In the late 1990s, twentysomethings were becoming multimillionaires overnight. But that was more the product of market frenzy and being in the right place at the right time than it was a true indication of brains and talent.

Such is certainly not the case for our 40 finance executives under the age of 40. Their resumes suggest the kind of perseverance and intellect that we hope is rewarded by the nation’s businesses with higher titles and additional responsibilities.

These are Treasury & Risk Management’s stars of finance to watch.

 

Advance Auto Parts Inc.
Jeffrey T. Gray, 38
Senior vice president and CFO

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE:

Gray was named CFO of the $3.2 billion auto parts chain in August, after leading the day-to-day operations of the finance department for the last three years as controller. Since joining the Roanoke, Va.-based company in 1994, Gray has held several other positions, including vice president of inventory management. Earlier, he served as controller of Hollins University and worked for KPMG LLP.

EDUCATION:

B.S. in business, Virginia Polytechnic University

 

American Eagle Outfitters Inc.
Trevor Vigfusson, 36
Vice president of finance and treasury

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE:

The $1.4 billion specialty clothing retailer, based in Warrendale, Pa., hired Vigfusson as its vice president of finance and treasury in 2002. He joined American Eagle from Gap Inc., where he spent six years in planning and finance jobs, including serving as CFO of its $1 billion-plus outlet division. Vigfusson has also worked at Andersen Consulting, MCI Telecommunications and Chevron USA.

EDUCATION:

B.A. in finance, University of Washington

 

AGCO Corp.
Andrew H. Beck, 39
Senior vice president and CFO

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE:

Beck was named senior vice president and CFO of the $2.9 billion maker of agricultural equipment in 2002. Since joining AGCO, which is based in Duluth, Ga., in 1994, he has served as chief accounting officer, controller, assistant treasurer and controller of international operations. Earlier, Beck was an auditor with Arthur Andersen.

EDUCATION:

B.B.A. in finance, Emory University; M.B.A. in accounting, University of North Carolina.

 

AnnTaylor Stores Corp.
Sallie A. DeMarsilis, 39
Vice president and controller

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE:

DeMarsilis was promoted to vice president and controller of the $1.3 billion retailer of women’s clothing in March 2001. She is also the company’s assistant treasurer and assistant secretary. She joined AnnTaylor in 1994 as assistant controller and assistant treasurer after working as a senior auditor for Deloitte & Touche LLP.

EDUCATION:

B.S. in accounting, Boston College’s Carroll School of Management

 

AT&T Corp.
William Prip, 36
Treasury director, capital markets and corporate finance

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE:

Prip was named director of capital markets and corporate finance for the $37.8 billion telecom in 2003, a position in which he has responsibility for capital markets activities, corporate finance and the compliance function. As AT&T split into three separate companies, he led transactions necessary to restructure the balance sheet. Prip has worked in treasury since joining AT&T in 1998. Earlier, he spent four years directing the legislative program of a medical ethics think tank.

EDUCATION:

B.A. in political science, New York University; M.A. in East Asian studies, Columbia University; M.B.A., University of Chicago Graduate School of Business

 

BB&T Corp.
Ed Vest, 36
Senior vice president and controller

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE:

Vest was named senior vice president and controller of the $6.1 billion financial holding company in Winston-Salem, N.C. in July, after serving as financial reporting manager for five years. He had joined Southern National Corp., a predecessor firm, in 1993 as internal reporting manager. Earlier, Vest had worked for Deloitte & Touche LLP, where he specialized in audits of financial institutions.

EDUCATION:

B.S.B.A. and M.S. in accounting, Appalachian State University

 

CDW Corp.
Robert J. Welyki, 39
Vice president and treasurer

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE:

Welyki was named treasurer of CDW in 2002 after joining the $4.2 billion provider of technology products and services in 2000 as director of tax and treasury. Earlier, he served as treasurer of CCC Information Services.

EDUCATION:

B.S. in accounting, University of Illinois

 

Delta Air Lines Inc.
James Whitehurst, 36
Senior vice president, finance, treasury and business development

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE:

The $13.3 billion airline named Whitehurst senior vice president of finance and treasury in 2001. He had been acting head of its Ventures group since 2000. Before joining Delta, Whitehurst was head of the southeastern corporate development practice at the Boston Consulting Group, where he had worked since 1989.

