Lighting It Up at GE
Dennis Dammerman, long considered the right-hand man of General Electric Co. CEO John F. Welch, was recently given the title to prove it. The former SVP and CFO was named vice chairman of the board and executive officer at GE. He was also promoted to chairman and CEO of GE Capital Services, GE’s profitable financing unit. He replaces Gary Wendt, who agreed to resign.
“We are excited to have Dennis Dammerman join the corporate executive office,” said Welch in a statement. “[He] also brings two hallmarks of GE–superior financial expertise and a passion for growth–to his mission of leading GE Capital.”
Most analysts consider the move “business as usual” at GE. But at least one GE watcher says the appointment could signal some changes ahead for GE Capital. “It is possible that this sets the stage for some restructuring,” says Marvin B. Roffman, president of Roffman Miller Associates Inc., a Philadelphia-based money manager and research firm. “It’s likely that it could be broken up into separate units.”
Compared to Wendt’s aggressive, hard-charging style, Dammerman’s style is seen by many to be more conservative. “Every executive brings [his or her] own style to an organization,” says Roffman. “I think this is a positive development.”
GE named Keith S. Sherin, 40, to replace Dammerman as SVP and CFO. Sherin had been VP, finance and financial services, at GE Medical Systems. “I am confident that Keith is just the right person to lead GE’s strong financial team,” says Welch.
In separate news, Dammerman re-ceived the Lifetime Achievement Award, given for the first time as part of the CFO Excellence Awards, sponsored by CFO magazine and Arthur Andersen. “The award recognizes someone who, over the course of his tenure, has effectively changed the perception of what finance is,” says Steve Samek, U.S. country managing partner at Arthur Andersen.
Thomas A. Mutryn will pilot the finance office at US Airways Group Inc. He was named SVP and CFO of the airline company, headquartered in Arlington, Va. Mutryn was VP and treasurer at rival United Airlines Inc. He succeeds Terry Hall, who left US Airways to “pursue other interests.”
How about a Gatorade bucket soaking for Robert S. Thomason. The former CFO announced his retirement from The Quaker Oats Co., the large food and beverage company based in Chicago. Thomason was succeeded at the maker of such products as Rice-A-Roni and Gatorade by Terence D. Martin, who was formerly EVP and CFO of General Signal Corp.
In Good Hands
Give a hand to Thomas J. Wilson. He was recently promoted to president of Allstate Life Insurance Co., a subsidiary of Allstate Insurance Co., where Wilson was formerly SVP and CFO.
Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc. mined Stephen M. Jones for its SVP and CFO position. He was formerly CFO and chief administrative officer of the mining company’s Indonesian unit. Jones succeeds Richard C. Adkerson, who will remain as president and COO.
Andrew P. Hyde is trading in his floppies for a surfboard. The former VP and CFO of MiTek Systems Inc., a custom-software supplier, was appointed CFO of Snap!, an Internet portal service co-owned by CNet Technology Inc. and General Electric Co.’s NBC unit. The San Francisco-based company will also benefit from the financial expertise of NBC CFO Mark W. Begor, who was named to Snap!’s board.
Patrick J. Allen is making like an Internet IPO and taking off. He announced he was leaving his post as CFO of San Francisco investment bank Hambrecht & Quist LLC to become president of a closely held investment bank in Southern California. His duties will be split between comptrollers Bob Schooler and Lisa Lewis until a successor is found.
There’s a new face at Revlon Inc. Irwin Engelman was recently named vice chairman and chief administrative officer of the New York-based cosmetics company. He was formerly CFO of MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings Inc., the holding company for Revlon, controlled by financier Ronald Perelman. The move will free up Revlon president and CEO George Fellows to concentrate on day-to-day operations.
Alec Reinhardt has decided to fly the coop. He’s retiring as EVP and CFO of Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. The Findlay, Ohio-based company says it has launched a search for a successor.
Finally, the Financial Executives Institute will have a new president and CEO–Philip B. Livingston. He will succeed P. Norman Roy, who is retiring in the first half of the year. Before joining FEI, Livingston was CFO of Catalina Marketing Corp. He has also served as a member of the FEI’s Committee on Corporate Finance.
Boeing’s New Ace
At a time of huge layoffs for The Boeing Co., the Seattle-based aircraft manufacturer is making one hire that it hopes will have a big impact on its problems and improve a strained relationship with Wall Street. Deborah C. Hopkins, former CFO of General Motors’s European operations, is Boeing’s new finance chief. She replaces Harry Stonecipher, Boeing’s president and COO, who had served as acting CFO since the retirement of Boyd Givan last fall. She also becomes one of the highest-profile female CFOs ever (see “More Room at the Top,” August 1998).
The appointment will allow Hopkins to use her talents to help sell Boeing’s vast restructuring to investors. (The company recently announced it would cut 48,000 jobs by the end of 2000, due to declining airplane orders.) In the early 1990s, Hopkins was given the task of designing a companywide restructuring plan at Unisys Corp., and presenting it to Wall Street. “That was an opportunity to use my sales skills as well as my financial talents to present a fresh, bold face up on Wall Street,” she told CFO at the time. She will now have that opportunity again.
In a company release, Boeing chairman and CEO Phil Condit said he viewed Hopkins as an “agent of change,” and praised Hopkins’s “proven strategic-planning activity, valuable international experience, [and] a strong profit-and-loss perspective.”