positions included controller, vice president of finance and finally president of international long distance operations. Morris started his career at Arthur Andersen LLP, where he rose to audit manager.

B.B.A., finance, B.B.A., accounting, and M.P.A., University of Texas at Austin

Time Warner Cable Inc.
John Martin, 38
Executive vice president and CFO

Martin was appointed CFO of the $8.4 billion cable company in August after serving as senior vice president of investor relations at its parent, Time Warner Inc. In that job, he was the company's primary contact with the investment community. Martin had worked for Time Warner for almost 12 years in positions including director in the office of the president and director of finance special products. He took a break from Time Warner from 2000 through 2002 to serve as a director in equity research at ABN Amro Securities LLC. Before joining Time Warner in 1993 as its manager of SEC financial reporting, Martin worked at Ernst & Young LLP in New York.

B.S., economics, University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business; M.B.A., financial and organizational behavior, Columbia University Graduate School of Business

UAL Corp.
Kathryn Mikells, 39
Vice president and treasurer

Before she was named treasurer of the troubled $16.3 billion airline in January 2005, Mikells served as its vice president of corporate real estate. As treasurer, she is responsible for optimizing the company's capital structure, all capital markets financing, hedging, insurance and tax. Mikells started at United as a financial analyst in 1994 and since then has held positions including director of corporate planning, CFO for Mileage Plus, director of financial analysis and manager of operating budgets. Before joining United, she spent six years in the financial services sector, at GE Capital Corp., Household International and Canadian Imperial Bank.

B.S., finance, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; M.B.A., University of Chicago

WellPoint Inc.
Wayne DeVeydt, 35
Senior vice president and chief accounting officer

The $20.8 billion health insurance company hired DeVeydt as its chief accounting officer in May 2005. He joined WellPoint from PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, where he served as lead partner for a number of big managed care and insurance ocmpanies and provided companies with advice on complying with Section 404 of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Earlier, DeVeydt served as CFO of the Bar Plan Mutual Insurance Co.

B.S., accountancy, University of Missouri St. Louis

White Mountains Insurance Group Ltd.
J. Brian Palmer, 33
Chief accounting officer

Palmer was appointed chief accounting officer of the $4.5 billion insurance holding company in 2001. In that position, he is not only responsible for the company's accounting policies, SEC reporting and some holding company treasury functions, but also plays a role in capital raising and M&A activity. Before joining White Mountains in 1999 as controller for its managment company, Palmer worked for PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.

B.A., accounting, University of Massachusetts

Xerox Corp.
Matthew McNeilly, 36
Senior manager, capital markets and corporate finance

McNeilly joined the $14.7 billion copier company in 2004. As senior manager for capital markets and corporate finance, he's responsible for its global capital structure and portfolios of debt, equities and derivatives. Earlier, he served as senior treasury manager for corporate finance at Avaya Inc. and foreign exchange manager at Hunter Douglas Inc.

B.S., economics, St. Peter's College; M.S., international business, and M.B.A., finance, Seton Hall University Stillman School of Business




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