Tag Archives: CFO

Oxy promotes Sunil Mathew to be its new CFO

Occidental Petroleum (‘Oxy’) has promoted Sunil Mathew to be its new CFO. He replaces Rob Peterson, who has been appointed Executive Vice President of Occidental Chemical (‘OxyChem’).

Oxy has its head office in Greenway Plaza in Houston and has a market capitalization of $56 billion.

Mr. Mathew joined the company in 2004 in Qatar and moved to the US three years later. He is currently the VP of Strategic Planning, Analysis and Business Development. He was promoted to this role in April 2020, the same time that Mr. Peterson was appointed CFO. Mr. Mathew holds  a Bachelors degree in Electronics Engineering and a MBA.

Mr. Peterson joined OxyChem in 1996 and served as its President from 2014-2017. He has a Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering and a MBA.

Oxy plans to build 100 direct-air carbon capture plants by 2035. In his new role, Mr. Peterson will be in charge of operational readiness for Oxy’s first such plant, which is located in West Texas.

At the time of their appointments in April 2020, Oxy was under a lot of stress. It had acquired Anadarko for $36 billion in August 2019. But the debt it took on and the collapse in oil prices due to Covid, led to activist investor, Carl Icahn, calling it ‘one of the worst disasters in financial history’. Mr. Peterson was appointed CFO a week after Oxy and Mr. Icahn reached a truce.

How times have changed. Oxy was the best performing stock in the S&P 500 in 2022 and it has halved its long-term debt from $39 billion to $19 billion.  Last week, the stock of Icahn Enterprises plunged 30% after the company disclosed that the SEC was investigating the company following allegations by a short seller that the company was inflating the value of its investments.

SEC filing – 8-K Oxy Mathew CFO

CFO of HPE resigns to take CEO job at RingCentral

Tarek Robbiati, CFO of Hewlett Packard Enterprise (‘HPE’), is leaving to become CEO of RingCentral, with effect from August 25. Jeremy Cox, Corporate Controller & Chief Tax Officer, has been appointed interim CFO while the company conducts a search for a permanent replacement.

RingCentral is based in Silicon Valley, which is where HPE had its headquarters until it moved to Spring, TX in 2020. RingCentral has a market cap of $3.7 billion, compared to HPE’s $22 billion. The company provides enterprise cloud communications, collaboration and contact center solutions, primarily through subscription services.

RingCentral CEO Vlad Shmunis founded the company in 1999 and is transitioning to Executive Chairman. To make run for Mr. Robbiati, Mo Katibeh, COO for the past 18 months, is leaving the company.

Mr. Robbiati became a non-executive director of RingCentral in January of this year.

Diverse Background

Mr. Robbiati was appointed CFO of HPE in August 2018. He holds both Italian and Lebanese citizenship and is fluent in six languages. He has a degree in Nuclear Physics and Electronics from Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Ingénieurs, Caen, France and an MBA from the London Business School.

Mr. Robbiati started his career as an R&D Engineer for Schlumberger in France but has mostly worked in Telecoms in UK, Australia and Hong Kong. He was CEO of FlexiGroup, an Australian financial services group, before becoming the CFO of Sprint in 2015.

Conventional Background

Mr. Cox has been with HPE or its predecessors since 2008 and has a more orthodox background. He has a degree from Texas Tech. Most of his experience has been in Tax. He was promoted to Corporate Controller a year ago.

SEC filing – 8-K Robbiati resignation

Houston E&P CFO leaves after less than seven months

Kristen McWatters, CFO of Battalion Oil and Gas, has resigned less than seven months after being appointed. She handed in her resignation on August 2 and left two days later. Her duties will be covered by Matt Steele, the CEO and the other members of the finance department.

The company is based in NW Houston and has working interests in approximately 40,000 net acres in the Delaware Basin. Its market capitalization is currently $136 million. It also has $230 million of debt that carries an interest rate of over 12%.

The company was formerly known as Halcon Resources. It went into bankruptcy in August 2019. The company emerged in October 2019, having eliminated over $750 million of debt. In return, the debt holders got 91% of the newly reorganized equity. It changed its name to Battalion in January 2020.

In her resignation letter, Ms. McWatters did not give a reason for her departure, though she did say it was not the result of any disagreement with the Company on any matter relating to how the Company has operated, its policies or its practices, including its controls or financial related matters.

The SEC filing made no mention whether severance would be paid. If it were, it would be $150,000 or six months’ severance.

Ms. McWatters was appointed to the role on January 22 and she reported to then-CEO Rich Little.  About six weeks later, Mr. Little was replaced as CEO, leaving with a $1 million severance. The new CEO, Mr. Steele, was appointed with a lower base salary than Ms. McWatters.

SEC filing – 8-K – Battalion Oil CFO resignation

Struggling nutrition company appoints new finance leader

Guardion Health Sciences has promoted Katie Cox to be its Chief Accounting Officer. She replaces Jeffrey Benjamin, who has resigned. The CAO role is the most senior financial position in the company.

