Handleman CFO Sings a Short Song

Khaled Haram serves only five months at music distributor before exiting for Pegasus Capital Advisors. Finance veteran Kokko replaces him.

Handleman, the once-powerful distributor of music, says its finance chief has left after just five months on the job.

The Troy, Michigan, company says CFO Khaled Haram, also a senior vice president, left effective July 2 to relocate in New York City, where he joins Pegasus Capital Advisors. Haram, who had been with the company since April 2006, had been promoted to the top finance position in February.

Five months is far from the record for short tenure, of course — even this year. Last month Eileen Kamerick resigned as BearingPoint Inc.’s CFO after just three weeks on the job. (Attempts to reach Kamerick about her post-BearingPoint plans haven’t been successful.)

At Handleman, Haram will be replaced as CFO by Rozanne Kokko, who has been with the company since 1997, starting as director of internal audit. During her years at Handleman, she has held positions including vice president of finance; general manager for the national customer team, which included customers Kmart, Shopko, and Pamida; and general manager for the Wal-Mart U.S. customer team. Kokko previously spent 24 years with Kmart Corp. in various audit, finance, and operational roles.

Handleman was a high-flier as recently as two years ago, but was a major casualty of the shift away from purchasing prerecorded music in stores. Its shares were suspended from the New York Stock Exchange back in March due to a “quantitative calculation of the company’s market capitalization and not a reflection of its current liquidity position,” according to Handleman president and CEO Al Koch. Its stock is currently quoted at a little above $1 on the Pink Sheets.

Last month the company announced that it is exiting the music business in North America, calling that “a major step in its continuing efforts to address the rapid and fundamental changes under way in the music industry.” Handleman said it entered into a definitive agreement to sell its music inventory and selected other assets related to its Wal-Mart business in the United States to Anderson Merchandisers LP. Sales to Wal-Mart stores currently constitute “a substantial majority” of Handleman’s U.S. music sales.

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