Tag Archives: CFO

CFO at Houston-based chemical company resigns after two years

Lorin Crenshaw, CFO at Orion Engineered Carbons SA, has resigned to become CFO at Kansas-based Compass Materials. Bob Hrivnak, the company’s Chief Accounting Officer will serve as the interim CFO while the company conducts a search for a replacement.

Orion has its head office in the Kingwood area, though it is technically registered in Luxembourg. The company manufactures Carbon black, a powdered form of carbon used in consumables and additives for polymers, printing inks and coatings. It has 14 production sites around the world and revenues of $1.4 billion.

The company went public in 2014 and has a market capitalization of $1.14 billion.

Mr. Crenshaw has been the CFO at Orion for exactly two years. Prior to that he spent many years at Albemarle, a chemical manufacturer. Compass Materials is another chemical manufacturer that has about the same revenues as Orion but a market capitalization twice as large.

When he joined Orion, Mr. Crenshaw received a $180,000 sign-on bonus that was paid over two years. However all the executives got a reduced bonus payout for 2020 because EBITDA did not hit target.

At Compass, Mr. Crenshaw will receive a substantial increase in base salary (from $421,000 to $537,000) and a one-time bonus of $780,000 (most of which is to be paid in January 2022).

Mr Hrivnak joined Orion in 2020. He was previously the CFO for just over a year at Spokane-based Clearwater Paper. At that company he was hired by a new CEO who lasted even less time! Prior to that, he worked for a number of companies including Fluor and Tyco.

SEC filing – Orion CFO departure

Sugar Land refiner appoints new CFO

Dane Neumann has been promoted to CFO at Sugar Land-based CVR Energy. He was the VP of Finance and Treasury until he was appointed interim CFO in August following the departure of Tracy Jackson.

CVR operates two refineries in Kansas and Oklahoma as well as related pipelines and infrastructure. The company has a market capitalization of $1.9 billion, up $600 million since  Ms. Jackson resigned. That’s because, in September, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed big cuts to US biofuel blending requirements. This benefits oil refiners at the expense of farmers. Analysts speculate that CVR will re-instate regular dividends once the change is finalized.

Mr. Neumann joined CVR in June 2018 and also worked for Andeavor and its affiliates from March 2011 until June 2018. He will receive a base salary of $400,000.

The predecessor to Ms. Jackson was Susan Ball. She resigned last week from her position as the CFO of Team Inc.

SEC filing – CVR Energy – new CFO

CFO resigns at marine construction company

Luca Paciolo – circa 1500 – “The Father of Accounting”

Robert Tabb, the CFO at Orion Group Holdings, has resigned to take a position with an unnamed private company. The company is conducting a formal CFO search. In the interim, senior management and the finance department will share his duties.

Orion is a specialty construction company involved in marine construction management including dredging and turnkey concrete construction services. The company is based in SE Houston near Ellington Field and has a market capitalization of $157 million.

Mr. Tabb joined the company in 2014 and became the interim CFO in November 2018. The company removed the interim tag the following March.

At the time he was appointed, the company was in a big hole. In 2018, the company wrote off $69 million in goodwill impairment and a further $23 million in cost overruns on two marine projects. The company had $80 million of debt.

Fast forward to the present time and the company debt was down to $6 million at the end of June. This is the result of increased revenues, especially from Gulf Coast port projects, improved discipline on contract bidding and sale of surplus assets. The company completed a sale-and-leaseback transaction in 2019 that raised $18 million.

Last week, Scott Kornblau was appointed the CFO at Great Lakes Dredge & Dock, another Houston company in a similar business to Orion.





CFO resigns at Houston biotech company

Tony Tontat has resigned as the CFO of Kiromic BioPharma. Dan Clark, VP of Finance, has been appointed interim CFO.

Kiromic is a gene-editing company that is focused on solid cancers. It was formed in 2006 but doesn’t have any revenues yet. The company is based in the Texas Medical Center.

It went public via an Initial Public Offering in October 2020. The IPO raised $15 million at $12 per share.

The company raised a further $40 million at $5 per share in July. The company planned to use the second raise for clinical trials for two drugs that were expected to be approved by the FDA (Food and Drug Administration). Instead, the FDA responded two weeks later with further questions on the initial applications, causing a delay in the trials.  The share price plunged and is now $1.94.

Mr. Tontat, who is based in Florida, had served as the CFO since October 2019 and also served as the Chief Operating Officer from August 2019 to April 2021. He was paid $300,000.

Mr. Clark joined the company in February 2020 as its Corporate Controller. Prior to that, he worked for consulting firms The Siegfried Group and FTI Consulting. He started his career at KPMG.

SEC filing – Tontat resignation


CFO resigns at Sugar Land industrial company

Luca Paciolo – circa 1500 – “The Father of Accounting”

Susan Ball has resigned as CFO of Sugar Land-based Team Inc, effective November 12, 2021. The company has retained an executive search firm to find a replacement. It is expected that Ms. Ball will enter into a consulting agreement to assist in the transition.

