Grapevine

Devine returns to the auto biz; Miller takes out a little insurance; Mulligan named Fox TV's new financial ''King of the Hill.''

Brian Mulligan, previously CFO of Seagram Co., has become “king of the hill” at News Corp.’s Fox Television unit. Mulligan, who left Seagram in the wake of its merger with Vivendi SA, replaces Chase Carey as CFO. Carey will head up News Corp.’s satellite broadcasting subsidiary, Sky Global Networks.

LOOK WHO’S CLERKING NOW

Perhaps the CFO position was no longer convenient for Ezra Shashoua, who resigned the executive title at 7-Eleven Co. Shashoua becomes CFO at NationsRent Inc., a construction equipment and rental company. Dallas-based 7-Eleven is searching for his successor.

Daniel R. O’Bryant, 43, is putting stock in Pasadena, Calif.-based Avery Dennison Corp., where he has been named CFO. The former VP and general manager of Avery NA’s pressure-sensitive-materials business succeeds Robert
M. Calderoni
, who will join Ariba Inc.

NEW BLOOD

Two Of A Kind

The new year brings a pair of new finance chiefs to German software giant SAP AG. Last month, Edward J. Lyons was named CFO of Newtown Square, Pa.-based SAP America. This month, Werner Brandt succeeds retiring CFO Dieter Matheis as top finance executive at the Walldorf, Germany- based parent company.

Surprisingly, neither man hails from the tech arena. Brandt joins SAP from Fresenius Medical Care AG, in Bad Homburg, Germany, and Lyons is a 24-year veteran of Nabisco International. Will two tech novices be able to help SAP through what analysts are predicting will be a tough year for enterprise-software makers? “SAP generally seems to have been on the defensive in the past few years, particularly in the Americas,” says Jam Pickrel, a senior analyst with J.P. Morgan H&Q, but he adds that the company seems well placed to “get back in the game.”

SAP seemed to be doing just that when it surprised analysts in January by announcing better-than-expected results for Q4 2000. Lyons, for one, thinks that bringing new blood to the CFO positions may help SAP keep the momentum rolling. “Technology has higher growth, a faster pace, and is more demanding than general industry sectors,” says Lyons, who helped roll out SAP software while he was CFO at Nabisco. “Sometimes a fresh perspective helps. It’s an exciting opportunity.”

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