Guardion is a clinical nutrition company. Its main product is Viactiv, a line of supplement chews for bone health. The company is based in the Greenway Plaza area of Houston, having moved its head office from San Diego in 2021. It has a market capitalization of $10 million.

Disastrous Acquisition

Guardion is suffering from a disastrous acquisition made in June 2021. It paid $26 million in cash for the business that owned Viactiv. The product is sold in retailers such as Walmart and Target. Starting in late 2021, the company experienced supply chain issues that resulted in a lack of inventory at the retailers. In fact, the company ended up paying $83,000 in out-of-stock fees to the retailers in 2022.

At the end of 2021, Guardion wrote off $12 million in goodwill related to the acquisition because its market cap was below the carrying value of its assets. In 2022, it wrote off $10 million, the value of intangible assets that it had acquired.

Change of Control clause

Ms. Cox joined the company in June 2022 as the Head of Financial Planning and Analysis. Prior to that, she spent nearly three years as Director of FP&A at Catalent Pharma Solutions and ten years as a Finance Manager in a subsidiary of Baxter International.

Ms. Cox will receive a base salary of $225,000. She will also get a $50,000 retention bonus immediately following a Change of Control transaction. She will get another $50,000 if the Change of Control transaction doesn’t happen by December 31, 2023.

Craig Sheehan, the Chief Commercial Officer, recently entered into a bonus agreement with a similar bonus structure except his refers to either a Change of Control transaction or the sale of the Viactiv brand.

Jeffrey Benjamin was appointed CAO in August 2021, following the departure of CFO Andrew Schmidt. Mr. Benjamin joined the company in April 2021.


In June, CEO Bret Scholtes stepped down as CEO after two-and-a-half years in the role. The company appointed Jan Hall as its new CEO. Ms. Hall has worked for Johnson & Johnson and Coca-Cola and most recently was CEO of M2 Ingredients.

SEC filing – 8-K – Guardion CAO

Academy promotes from within for CFO role

Academy Sports and Outdoors, based in Katy, has promoted Carl Ford, Senior VP, Finance to be its CFO. He replaces Michael Mullican, who was appointed President of the company at the beginning of June.

Academy went public in September 2020 with an IPO share price of $13. It now trades at $57, though that is about $10 off its 52-week high as comparable net sales in its latest quarter were down 7% . It currently has 269 stores in 18 states.

Mr. Ford joined the company in January 2019. Prior to joining the company, he spent 15 years at Belk, a department store chain based in Charlotte, NC, ending up as the VP of Financial Planning and Analysis. He started his career at Deloitte and Touche.

Mr. Ford will have a base salary of $500,000 and will receive equity awards valued at $1 million, which are a mixture of time and performance-based restricted stock units.

Mr. Ford’s promotion is the latest of a series of changes at the company. Back in April, Ken Hicks, who had been CEO since May 2018, announced he would transition to Executive Chairman, effective June 1. In turn, Steve Lawrence, the Chief Merchandising Officer, was promoted to CEO. Matt McCabe, Senior VP, General Merchandise Management of Footwear, was promoted to Mr. Lawrence’s role.

Mr. Mullican’s role as President covers Strategic planning, logistics & supply chain, legal, compliance, and risk management functions.

Sec filing – 8-K Academy CFO

W&T Offshore appoints new CFO

W&T Offshore has appointed Sameer Parasnis as its new CFO, replacing Janet Yang, who left last month as she was relocating to another city for family reasons.

The company has its head office in the Galleria area of Houston. It holds working interests in 47 offshore fields in the Gulf of Mexico. It has a market capitalization of $540 million.

Mr. Parasnis joins from Stifel investment bank where he was Managing Director of the Energy and Natural Resources team. He joined Stifel in 2016, then spent a year at Texas Pacific Land Trust, before rejoining Stifel in the same role in 2020. He started his career at Reliance Industries in India before joining Citigroup in consumer banking. He transitioned to investment banking with Credit Suisse in Houston.

Mr. Parasnis will receive a base salary of $450,000. Target annual cash bonus will be 85% of base and target long-term incentive compensation will be 300% of base.

SEC filing – W&T Offshore new CFO



Coterra hires CFO from another Houston company

Coterra Energy (market cap $19 billion) has appointed Shane Young as its new CFO. He replaces Scott Schroeder, who is retiring, effective September 30, 2023. Mr. Young joins from another Houston-based E&P company, Talos Energy (market cap $2 billion). In turn, Talos has promoted Sergio Maiworm from VP Finance, Investor relations and Treasurer to be its new CFO.

Coterra was formed from the merger of Cabot Oil and Gas and Cimarex in October 2021. Mr. Schroeder joined Cabot in 1995 as Assistant Treasurer and became CFO in 2014.

Mr. Young will a base salary of $620,000. He also receives a cash bonus of $100,000, a one-time long-term restricted stock grant valued at $2 million and a one-time long-term performance grant of $2 million.

Mr. Young had been CFO at Talos since May 2019, though he also had a spell as CFO between December 2014 and September 2015. He left after his first stint to join Cobalt International Energy and then Sheridan Production. He started his career as an investment banker with Morgan Stanley and Goldman Sachs.