EDUCATION:

B.A., Rice University; M.B.A., Harvard Business School

 

Coors Brewing Co.
Mike Gannon, 39
Treasurer

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE:

Gannon has worked for the Colorado-based brewer for 12 years in various finance positions. He was named treasurer of $3.7 billion Coors in 2002 after spending four years as director of corporate finance. In that role, he worked on Coors’ $1.7 billion acquisition of a division of the U.K.’s Bass Brewers. Before joining Coors, Gannon worked for several years as an engineer.

EDUCATION:

B.S. in computer engineering, Ohio State University; M.B.A., University of Michigan

 

Eli Lilly and Co.
Derica W. Rice, 38
Vice president and controller

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE:

Rice was named controller of the $11 billion drugmaker in July 2003, after serving as general manager of Lilly’s operations in the U.K. and Republic of Ireland since 1999. He joined Lilly, which is based in Indianapolis, in 1990 as an international treasury associate and held various sales and planning jobs before being named finance director and CFO for Lilly Canada in 1995. He was named executive director and CFO for its European operations in 1997.

EDUCATION:

B.S. in electrical engineering, Kettering University (formerly General Motors Institute); M.B.A., Indiana University

 

Fairchild Semiconductor International
Robin Sawyer, 36
Vice president and corporate controller

Fairchild Semiconductor’s first woman vice president, Robin Sawyer, says her path to success revolved around two principles: hard work and staying true to herself. “People will recognize you for that,” she says.

Sawyer joined Fairchild in 2000 as manager of financial planning and analysis. Two years later, then-CFO Joe Martin called her into his office to offer her a job as corporate controller of the $1.4 billion chipmaker, based in Maine. “At the time of my promotion, the decision was not based on gender,” recalls Sawyer. “It was made on who was the right person. And he said I had the right skills and background. I was surprised and happy.”

Sawyer, who was born in Waterville, Maine, graduated magna cum laude from Thomas College. She started her career as an auditor at Ernst & Young, where she got her CPA. In between, she took two years off to raise two daughters. “When I had my children, I needed to stay with them,” she says. “That’s being true to me.” In 1998, she moved to Cornerstone Brands, a catalog dealer, as director of financial planning and reporting. She was already doing accounting work as a consultant for Cornerstone when she was asked to work full-time.

Equally as crucial as credentials, Sawyer gains strength from the people surrounding her. Her mentor Marty White, a partner at E&Y during her days there, is a powerful influence. She still has lunch with him two or three times a year. “When I wanted to make the transition from public accounting to private industry, I went to him,” she says. “He felt that it was a wise move because it fit my long-term goal of being a controller.” Now, she mentors a few women at Fairchild Semiconductor.

From a business perspective, Sawyer has had to ride some treacherous currents. Since 2000, the climate for semiconductors has been nothing short of bleak, at least until this year. In addition, Sawyer also has had to assume a substantial role in preparing Fairchild for various Sarbanes-Oxley deadlines. Nothing in Sawyer’s past totally prepared her for these somewhat unique challenges. Consequently, two of her biggest pieces of advice are to stay on top of developments in the discipline and always be open to seeing things or accomplishing tasks in different ways. “You need to be flexible,” she says. “You constantly educate yourself further, from reading industry literature to attending industry seminars.”

She says she motivates her 17-person department by valuing them. “If you’re in a meeting, you allow the person doing the work to make the presentation,” she says. “It’s giving people recognition.” And always, the bottom line for Sawyer is “being who I am.”

 

Flextronics International Ltd.
Eric Ball, 39
Assistant treasurer

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE:

Ball was hired as assistant treasurer by the $13.3 billion Singapore-based contract electronics manufacturer in 2001. Earlier, he served as director of corporate finance at Cisco Systems Inc. and manager of strategic planning and finance at Avery Dennison Corp. Ball started his career at AT&T Corp.

EDUCATION:

B.A. in economics, University of Michigan; M.A. in economics, University of Rochester; M.B.A. in finance, Simon School of Business Administration, University of Rochester

 

Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc.
Kathleen L. Quirk, 39
Vice president, finance and business development and treasurer

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE:

Quirk was promoted to treasurer of the $1.9 billion New Orleans-based mining company in 2000 after being named vice president of finance and business development in 1999. She has held a number of positions in finance, treasury and investor relations since joining the company in 1989. Earlier, Quirk worked for Mobil Oil Corp.

EDUCATION:

B.S. in accounting, Louisiana State University

 

FTD Inc.
Carrie Wolfe, 33
CFO and treasurer

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE:

Wolfe was named CFO and treasurer of the $363.3 million flower delivery service in 2002. She had been the CFO of FTD.Com since 2001 and vice president of finance and accounting and controller of FTD.Com since 1999. Before joining FTD.Com, Wolfe held various positions at Whitman Corp., including director of finance, and worked at Price Waterhouse.

