Role of the CFO

CFO Comings and Goings: December

We round up this month in CFO moves.
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· 4 min read

Asos, the British clothing company—which, fun fact, stands for “As Seen On Screen”—is having a challenging time keeping its CFO on its radar screen; in October, CFO Mat Dunn left the “struggling” retail brand for athleisure company GymShark. In the interim, Asos promoted its Director of Group Finance Katy Mecklenburgh to the CFO role at the end of October. But she lasted barely long enough for a CFO to determine which investors are foe or friend: Mecklenburgh announced in early December she was leaving for another job. (She’ll stay on to help with the transition, so at least she can say her tenure lasted longer than former UK Prime Minister Liz Truss.) Now, Asos says it’s looking to hire a “restructuring expert” in the wake of the departures, which sounds like there could be a whole lot of shake-ups to come.

Salary: According to Glassdoor, the average restructuring consultant’s salary is around $58k, whereas a CFO typically makes…more than that. It sounds like a way to cut costs, but is probably not a long-term solution for Asos’ leadership needs.

Krispy Kreme has hired outsider Jeremiah Ashukian, formerly of Mars Wrigley, as its incoming CFO. Previous CFO Josh Charlesworth is transitioning into the global president and COO role. We would request that analysts on Krispy Kreme’s next earnings call confirm that Ashukian has traded in M&Ms for his new employer’s glazed confections.

Salary: $650,000 base compensation with a cool $675,000 sign-on bonus

Newell Brands, maker of Sharpies and Yankee Candles (talk about product diversity), brought on Mark Erceg to take over the CFO job from current finance chief Chris Peterson, who will move into the role of company president. Group CEO Ravi Saligram said he expects the two to work hand-in-hand as “a powerful combination to drive profitable growth,” which leads us to wonder whether a company should have two CFOs at the table.

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Salary: $800,000 annual base salary

American Airlines is flying high as it experienced increased air travel demand (travelers are less enthused, if recent reports are any indication). The airline replaced CFO Derek Kerr, who will stay on as a vice chair, with company veteran Devon May. The new finance chief's focus will be on reducing debt and sustaining profitability, said CEO Robert Isom (who has only been in his job since March). The airline was kind enough to even make this infographic résumé for May in its announcement, from which we can ascertain that its graphic design budget is still intact.

Salary: TBD; the company did not disclose in the 8-K filing and did not respond to an email asking for it.

Kohl’s, the retail giant whose Kohl’s Cash always seems to expire the day before you remember you have it, awarded a ~$900,000 bonus to CFO Jill Timm for her to stay with the company until 2025. It’s quite the departure from other bonus-cutting news, but the company likely wants to keep Timm on board for a few years as it looks for a CEO replacement.

Between an increasingly challenging financial market and crypto fraud, there’s been no shortage of CFO departures—from those who never really were CFOs (looking at you, SBF) to an uptick in finance chief turnover, as the economy puts high inflation and a possible recession on CFOs’ to-worry lists.

While we try to add a little humor to the comings and goings within the corporate ranks, we know finance chiefs are facing undue pressures from all sides of the business. Reach out with concerns, questions, and coverage ideas: [email protected]. Thanks for reading, and here’s to a 2023 with balanced budgets, chill shareholders, and an economy that looks something like normal (yeah, we’re not counting on any of those things happening either).—KT

News built for finance pros

CFO Brew helps finance pros navigate their roles with insights into risk management, compliance, and strategy through our newsletter, virtual events, and digital guides.