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It’s not every day that the switch is flipped on the range of corporate functions in a $6 billion public company, yet this was the case at Dr. Pepper Snapple Group Inc. The beverage maker, formerly a division of Cadbury Schweppes in the United Kingdom, was spun off as a newly formed public company in May. Since it previously was a division, albeit one roughly half the size of its parent company, it did not have its own set of corporate functions, relying instead on the finance organization within Cadbury Schweppes. With only 45 days to begin reporting quarterly earnings externally, and in a credit environment that was daunting, Dr. Pepper Snapple Group (DPS) confronted extraordinary pressure. “It was very difficult for us to finance in the March-April timeframe when Bear Stearns went under,” recalls Jolene Varney, DPS senior vice president of corporate financing. “We got in just under the gun.”
Varney was recruited to help plan and execute the separation, secure financing, get the organization ready to become a public company and develop from scratch such corporate functions as tax, treasury and accounting. She had some experience with spin-offs in her previous job as global treasurer of Kimberly-Clark Corp., selling both its pulp and technical papers businesses, but from the other side of the table. “I had never set up corporate functions before; it’s not very often that you get the chance to set up processes, hire people and create an organization to match the way you envision it,” she says.
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