EDUCATION:

B.S. in accounting, University of Illinois

 

Genentech Inc.
Odette Go, 39
Assistant treasurer

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE:

The $2.2 billion biotech company hired Go as associate director of its treasury in 1998. Earlier, Go worked as a consultant for the World Bank’s Economic Development Institute and spent seven years at Citicorp, where she served as a banker, an originator in its capital markets group and a credit analyst.

EDUCATION:

B.A. in political science, Stanford University; M.B.A., University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School

 

General Electric Corp.
Maria Gonzalo, 33
Managing director of GE treasury integrations and Latin America treasury operations

Even Gonzalo’s beginning at GE Capital Corporate Treasury was auspicious. As a treasury-consulting manager overseeing six GE Capital businesses and four GE industrial businesses, she performed great feats in her first years at the conglomerate, including identifying cash and process improvements that saved GE $5.3 million, working on multiple acquisitions and helping redesign GE’s treasury organization in Brazil.

Born in Caracas, Venezuela, Gonzalo got her B.S. in economics from the Universidad Catolica Andres Bello. She has a master’s degree in international business strategy from Thunderbird Graduate School of International Management and a degree from the London School of Economics in international business strategy.

Gonzalo’s first job was serving as an analyst in the Venezuelan stock market. She then went to work at Cargill Inc., a leading grain producer and meatpacker. In her four years in Cargill’s treasury operations, Gonzalo continually advanced. She was working on selecting a risk management system for Cargill’s treasury when GE scouted her out. After a small bidding war between her current and prospective employers, Gonzalo decided to join GE.

It was a decision she doesn’t regret. At GE, Gonzalo has moved up quickly. Joining as a treasury-consulting manager, Gonzalo was promoted to director of the company’s treasury integrations group, where her team focused on global acquisitions, business integrations and digitizing the treasury process. In two years, she completed 180 projects globally.

In her current job as managing director, Gonzalo leads four global teams–Connecticut, India, Brazil and Mexico–from GE’s treasury headquarters in Stamford, Conn. These teams integrate acquisitions, roll out treasury initiatives and streamline operations for the various regional hubs. “I have the treasury skill set,” she says. “But my project management skills have been key. Because of the multidisciplinary jobs I have, you need good organizational skills.”

Her secrets to success: working hard and efficiently. “Never be late,” says Gonzalo, who speaks four languages. “Be very well prepared for meetings. And make sure you follow up on all actions.” She also believes in building metrics that alert you to things that aren’t working. “Either you deliver and do great or you fall behind,” she says. “GE makes you accountable and responsible.”

Gonzalo’s biggest challenge now is keeping her teams informed. “I have morning meetings with different groups,” she says. “And I walk around a lot.” Gonzalo also has multiple informal mentors at GE to bounce ideas off of. “It’s good to have a sounding board,” she says.

 

General Motors Corp.
Sanjiv Khattri, 39
Assistant treasurer

Sanjiv Khattri’s interest in finance started early. When he was just out of high school, his father advanced him money to dabble in the IPO market in India. And after getting his undergraduate degree in production engineering from Panjab University in India, Khattri headed for business school at the University of Michigan. “I always joke, I wanted to do something easier” than engineering, he says. “I was decent with numbers and finance seemed logical.”

Now, Khattri deals with many, many numbers as an assistant treasurer at $186.7 billion General Motors Corp., where his responsibilities include capital planning, domestic and overseas finance, worldwide treasury and banking and corporate risk management. Eighty-three of the 138 employees in the GM Treasurer’s Office work for him.

Khattri, who talks about deals and financing with the enthusiasm most people reserve for the World Series or long weekends, says he has been fortunate to be involved in “some really great projects” in his 14 years at GM. For example, in 1993, Khattri joined capital planning as part of the GM Treasury’s job-rotation program.and was named director of the group in 1994. At that point, “GM was back on the upswing, and we were rewriting the corporate finance rulebook.” This involved setting company-wide financial metrics and targets, he says. The metrics were developed after Khattri and his team did an analysis that included looking at GM’s data going back to 1917, as well as 40 years’ worth of data for the other two major carmakers and 10 years’ worth for a number of other companies.

