CFOs Drive on the Right Side of the Road

Recent survey finds U.K. finance chiefs spend less than their bosses when choosing a company-provided car. Plus: Fresh Brands CFO resigns; Whirlpool spins a new CFO.

You are what you drive… That seems to be the case among senior brass across the pond…

According to a recent survey by Watson Wyatt of 212 U.K.-based companies, finance heads make the most modest choices when choosing a company-provided car… The most popular ride? Moderately priced General Motors—owned Vauxhall Omega, according to the consultancy’s 2002 U.K. Compensation Report…

Not surprisingly, their bosses are more indulgent in their yen for the gilt carriage: U.K. chief executives like the E-Class Mercedes best, followed by the BMW 5-Series and the Jaguar XJ6… BMW 5-Series are also popular among sales and marketing types, while human resources executives drive along with the hoi polloi in the Volkswagen Golf…

Watson Wyatt consultant Phil Hough finds it encouraging that finance departments “set the right example in cost-conscious times,” adding that “the company car is an important employee benefit that needs to be managed in the right way.” No word yet on whether CFOs are also willing to carpool…

>> Fabric-care experience coming out in the wash for R. Stephen Barrett Jr., named CFO of major home-appliance maker Whirlpool Corp…. Barrett boards the company from consumer-products giant Procter & Gamble Co., which he joined in 1978… Most recently, he was vice president of finance for P&G’s $11 billion global fabric and home-care business in Brussels…

Barrett, who will also be on Whirlpool’s executive committee, succeeds Mark Brown… Brown was promoted to SVP in charge of global strategic sourcing, where he will head global initiatives for supply-chain management, manufacturing, and procurement…

>> Armand Go decided to visit the checkout line at Fresh Brands Inc…. Go resigned from CFO post of supermarket-chain operator to find a job that will give him more time with his family…

Incidentally, management at the company, which runs Piggly Wiggly and Dick’s Supermarket chains, said on Thursday it will restate its earnings for 1999 through 2001 because of a mistake that caused it to underestimate its costs of selling goods… CEO Elwood Winn said Go’s departure “is not related to any accounting issues.”

>> U.S. Wireless Data, the leader in wireless transaction—processing, named Adi Raviv to the top finance post… Raviv was most recently CFO of THCG Inc., a technology merchant banking and consulting company, which he co-founded in 1999… Takes over finance duties from chief administrative officer Charles Leone…

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