Team provides testing, inspection and repair services to industries such as refining and power. It has a market capitalization of $100 million.

A poisoned chalice

Ms. Ball was appointed CFO in December 2018. Prior to that, she was CFO at CVR Energy, another company based in Sugar Land, though Ms. Ball got a relocation package when she joined Team (presumably from Kansas City where CVR used to be based). When she was appointed, the market capitalization of Team was $500 million. I noted in my blog post at the time that she had her hands full, namely;

  • The company had made two big acquisitions in 2015-2016 for $538 million that turned out to be a disaster (especially Houston-based Furmanite). $325 million of this was paid in cash.
  • The company botched an ERP implementation. Spent $47 million on Microsoft Dynamics AX before going live in March 2017!
  • Hired Alvarez & Marsal in late 2017 to assist in identifying cost saving opportunities.

Some of these issues still plague the company. In 2020, the company wrote off another $192 million in goodwill impairment from those big acquisitions. That’s on top of the $75 million taken in 2017.

Alvarez & Marsal are still engaged by the company, though their role is winding down. To date, the company has spent about $30 million in professional fees associated with their ‘ONETEAM’ program. I presume most of this went to A&M.

The company has had internal control issues as well. In 2019, it disclosed that an employee in the Netherlands (a Furmanite subsidiary) had overridden controls that resulted in misappropriation of assets over a number of years.

Debt refinanced

Team currently has shareholders’ equity of $167 million, though its balance sheet still has goodwill and intangible assets valued at $187 million.

Long-term debt amounts to $351 million. Under Ms. Ball’s watch, the business was refinanced in late 2020. The first tranche ($93 million) is not due to be repaid until 2023. $250 million is due in 2026. That’s given the company some breathing room as it tries to sort out its business.

SEC filing – Team CFO resignation



Kirby Corporation appoints new CFO

Last week, Raj Kumar announced his resignation as CFO of Dril-Quip. Today, it was announced that he will become the CFO at Houston-based Kirby Corporation.

Not only does Kirby have a bigger market capitalization ($2.9 billion versus $925 million for Dril-Quip), it has $1.5 billion of debt, whereas Dril-Quip has a large net cash position. That should appeal to Mr. Kumar, who has a treasury background.

Kirby operates domestic barges and other marine transportation services. It traditionally also had a small business that providing service and parts for engines, transmissions and gears.

In September 2017, it massively expanded the service business by paying $758 million to buy Stewart & Stephenson. That turned out to be a disaster. Last year it wrote off $553 million in goodwill and intangible assets. Though Kirby managed to bungle the writedown!

Current CFO Bill Harvey, who joined the company in May 2018, announced back in July that he will be retiring in early 2022.

Mr. Kumar will receive a base salary of $500,000. He also receive a one-time restricted stock grant worth $1 million that will vest over two years.

SEC filing – Kirby CFO Kumar

Former Diamond Offshore CFO lands new role

Scott Kornblau, who recently left his CFO role at Diamond Offshore, has been appointed CFO at Great Lakes Dredge & Dock Corporation (GLDD), which has its head office in the Memorial City area of Houston.

GLDD is the nation’s largest provider of dredging services. The company was founded in 1890. It changed its name in 1905 and performed marine construction and landfill projects along the Chicago lakefront and in the surrounding Great Lakes region. In recent years, it has been expanding into the East and Gulf Coasts of the US.

GLDD has revenues of $700 million and a market capitalization of $1 billion.

Lasse Petterson was appointed the new CEO in May 2017. He joined the company from Houston-based CB&I (now part of McDermott) where he was COO. Prior to that, he worked in Houston at AMEC Inc, Americas and Aker Maritime. GLDD moved its head office to Houston one year ago.

Current CFO Mark Marinko, who has been in that position since 2014, will remain in the Chicago area. He will receive a severance of 1.5 times base salary of $401,000 plus 1.5 times annual incentive. In addition his restricted stock will vest. In total, Mr. Marinko will receive a severance package worth $2.5 million.

Mr. Kornblau will receive a base salary of $435,000. He will also a one-time restricted stock award of 15,000 units (currently worth about $225,000) that will vest over three years.

SEC filing – GLDD CFO appointment


Diamond Offshore COO and CFO walk away with severance

Diamond Offshore COO Ron Woll and CFO Scott Kornblau have resigned, taking advantage of ‘walkaway severance rights’ put in place following the company’s exit from bankruptcy in April 2021.

The offshore driller has its head office in west Houston and owns four drillships and eight semisubmersibles. It exited Chapter 11 bankruptcy in April 2021, having converted $2 billion debt into equity. For 2020, it had revenues of $733 million and its shares currently trade over-the-counter.

In May, the company appointed Bernie Woolford as its new CEO and in August, the company put itself up-for-sale.

Dominic Savarino has been promoted to be CFO. He is currently Chief Accounting Officer and Tax Officer. Mr. Savarino joined the company in 2017, the same year that Mr. Kornblau became CFO (initially in an interim capacity). He will receive an increase in base salary from $400,000 to $440,000. Mr. Woll won’t be replaced and his duties will be assumed by other senior executives.