In 1995, Khattri was named director of special projects and financial planning for GM Europe and GM International Operations, a job that involved business development and deal making for all GM operations outside of North America. “We were trying to grow everywhere,” Khattri says, and he was involved in projects all around the world.

Khattri was promoted to assistant treasurer in 2001, just in time to participate in fixing GM’s balance sheet. He notes that his team has arranged $10 billion to $12 billion of credit lines and renewed them twice. He also raised about $25 billion in new capital. That issuance includes the record $17.9 billion bond deal that GM and General Motors Acceptance Corp. did in June.

Khattri sees his biggest challenge as capital planning–”to put GM in a safe position in terms of its balance sheet and optimize our use of capital.” Given the lower credit rating GM now sports, “I am also very mindful of our access to capital and our access to the insurance market.”

The Treasurer’s Office at GM is famous for turning out leaders, both for GM and for other companies. Khattri says his favorite part of his job–on which he estimates he spends as much as 25% to 30% of his time–is “people management,” including working with the staff and counseling them on their careers.

 

Goldman Sachs Group Inc.
Gavin O’Connor, 37
Managing director and corporate controller

Most people never get a shot at working on big deals. That certainly couldn’t be Gavin O’Connor’s complaint.

Shortly after he was promoted to become the head of financial reporting for Goldman Sachs in 1998, he was assigned to a key spot on the team preparing Goldman’s much awaited 1999 IPO, the second largest public offering in history at the time. The resulting offering raised $3.6 billion for the 134-year-old firm, giving it an instant market capitalization of $33 billion. “The IPO was a tremendous amount of work,” he says. “And I was noticed in that way.” In spare moments, he was also responsible for putting together the company’s 10-Q and 10-K reports.

In 2001, the notice he garnered propelled O’Connor to his current job as corporate controller. Now he oversees internal and external financial reporting, accounting policy and the accounting groups that support three operating divisions.

But in a way, much of this was in O’Connor’s ambitious life plans when he was still chasing a B.S. degree in accounting and finance at Fairfield University and later an M.B.A. at New York University. “I thought it would be a good combination,” he says. “As my career evolved, I saw myself being a global controller and treasurer. I feel like I’m still on that path.”

After O’Connor graduated from college, he started his career as an auditor at PricewaterhouseCoopers. He also served as an officer at the Federal Reserve Bank in New York, where he did international bank supervision. Right before joining Goldman, O’Connor ran the managing and reporting functions at the United Bank of Switzerland. Goldman, well known for its mergers and acquisitions expertise, was always high on O’Connor’s target lists of potential employers. “I try to associate myself with the very best institutions,” he says. “I’m intellectually curious, and I like working with great people. Goldman has the name and scale for me to do a lot of different things.”

Always eager for new stimulation, O’Connor hasn’t let up at Goldman. By taking core management classes at Pine Street, Goldman’s in-house university for leadership, he’s learned how to manage large groups and mentor people. Like many other controllers, O’Connor also spends more time now understanding new accounting rules generated by Sarbanes-Oxley and then translating them for senior management. “The real challenge is taking complicated topics and communicating them in a thoughtful way,” he says.

 

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.
Darren R. Wells , 37
Vice president and treasurer

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE:

Wells was hired as treasurer of the $13.8 million tire maker in 2002. Before joining Akron, Ohio-based Goodyear, he was assistant treasurer of Visteon Corp. for two years and led the development of its treasury as it was spun off from Ford Motor Co. Earlier, Wells worked in Ford’s Australian operations and held various finance positions at Ford Motor Credit, where he was hired in 1989 as a financial analyst.

EDUCATION:

B.A., DePauw University; M.B.A. in finance, Indiana University

 

H&R Block Inc.
Melanie Coleman, 38
Vice president and corporate controller

Last year, Melanie Coleman was working happily at Sprint as an assistant controller when a headhunter called to discuss a compelling opportunity: Would she be interested in becoming controller at retail accounting giant H&R Block? The ensuing courtship took six to 10 meetings, while both sides made sure the fit was right. But by October 2002, Coleman had the job. “It was a personal and professional growth opportunity,” she says. “And I believe in the senior leadership at H&R Block.” Given the depressed state of telecom, the accounting giant’s role as the largest tax preparer in the U.S., with a 13% to 14% market share and strong revenue growth, helped sway her decision. In the years from 1997 to 2002, H&R Block’s revenues grew 133%, placing it 24th in the S&P 500.

