Eight Isn’t Enough

BearingPoint, the consultancy that used to be part of KPMG, burns through its eighth CFO in nine years. The latest to go lasted just three weeks.

If BearingPoint Inc. loses one more CFO, it will have enough former finance chiefs to field a baseball team.

The giant consulting firm certainly can’t point to CFO retention as a core competency. In June, Eileen Kamerick tossed in the towel after just three weeks, citing vague “discussions with the audit committee,” according to the company. At last count, she was the eighth CFO in the nine-year history of BearingPoint, which is based in McLean, Va.

At most companies, a CFO’s hasty, unexplained exit prompts Wall Street to hoist a red flag (or two). But in this case, investors have seen it all before. “Her resignation is not surprising,” says Moshe Katri, an analyst at Cowen and Co. in New York. Even the company didn’t feel obliged to supply much more detail than the aforementioned “discussions.” According to news reports, Kamerick would say only that she found herself in a different situation than she had expected. Presumably that means worse than expected, which gives pause. The consultancy, which was originally a wing of Big Four accounting firm KPMG, has a history of accounting errors. In 2004, a $93 million accounting error triggered the resignation of CFO Mark Falcone and led the company to restate its financials back to 1999.

With name plaques rarely given time to adhere to the door and a pending Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into its internal controls, taking on the CFO role is “no easy task,” says Katri. “In fact, these factors make it very logical for anyone who’s going to look at this job to consider it challenging.”

Now all eyes are glued to CFO No. 9, former audit-committee member Eddie Munson. No doubt his days will be full, but on the plus side, he only needs to hold the job for 28 months to qualify as BearingPoint’s longest-serving CFO.

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