Mr. Maiworm joined Talos in April 2018 as its Director of Finance and Investor Relations and added the Treasurer role when Mr. Young rejoined in May 2019. Mr. Maiworm has also worked as an investment banker (with Deutsche Bank). He has also worked at Shell, Transocean and ION Geophysical. He started his career at Deloitte and Touche.

Mr. Maiworm will receive a base salary of $425,000. He will also receive restricted stock and performance stock worth a total of $350,000 that will vest over the next three years.

Coterra Energy – 8-K filing – new CFO

Talos Energy – 8-K filing – new CFO



Advertising firm announces CFO change

Direct Digital Holdings has announced that CFO Susan Echard has been let go. Diana Diaz has been appointed interim CFO while the Board searches for a permanent replacement.

Direct Digital is based in the Galleria and provides digital advertising solutions to small and middle market clients. The company went public in February 2022 through a $15 million IPO. The company now has a market capitalization of $45 million.

Ms. Echard was appointed CFO in May 2021. She had a salary of $272,500 and will receive severance equal to twelve months of base salary.

Ms. Diaz previously worked at Sharps Compliance for a total of 13 years. She was CFO for over 10 years before becoming Chief Accounting Officer. Sharps was taken private in August 2022 by Aurora Capital and Ms. Diaz left earlier this year.

Direct Digital originally went public to dig itself out of a hole caused by a disastrous acquisition in 2020. It paid $26 million for a business in Austin using a combination of equity, bridging loans at 15% interest and effectively deferred consideration. Immediately after the sale, one of the biggest customers of the acquired business took their spend in-house and revenues plunged. The company used the IPO proceeds to pay the deferred consideration to the seller and refinance some of the debt.

The company has done well to grow revenues since then and revenues are now $100 million. However, one customer accounts for over half their revenues. The company still has $25 million of debt with interest rates north of 10%.

During the course of preparing its annual report for 2022, the company found that, effective August 1, 2022, billing practices on one customer had been modified. As a result, $394,000 of invoices were not sent to the customer when they should have been. That resulted in a revision of the third quarter report for 2022 and a material weakness disclosure in the annual report. There was no word from the company whether this issue contributed to the departure of the CFO.

SEC filing – 8-K – Digital Direct CFO

Small E&P company adds CFO

US Energy (market cap $37 million) has appointed Mark Zajac as its new CFO. Ryan Smith, who had been CFO since May 2017, was appointed CEO in December 2019. He had been combining the two roles since then.

The company has its head office just west of the Galleria area. Historically it had interests in the Williston Basin, North Dakota and South Texas. However, in 2022 it completed a deal for about $100 million where the sellers sold their properties in the Permian and the Mid-Continent in return for an 80% equity stake in US Energy. The company has since made a couple of smaller bolt-on acquisitions.

Mr. Zajac retired from KPMG in February 2021 where he was a Partner and National Audit Industry Leader for Oil and Gas. He will receive a base salary of $255,000.

SEC filing – 8-K US Energy CFO

NRG replaces CFO as it faces pressure from activist investor again

NRG Energy, which has its head office in downtown Houston, has announced that Bruce Chung will replace Alberto Fornaro as its CFO. Mr. Chung is currently the VP of Strategy and M&A and is based in New York. Mr. Fornaro will stay on in an advisory capacity until September 1, 2023.

NRG is an integrated power company that has most of its retail customers in Texas. For a long time it had dual headquarters in New Jersey and Houston. This arose after NRG bought the retail electricity business of Houston-based Reliant Energy in 2009.  The company also bought Houston-based Direct Energy from BG in January 2021 for $3.7 billion. It currently has a market capitalization of $7.5 billion.

In December 2022, NRG agreed to buy Vivint, a smart home platform company, for $2.8 billion in cash. Investors didn’t understand the strategy, the stock plunged 15% and hasn’t recovered.

That attracted the attention of activist investor, Elliott Investment Management, who took a 13% stake and sent a letter to the directors last month, demanding that they make changes. This isn’t the first time that Elliott has taken an interest in NRG. In 2017,  Elliott took a stake in NRG after a similar diversification strategy had left the company with high debt. Elliott worked with NRG to refocus the company.

Mr. Fornaro joined as CFO exactly two years ago. Prior to joining NRG he was CFO at Coupang, a Korean e-commerce company. He joined in February 2020 and left by December for reasons unknown. Coupang went on to complete its IPO in March 2021 with a $60 billion valuation.

Mr. Fornaro had a base salary of $737,760 and a received a $1 million sign-on bonus (half paid when he joined, half in June 2022).

The current filing doesn’t explicitly state his severance but according to the recent proxy statement, he will receive 18 months of severance ($1.1 million).

Mr Chung has been with the company since 2008, except for a 7 month stint in 2016 with an investment firm. He has worked in both Houston and New Jersey. He will receive a base salary of $700,000.

SEC filing – NRG Energy Chung CFO