Nonetheless, adverse market conditions tested Coleman’s mettle, and she credits Sprint with giving her the multifaceted experience she needed to make the leap. During her nine-year tenure at Sprint, beginning in 1993 as an audit manager, she was promoted seven times. Her last job was as director of capital asset accounting, where she supervised 125 people. In these various positions, Coleman says she learned the art of negotiation and to appreciate the need to address the disparate concerns at play. “I always try to sit in multiple chairs around the business table,” she says. “I try not to be narrow-minded.” Before joining Sprint, Coleman was an audit manager at Arthur Anderson. She graduated from the University of Missouri with a B.S. in accounting.

At H&R Block, Coleman has already expanded her responsibilities as controller beyond the pure accounting arena to include sourcing all the company’s services, such as security and maintenance. “I always try to go to the weakest link, whatever I’m weakest at doing,” she says. “That’s what keeps me stretching and expanding. I like to keep those butterflies in my stomach.”

Now, Coleman’s challenge is keeping up with the constant stream of rules and standards from the SEC and other regulatory organizations. To stay current, Coleman meets with controllers from other companies. “We sit around and talk about what our issues are,” she says. “We’re all drinking from a fire hose.” She also keeps up with changing rules by reading, interpreting and digesting information at breakneck speed, she says, so she can communicate them to senior management. Her litmus test for success: shedding insight in a pressure-cooker age.

 

Huntsman International LLC
Sean Douglas, 39
Vice president and treasurer

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE:

Douglas was named vice president and treasurer of the $4.5 billion chemical company, based in Salt Lake City, in 2001. He has held a series of financial positions since joining the company in 1990, including controller, director of finance and vice president of administration. Earlier, Douglas worked at Price Waterhouse.

EDUCATION:

B.S. in accounting, University of Utah

 

International Paper Co.
Samir Patel, 33
Manager, international treasury

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE:

Patel was hired as manager of international treasury at the $24.9 billion forest products company, which is based in Stamford, Conn., in 2000. In that position, he played a key role in the consolidation of its global treasury operations that won International Paper a Gold in cash management in this year’s Alexander Hamilton Awards. Before joining International Paper, Patel worked in treasury and finance positions at Joseph E. Seagram Co. and GE Capital Corp.

EDUCATION:

B.S. in finance, Arizona State University; M.B.A./M.I.M., Thunderbird Graduate School of International Management

 

L-3 Communications Holdings Inc.
Ralph G. D’Ambrosio, 35
Vice president and controller

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE:

The $4 billion defense contractor named D’Ambrosio controller in 2000. He joined the company in 1997 as assistant controller, after working at Coopers & Lybrand LLP since 1989.

EDUCATION:

B.B.A., Iona College; M.B.A., New York University’s Stern School of Business

 

Lennar Corp.
Waynewright Malcolm, 39
Vice president and treasurer

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE:

Malcolm was hired by the $7.3 billion home builder as treasurer in 1997 and was named vice president in 2000. Before joining Lennar, he spent 10 years with Citizens Utilities Co., a telecommunications company, in treasury, accounting, business planning and mergers and acquisitions positions. Earlier, he worked for Citibank and Price Waterhouse.

EDUCATION:

B.S. in accounting and information systems, University of the West Indies; M.B.A., New York University’s Stern School of Business

 

Lowe’s Companies Inc.
Robert F. Hull Jr., 39
Senior vice president and CFO

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE:

Hull was named senior vice president and CFO of the $26.4 billion chain of home improvement stores in April, after joining Lowe’s in 1999 as vice president of financial planning and analysis. Earlier, Hull served as controller of Shoe Show Inc.

EDUCATION:

B.A.B.S., University of North Carolina

 

Lucent Technologies Inc.
Mark G. Gibbens, 36
Vice president and treasurer

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE:

Gibbens was named treasurer of the $12.3 billion telecom equipment company in March. He had joined Murray Hill, N.J.-based Lucent as assistant treasurer in 2000. Earlier, Gibbens worked as vice president of finance at an Internet software and services company and spent 10 years in treasury positions at General Motors Corp.

EDUCATION:

B.A. in economics, Carleton College; M.B.A., University of Chicago Graduate School of Business

 

Microsoft Corp.
George Zinn, 38
Assistant treasurer, corporate finance and financial risk

George Zinn, Microsoft Corp.’s assistant treasurer for corporate finance and financial risk, says working at the software company, which had $32.1 billion in 2003 revenues, provides the same kind of excitement he experienced in his very first job, working for Shearson Lehman Hutton in the currency pit on the tumultuous floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. “I started on the floor right out of college. Most people would say that’s not a normal sort of job–the dynamics, the energy, let alone the ability to wear high tops to work,” says Zinn. “That’s my frame of reference for what it is to work for a living.”

