It is never easy to step in as CFO at a company undertaking a financial restatement, but if you add to it three material weaknesses in the company's Sarbanes-Oxley 404 audit and a ferocious growth spurt in business, then the situation quickly becomes potentially perilous. That's the triple threat that confronted 38-year-old Kenneth H. Hannah in 2006, when he took over as CFO of MEMC Electronic Materials Inc., a $2 billion global leader in the production and sale of semiconductor and solar wafers based in St. Peters, Mo.

Hannah came to MEMC with an impressive resume: senior vice president of operations for the $90.8 billion retailer, The Home Depot Inc., and several senior finance stints at Home Depot, Boeing and General Electric. But those were big companies, with large finance organizations to match. In contrast, MEMC's finance department was lean, and much of the internal audit work and tax functions–where one of the material weaknesses was found–were, for the most part, being outsourced.

While Hannah was not ready to attribute the problems of the restatement or the material weaknesses to the outsourcing providers, he knew at the very least that he needed to bring the work back in-house, if only to get better control and visibility. The problem Hannah faced was how to do it, given the limited time and talent pool from which he could draw. He could have hired a full complement of experts to bring accounting, tax and internal audit professionals back under his wing–that's probably what would have happened at Home Depot or GE–but he knew that "a $2 billion company focused on cost and asset utilization didn't necessarily need that"–at least not full-time. "At a smaller company, you have to find a different model," Hannah points out. "Even if I wanted to hire for all of my needs, I would be hard-pressed to find the people."

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