Exit Jenkins

Plus, Kendall-Jackson lifts its glass to retiring CFO Alfred Rossow Jr.; Alan Bennett is looking forward to keeping Aetna in tip-top shape; Collectors Universe found an original CFO in Michael Lewis; and more.

Edmund L. Jenkins, chairman of the Financial Accounting Standards Board, will retire next summer, ending a tenure marked by rulings that profoundly altered the way companies account for and report their financial status.

Under Jenkins, FASB issued FAS 133, which requires companies to mark derivative investment values to market. Before FAS 133, says Jenkins, derivative values “were recognized only after they were settled. For many companies, that was too late.” FAS 133 “forced management to focus on the risks they take.”

Perhaps the most striking rulings during Jenkins’s reign were FAS 141, which ended pooling, and FAS 142, which eliminated amortization of goodwill and certain intangibles. These rulings, insists Jenkins, “make a significant difference in the kind of information offered to investors and the transparency of that information.” Some CFOs say FASB departed from its conceptual role and issued rulings that were too complex. “If they provide a framework, they will be excellent documents,” says Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. CFO Frederick Schiff. “If we see pages and pages of subsequent technical interpretations, these will not be successful standards.”

Jenkins also raised FASB’s political savvy a few notches. Before him, “the perception was FASB was aloof from the political process altogether,” says Manley H. Johnson, chairman of the Financial Accounting Foundation. “It was considered a green-eyeshade organization sitting in an ivory tower.” The likable Jenkins established a ubiquitous presence on Capitol Hill, improving relations with Congress and boosting FASB’s ability to overcome opposition from lobbyists.

Vintage Finance

Managers at Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates, based in Santa Rosa, Calif., are lifting their glasses to retiring CFO Alfred Rossow Jr. In the meantime, the winery has appointed John Bridendall, EVP, finance and administration, as interim finance chief. Rossow, who joined Kendall-Jackson in September 1999, will act as consultant to the company until year’s end.

Houston-based Enron Corp. gave CFO Andrew Fastow a “leave of absence” on October 24. The SEC is investigating the company’s messy financial statements to determine if two Fastow-run partnerships created “conflicts of interest.” Jeff McMahon, former CEO of Enron’s Industrial Markets group, replaces Fastow.

All Stars

You’re a good man, Charlie Brown! At least that’s what folks in the corporate office of Office Depot Inc. think. Brown, formerly controller and SVP of finance, has been chosen as the office supplier’s EVP and CFO. The post had been vacant at the Delray Beach, Fla.-based company since October.

Alan Bennett is looking forward to keeping Hartford-based Aetna Inc. in tip-top shape. The health-care provider recently named him SVP and permanent CFO. Bennett had been serving as acting head of finance since April 2001, after the February resignation of predecessor Alan Weber.

The Financial Accounting Standards Council, which advises FASB on pertinent board issues, has a new chairman. Richard Swift, previously chairman, president, and CFO of Foster Wheeler Ltd., was appointed to the position by the Financial Accounting Foundation, which oversees FASB’s member selection.

A Whole New World

Collectors Universe Inc. managed to find an original CFO in Michael Lewis. Lewis succeeds Gary N. Patten, who resigned from the Newport Beach, Calif.- based provider of products and services to the collector’s market.

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