Zinn also worked as a partner in a money management firm that specialized in commodity trading before joining Microsoft as a financial analyst in 1996. At that point, Microsoft was beginning to focus on the money it was earning in foreign currencies, which had grown to more than 50% of its revenues, and the risks that posed. “A number of programs I collaborated on in my early days led to what I think is a pretty advanced and sophisticated foreign exchange group and program,” Zinn says. Subsequently, he was involved in building a system that measures and manages Microsoft’s risks across various markets. That system, the Microsoft Financial Risk Management program, was awarded top honors for financial risk management in Treasury & Risk Management’s Alexander Hamilton Awards in 2000.

Microsoft is still pushing the envelope on financial risk management. Zinn notes that the Barra system that it currently uses to manage financial risk runs on a 64-bit AMD architecture that lets it perform “very computationally intense” Monte Carlo simulations for its entire portfolio on a daily basis. Previously such simulations took 24 to 36 hours to run and were performed just once a week, he says. Running the simulation daily allows Microsoft to monitor not only its portfolio managers’ risks, but also the risks of the benchmarks they’re measured against. This allows them to “understand where their risk is compared to the benchmarks and can deal with that with various overlay strategies,” Zinn says.

In his current position, Zinn is responsible for Microsoft’s $9.2 billion strategic portfolio, its financial risk management and treasury’s IT systems. Recently, he has been “living and breathing” Microsoft’s effort to make its employee stock options transferable, a project that he says is consistent with the finance department’s tradition of innovation. Microsoft announced last summer that it was working on a program that would let employees realize some value on underwater stock options by transferring them to financial institutions.

The company’s move to give greater autonomy to its businesses makes it an exciting time to be working at Microsoft, Zinn says. But that shift is a challenge for treasury, which has to ensure “that we’re maintaining all the integration of our control environment and trying to be supportive, especially from a balance sheet perspective, of those businesses’ goals,” he says.

Zinn, who has an A.B. in economics from Bowdoin College and an M.B.A. from the University of Washington, says the good thing about his job is the “fun and interesting and groundbreaking” projects he works on. “I’ m not sure I would be able to go to work someplace else,” he says. “My mom still doesn’t think I have a real job (because) I don’t have to wear a tie to work.”

 

The Pepsi Bottling Group Inc.
Jane Hamilton Nielsen, 39
Vice president, finance, North America

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE:

Nielsen was recently named vice president of finance for the bottler’s $8 billion North American division, after joining the company in 2001 as vice president of worldwide strategic planning. Earlier, she spent six years at PepsiCo Inc., where her last position was vice president of strategic planning, and five years as a strategy consultant at Marakon Associates. Nielsen also worked in leveraged buyouts and venture capital with Weiss Peck & Greer and First Boston’s Venture Capital Group.

EDUCATION:

B.A. in economics, Smith College; M.B.A., Harvard Business School

 

Raymond James Financial Inc.
Jennifer C. Ackart, 39
Controller and chief accounting officer

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE:

Ackart joined the $1.5 billion brokerage and investment banking firm that is based in St. Petersburg, Fla., as its controller and chief accounting officer in 1994. She has responsibility for tax, financial reporting, public company reporting and some employee benefit programs. Earlier, Ackart worked for Price Waterhouse LLP.

EDUCATION:

B.B.A. in accounting, College of William and Mary

 

Reliance Steel & Aluminum Co.
Karla McDowell Lewis, 37
Executive vice president and CFO

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE:

Lewis was named executive vice president of the $1.7 billion distributor of metal products and provider of metals processing services in 2002. She had been promoted to CFO in 1999 after joining Los Angeles-based Reliance as its corporate controller in 1992. Earlier, Lewis spent four years at Ernst & Young LLP.

EDUCATION:

B.S. in accounting, Ohio State University

 

Rockwell Automation Inc.
David Dorgan, 39
Vice president and controller

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE:

Dorgan has been vice president and controller of the $3.9 billion industrial automation company since 2001. He joined the company in 1998 as a manager of financial reports and has also served as director of headquarters finance for the Control Systems unit. Earlier, he worked at Deloitte & Touche LLP.

