More Financial News

Clifton Gunderson restructures executive team; M&I Foundation announces grants for homeowner assistance; Few Milwaukee CFOs plan to add staff; GM to sell Saturn to Penske

Clifton Gunderson restructures executive team

Clifton Gunderson, which recently relocated its corporate headquarters from Peoria, Ill. to Wauwatosa, announced a restructuring of its executive team, naming a new chief business officer (CBO), chief practice officer (CPO) and general counsel, managing partner of valuation and forensic services and firm-wide director of assurance.

Todd Craft has been named CBO. In his new role, Craft is a key member of the firm’s executive team and serves as an advisor on decisions that impact the strategic and operational direction of the firm. He joined Clifton Gunderson in 1994 as a tax manager in the firm’s Peoria, Ill. office location. He was quickly promoted to senior tax manager and became partner in 2000. 

Anita Ford has been named the firm’s chief practice officer. In her new role as CPO, Ford is also a key member of the firm’s executive team and serves as an advisor on decisions that impact the strategic and operational direction of the firm. She joined Clifton Gunderson in 1992 and progressed to general partner in the firm’s Racine office.

John Shutkin has been named general counsel for the firm. In his new role, Shutkin will be responsible for directing and overseeing a wide range of legal matters pertaining to the firm. Prior to joining Clifton Gunderson, Shutkin served as General Counsel at Shearman & Sterling LLP.

Yassir Karam has been promoted to managing partner of the valuation and forensic services (VFS) practice. In his new role, Karam leads the firm’s national VFS group in providing valuation, forensic accounting, transfer pricing, and financial modeling services to a variety of publicly-traded and privately-held companies. Karam has been part of the firm’s VFS group since he joined the firm in 1998. He became partner in 2005. 

Cathy Schweigel has been named firmwide director of assurance. In her new role, Schweigel will be responsible for maintaining and promoting the highest standards of excellence for the firm’s assurance services. Schweigel joined Clifton Gunderson as partner in November 2006.

Craft, Ford and Shutkin work in the Wauwatosa headquarters office. Schweigel will be moving to the Wauwatosa office from Chicago. Karam will remain at the firm’s Indianapolis office.

M&I Foundation announces grants for homeowner assistance

Milwaukee-based Marshall & Ilsley Corp.‘s M&I Foundation has awarded grants totaling $75,000 to six local non-profit organizations that support homeowner assistance, provide foreclosure prevention counseling, and offer home ownership education.

M&I is donating funds to strengthen the organizations that provide foreclosure counseling and first-time homebuyer education. The organizations receiving the grants are:

Urban Economic Development Association (UEDA) of Wisconsin, Milwaukee:  To support UEDA’s work to convene housing-related organizations to best serve those in need of foreclosure prevention resources.

Fair Housing Council, Milwaukee: To support the Fair Housing Council’s foreclosure prevention community outreach.

Housing Resources, Milwaukee: To support education programming for first-time homebuyers.

United Community Center, Milwaukee: To support the first-time home buyers education program.

Select Milwaukee, Milwaukee: To support foreclosure prevention programming.

Career Youth Development, Milwaukee: To support first-time homebuyers program.

In December, M&I announced a comprehensive plan of homeowner assistance strategies, including a foreclosure moratorium that is in place through June 30.

“M&I, through its charitable foundation, is devoting the funds necessary to provide those who need to be aware of and have access to those resources that can help them during this time of economic stress,” said Mark Furlong, president and CEO, Marshall & Ilsley Corporation. “These grants will help ensure that the organizations whose missions it is to provide these services have the resources necessary to help those who may seek their services.”

Few Milwaukee CFOs plan to add staff

Only 3 percent of chief financial officers in the Milwaukee area expect to add accounting and finance staff during the third quarter of 2009 and 4 percent anticipate reductions in personnel, according to the most recent Robert Half International Financial Hiring Index.

The majority of respondents to the poll, 93 percent, anticipate no change in hiring.

The local results reflect a two-quarter rolling average based on interviews with 200 CFOs from a stratified random sample of companies in the Milwaukee area with 20 or more employees; 1,400 CFOs were queried for the national data.

"Many companies remain hesitant to commit to adding staff until they are certain of an economic recovery," said Max Messmer, chairman and CEO of Robert Half International. "In the meantime, most firms are working with their current teams to manage key initiatives, with some employers also bringing in project professionals to assist with rising workloads and support full-time personnel."


GM to sell Saturn to Penske

Detroit-based General Motors Corp. announced last week that it will sell its Saturn unit to car dealership operator Bloomfield Hills, Mich.-based Penske Automotive Group Inc.

Penske is owned by former race car driver Roger Penske, who owns NASCAR and IndyCar racing teams.

Under the terms of the deal, if the transaction is completed, Penske Automotive Group would obtain the rights to the Saturn brand, acquire certain assets including the Saturn parts inventory, and have the right to distribute vehicles and parts through the Saturn Dealership network. General Motors would continue to provide Saturn Aura, Vue and Outlook vehicles, on a contract basis, for an interim period.

"We have agreed upon a framework that we believe will build momentum for the Saturn brand," said Penske. "Saturn has a passionate customer base and outstanding dealer network. For nearly 20 years Saturn has focused on treating the customer right. We share that philosophy, and we want to build on those strengths."

The closing of the transaction is expected to occur during the third quarter of this year.


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