DoughDrums: CFOs Taking Lower Salaries

Two surveys conclude that CFOs are taking pay cuts as they move to new jobs. Plus: Timberland fills CFO boots; NVidia's rocky road comes to an end with new CFO; and Centennial Communications welcomes veteran finance chief.

True, some finance chiefs made a lot of money in the past couple of years (2002 Compensation Survey. But according to a handful of recent surveys, unless your name is Larry Carter, there’s a chance you—and the other top executives in the company—may be facing a pay cut in your next job.

A survey released by executive search firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas says that 25 percent of managers who switched jobs during the second quarter of 2002 accepted smaller pay packages than what they were earning in previous positions.

Ouch … And that’s not all: in another survey of 340 of its members, ExecuNet, an online executive job resource, found 80 percent of respondents would consider accepting a position that paid less than their last job.

In addition, when asked about their compensation expectations tied to their next offer, more executives expected pay cuts than increases: 18 percent expected 10 percent less, and 33 percent expected more than 20 percent less than their most-recent position… On the other hand, only 32 percent expected a pay increase to accompany their next offer. Seventeen percent said they expected no change at all.

According to ExecuNet consultants, executives’ true market value was inflated along with the rest of the dot-com bubble. Now that the market has dropped back to earth with a thud, compensation considerations are “more in line with the value of the position in the organization and the going-rate for the function within the industry.”

>> These boots are made for walkin’ and hikin’, and workin’, and …John Crimmins fills boots of VP, corporate controller, and chief accounting officer at The Timberland Co., a Stratham, N.H., footwear company. In his new trek, Crimmins is responsible for worldwide accounting functions, including internal and external financial reporting and accounting policies and procedures. Crimmins replacing Dennis Hagele, who will be retiring later this year. He will report to EVP and CFO Brian McKeon.

Crimmins most recently managed finance for an E-commerce venture. Before that he served as SVP and corporate controller for Cahners Business Information…

>>Clean Room… NVidia Corp. ends a four-month search for CFO by appointing Marvin D. Burkett to the company’s top financial spot, replacing Mary Dotz, who was serving on an interim basis after company let Christine Hoberg go… Burkett’s experience includes 26 years as corporate controller and then SVP and CFO at Advanced Micro Devices Inc.

It’s been a tough year for the Santa Clara, Calif., chipmaker, which faced restatements for fiscal 2000, fiscal 2001, and first three quarters of 2002 because of accounting errors related to product returns, manufacturing costs, and inventory.

Things may be looking up, at least a little. Shares rose nearly 50 cents to about $11 last week, after company reported modest profit. Officials declined to say exactly when the company’s highly anticipated new set of advanced graphics chips would go to market, except that it would arrive by the holidays…

>>Centennial Man … Independent wireless telco Centennial Communications Corp. calls on Thomas J. Fitzpatrick to be the Wall, N.J.-based company’s new EVP and CFO… Appointment becomes official on August 31. Fitzpatrick succeeds Peter W. Chehayl, who resigned for personal reasons.

A veteran Bell man, Fitzpatrick spent more than a decade with Bell Atlantic Corp. (now part of Verizon) in a variety of financial positions, including vice president-finance at the company’s Network Division. He is former CFO and current board member of Inacom, a computer-hardware distributor and IT services provider, and was CFO and COO of DecisionOne Corp.

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