EDUCATION:

B.S. in accounting, Villanova University

 

Rockwell Collins Inc.
Patrick E. Allen, 39
Vice president of finance and treasurer

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE:

Allen has been vice president of finance and treasurer of the $2.4 billion maker of aviation electronics and communications equipment since it was spun off from Rockwell International in 2001. Allen is responsible for treasury operations and risk management and also serves as principal accounting officer. He held various positions at Rockwell International, including treasurer and assistant controller. Earlier, he spent six years at Deloitte & Touche LLP.

EDUCATION:

B.S. in finance, Pennsylvania State University

 

Sequa Corp.
Joanne M. O’Sullivan, 39
Vice president and controller

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE:

O’Sullivan was named vice president and controller of the $1.6 billion conglomerate, whose businesses range from aerospace to men’s formalwear, in 2002. She had been appointed director of financial reporting in 1998 and manager of budgets, pensions and government accounting in 1996. O’Sullivan joined Sequa, which is based in New York City, in 1988 as a staff accountant. Earlier she worked for Arthur Andersen LLP.

EDUCATION:

B.S., Montclair State College; M.B.A. in finance, Iona College

 

Southern Co.
Kim Greene, 37
Vice president of finance

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE:

Greene was named vice president of finance at the $10.5 billion Atlanta-based utility in June. In her previous position as director of portfolio management for one of its subsidiaries, Southern Co. Generation and Energy Marketing, Green was responsible for energy trading strategies and long-term resource plans. Earlier she worked for Mirant, a former Southern subsidiary, as director of asset management for the Texas region, chief commercial officer for the South region, assistant to the president and assistant to the CFO. Greene joined Southern Co. in 1991 as a mechanical engineer.

EDUCATION:

B.S. in engineering science and mechanics, University of Tennessee; M.S. in biomedical engineering, University of Alabama; M.B.A., Samford University

 

Tyco International Ltd.
Kevin DaSilva, 39
Vice president and assistant treasurer for capital planning and capital markets

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE:

DaSilva joined the $35.6 billion conglomerate in July and is responsible for capital markets and corporate finance activity and capital planning. Prior to joining Tyco, DaSilva spent six years at Lucent Technologies Inc., first as assistant treasurer and then as financial vice president for Lucent Worldwide Services. Earlier, he worked for eight years in the Treasurer’s Office at General Motors Corp. and as a business planning analyst at PaineWebber Inc.

EDUCATION:

B.S. in business administration, Georgetown University; M.M., Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management

 

Washington Mutual Inc.
Brad Anderson, 37
Senior vice president and manager of corporate performance management

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE:

In 2000, Anderson was hired as senior vice president and manager of the corporate performance management group at the Seattle-based thrift, which has $283 billion in assets and $19 billion in 2002 revenues. He reports to CFO Thomas Casey. Anderson has more than 15 years of experience in performance management, corporate finance and treasury management. Before joining Washington Mutual, he served as senior vice president and performance measurement manager at Wachovia Corp. and as vice president of corporate finance at Bank One Corp. Anderson also worked at NBD Bancorp., a predecessor to Bank One, and Valley National Corp.

EDUCATION:

B.S. in finance, Arizona State University

 

White Mountains Insurance Group Ltd.
David Foy, 37
Executive vice president and CFO

David Foy’s first job out of college taught him that financial data is more than just numbers. After earning a B.S. in applied statistics at the Rochester Institute of Technology, Foy joined Milliman & Robertson, an actuarial consulting firm, where one early assignment was working with the District of Columbia Retirement Board and its pension plans. Foy would run meetings about decisions on funding that were attended by representatives of both houses of Congress and the unions of the plan participants as well as board members. While his college training might have suggested the work was about calculations, he learned otherwise at the politically charged gatherings. “It’s more than just the numbers, it’s what do they mean to different people,” Foy says. That lesson came in handy when he began to work on corporate financial reporting, he says.

In 1993, Foy joined the annuity unit of Hartford Life, and in 1995, he worked on clearing up problems with the company’s guaranteed investment contracts (GICs) and their asset/liability management–a chore that brought him into contact with the corporate staff. He was asked to head financial reporting and went on to work on Hartford Life’s 1997 IPO. Once the company had gone public, he added investor relations to his responsibilities.

By 1999, he was named CFO. A year later, with more cash on hand, Hartford Life’s parent company decided to buy back the stake it had sold to the public. While he was still the CFO of a major life insurer, Foy missed the challenges associated with heading up finance at a public company. When the job at White Mountains, a $4.1 billion insurance holding company, came along earlier this year, it was “a great opportunity to be a public company CFO,” says Foy. He also welcomed the chance to work with White Mountains’ chairman, Jack Byrne, a long-time insurance executive who engineered turnarounds at both Geico and Fireman’s Fund Insurance Co.