The severance plan that was put in place in April allowed senior executives to resign voluntarily by September 20, 2021 and claim severance benefits because the bankruptcy was deemed a change-in-control.

Mr. Woll will receive severance of one year’s salary ($515,630) and 2021 target bonus (70% of salary or $360,941). Mr. Kornblau will also get one year’s salary ($435,000) and 2021 target bonus (50% of salary or $217,500).

For each of 2018, 2019 and 2020 Mr. Woll received a $750,000 cash retention bonus. In addition he also received cash bonuses in 2020 of $1.4 million as the company was unable to grant long-term equity awards because of the bankruptcy.

Likewise, Mr. Kornblau received cash bonuses in 2020 of $0.6 million.

CEO departure

As part of the emergence from bankruptcy, Marc Edwards, the previous CEO, left with a lump-sum cash severance of $6 million. He had also received $1.5 million retention bonus in each of 2018 and 2019.  In 2020, he also received cash bonuses of $5.8 million.

For the two plus months ended 30 June, post-bankruptcy, the company had a net cash outflow from operations of $66 million. For a company not generating cash, it has spent a lot of money on cash bonuses and severances for senior executives.

SEC filing – Diamond Offshore CFO

Luby’s CFO leaves as it winds down its operations

Steve Goodweather, the CFO of Luby’s Inc has resigned. He will be replaced by interim CFO Eric Montague who will continue to be employed by Winthrop Capital Advisors. They have been advising the company as it winds down its operations.

Luby’s, whose shares are still trading on the NYSE (market cap $126 million), has now sold all its Luby’s cafeterias and Fuddruckers restaurants. Those deals were announced in June. However it still owns 54 real estate locations that it is now in the process of selling. Luby’s also still has to sell its Culinary Contract Services business.

Mr. Goodweather joined Luby’s in 2006 as the Director of Financial Planning and Analysis and became CFO in April 2020. He will receive a severance of one year’s base salary ($215,000). 16,000 shares of restricted stock will also vest, worth about $64,000. Previous CFO Scott Gray, left in April 2020 with a $105,231 severance. Mr. Gray had been the CFO since 2007.

Luby’s will pay Winthrop Capital Advisors a monthly fee of $10,000 for the services of Mr. Montague.

SEC filing – Luby’s CFO resigns

Drilling contractor replaces CEO and CFO

Credit: Marine Traffic

Valaris, the offshore drilling contractor that exited bankruptcy proceedings in April 2021, has changed out its CEO and CFO. Thomas Burke, CEO since April 2019, has stepped down, to be replaced by interim CEO Anton Dibowitz. Jon Baksht, CFO since June 2019, is replaced by interim CFO Darin Gibbins.

Valaris has its corporate offices in London, though most of its management are (or were) based in Houston. The company was formerly known as Ensco. It acquired Pride International in 2011 and Rowan in 2019, at which point it changed its name to Valaris.

Valaris entered Chapter 11 bankruptcy in August 2020 and exited with $7.1 billion of debt converted to equity. It currently has a market capitalization of $1.9 billion.

CEO severance

Mr. Burke had a base salary of $855,000. He will receive a severance of 2 times base salary ($1.7 million), plus 2 times average bonus or target bonus (110% of base or $1.88 million), plus a pro-rated target bonus for 2021 ($0.6 million). That’s $4.2 million in total.

Mr. Burke was the CEO of Rowan, prior to its merger with Ensco. After he was appointed CEO in April 2019, he received a cash bonus in 2019 of $3.9 million, including $3.0 million as a result of meeting cost reduction targets following the merger. From April 2020 until June 2021, quarterly cash bonuses were paid out in lieu of stock options. As a result Mr. Burke earned another $4.7 million for 2020. The 2021 bonuses paid out have not yet been disclosed.

The company also incurred $0.4 million in overseas allowances in 2019 for Mr. Burke in respect of his move from Houston to London. That includes housing, child tuition and tax equalization.

Mr. Burke will continue to serve on the Board of Managers of Saudi Aramco Rowan Offshore Drilling, the company’s 50/50 joint venture with Saudi Aramco. He will receive an annual retainer of $150,00 for this role.

CFO Severance

Interim CEO Anton Dibowitz currently serves on the newly-constituted Board of Directors and was formerly the CEO of Seadrill.

Mr. Baksht had a base salary of $550,000. He will receive a severance of 2 times base salary ($1.1 million), plus 2 times target annual bonus (85% of base or $935,000), plus a pro-rated target bonus for 2021 ($312,000). That’s $2.35 million.

Mr. Baksht received cash bonuses of $3 million in 2020. The company also incurred $0.4 million in overseas allowances for Mr. Baksht in 2019 as well.

Interim CFO Darin Gibbins joined Rowan in 2006 and is currently the VP of Investor Relations and Treasurer. He will receive a annual salary of $375,000.

SEC filing – Valaris CEO and CFO change