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Orbitz braces for its fourth CFO change in two years

@denschaal

Jan 09, 2013 3:35 am

Skift Take

The latest CFO change at Orbitz Worldwide, coming just a few weeks before the company reports fourth quarter financial results, doesn’t do much to portray an image of stability.

— Dennis Schaal

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Vincent Diamante  / Flickr.com

The CFO dynamics at Orbitz Worldwide over the last two years is akin to a revolving door. Vincent Diamante / Flickr.com


It’s hard to keep track of the CFO changes at Orbitz Worldwide as the company says CFO Mitch Marcus resigned yesterday after less than two months in the post.

“Mitch determined that this was not the right opportunity for him,” Orbitz spokesperson Chris Chiames told Skift today. “We and Mitch agreed that moving quickly to resolve the situation was best for all parties.  Discussions are already under way with other candidates and we expect to name a permanent replacement soon.”

Marcus, who came from Sara Lee on November 12, 2012, left “to pursue other opportunities,” Orbitz stated in an SEC filing, and he was replaced, effective January 8, by David Belmont, who will be interim CFO.

This is Belmont’s second stint as interim CFO in the last six months, and it amounts to the fourth CFO change at Orbitz over the last two years.

If you are losing track of the revolving door in the Orbitz CFO office, here’s the chronology:

    • On January 1, 2011, Orbitz appointed Russell Hammer as CFO. He previously had been CFO of Crocs. He replaced Marsha Williams, who resigned after serving 3.5 years in the post.
    • Hammer left Orbitz on June 1, 2012, to return to the shoe industry as CFO of Brown Shoe Co. Trading airline tickets for shoes, Hammer had a relatively long tenure at the helm of financial matters at Orbitz — 17 months.
    • On June 1, 2012, David Belmont, Orbitz’s group vice president, financial planning an analysis, stepped in and became interim CFO.
    • Belmont served in the interim CFO post for a little more than five months, until November 12, 2012, when Mitch Marcus, who had been senior vice president corporate development at Sara Lee, became Orbitz CFO.
    • Yesterday, after less than two months in the post, Marcus left the Orbitz CFO office, and Belmont started his second stint as interim CFO.

It’s hard to tell exactly why Orbitz has dealt with a rash of CFO changes, and each switch undoubtedly occurred for its own reasons.

Orbitz’s stock price fell 29.3% in 2012, and it closed January 8 at $3.85 per share.

The company continued its struggles in the third quarter of 2012 when the economic slowdown in Europe was a factor in standalone room-night revenue increasing a tepid 4% to $61.2 million. Orbitz will report fourth quarter and full-year 2012 results in the coming weeks.

CEO Barney Harford has made turning around the Orbitz hotel business the key goal of his tenure.

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