Foy says that his goal is a world-class finance function, and that involves providing accurate, timely and useful financial reports. “I like to say those three things together make information actionable,” he says. “By putting together actionable financial information, finance can be an important part of overall decision-making in the company.” Other big tasks include managing the company’s capital base and its relationship with the rating agencies and making sure it’s prepared for any acquisition opportunities, he says.

Foy says he learned at Hartford that it’s not enough to get the numbers out to the investment community, it’s also important to convey “what the numbers mean.” He developed a presentation that ran over 100 pages and would sit portfolio managers down for hours to teach them how the life insurance business worked.

His background as an actuary makes Foy a rarity among CFOs, but he says it’s ideal for his job as finance chief of an insurer. “It’s great to be able to price products and understand how to reserve,” Foy says. “That core training gives you a great leg up.”

 

Vanguard Car Rental USA Inc.
Thomas Kennedy, 38
Senior vice president and CFO

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE:

Vanguard Car Rental Co., a combination of Alamo Rent A Car and National Car Rental, named Thomas Kennedy as its CFO in October. Kennedy had worked at Northwest Airlines Inc. since 1992 and most recently served as its controller and senior vice president. Before he joined Northwest, Kennedy was a municipal bond analyst with Merrill Lynch Capital Markets.

EDUCATION:

B.S. in economics, Tulane University; M.B.A., Harvard Business School

 

Yahoo! Inc.
Gideon Yu, 32
Treasurer and vice president of corporate finance

Breaking new ground has always been alluring, as travelers and explorers from Marco Polo to Sir Edmund Hillary can testify. Add to that list Gideon Yu, who says that as the first treasurer of Yahoo! Inc., he’s enjoying laying the foundations of a world-class treasury at the $953 million Internet portal. Yu joined Yahoo as treasurer and vice president of corporate finance in May 2002, when the company, at that point seven years of age, decided that it had grown to a point where it needed someone to focus on treasury and risk management.

Deals have taken up some of Yu’s time, including Yahoo’s March 2003 purchase of search engine Inktomi Corp. and its October acquisition of Overture Services. But Yu says for the last six months, he has been focusing on treasury issues. His three goals: improve systems and internal controls, build a “globally oriented” treasury that can keep pace with Yahoo’s international growth and make treasury a thinking organization. “Treasury needs to think through strategically and in advance some of the big and meaty topics,” Yu says. He cites Yahoo’s foreign exchange exposure and the optimization of its $2 billion cash portfolio as likely topics to contemplate.

Yu started his career as a financial analyst in investment banking at Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette Inc., a firm that he picked because it did a lot of deals. “I wanted to get a lot of hands-on experience,” he says. From there he went on to work in corporate finance at The Walt Disney Co. and Hilton Hotels Corp.

After a break to get an M.B.A. from Harvard University, Yu jumped into the dot-com frenzy, serving as the CFO of two companies: TheMan.com, an e-commerce and content site for men that folded in 2000, and NightFire Software Inc. “The great thing and perhaps the scary thing about the dot-com era is that it allowed people like me to get senior-level experience quickly,” Yu says. He describes TheMan.com as “pure start-up,” but notes that NightFire had 170 employees at its peak. What did his time as CFO teach him? “How to be an effective executive. Those are intangible lessons you can’t get from a conversation or a book,” Yu says. He adds that his experience as a CFO allows him to “be that much better of a treasurer” at Yahoo!.

Looking back, Yu characterizes the late 1990s as a time of “overhyping and focusing on the wrong things.” He notes that in the last year or two,

Yahoo! has grown from “a dot-com to a real mature company.” That’s evident from its focus on real cash flow, rather than growth for growth’s sake, he says. “It’s so refreshing to come to a company where free cash flow is the most important financial metric,” Yu says.

 

Yellow Corp.
Stephen L. Bruffett , 39
Vice president and treasurer

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE:

Bruffett was named vice president and treasurer of the Kansas-based trucking company in 2000. In addition to treasury, he is responsible for investor relations and program management at $2.6 billion Yellow. He had been director of financial planning and analysis for Yellow Freight System Inc. since 1998, and served as director of finance for American Freightways Inc. from 1992 to 1998. Earlier, Bruffett held finance positions with the City of Austin, Texas, and Fidelity Investments.

EDUCATION:

B.S., University of Arkansas; M.B.A., University of Texas