September 20, 2018

CFOs say the darnedest things

Crocs CFO: Haters Gonna Hate

Jeff Lasher brushes that dirt right off: It remains true that there is a subculture of Crocs haters, who are put off by the shoes’ colorful appearance and minimalist construction. For example, there’s a Facebook page called, “I don’t care how comfortable Crocs are you look like a dumbass.” It has two million “likes.” Offers Lasher, […]

Apple CFO’s Seemingly Banal Statement Interpreted Quite Differently by The Wall St. Journal

Apple Insider reported yesterday that when Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer was asked about Google’s acquisition of Motorola he reportedly said, “$12.5 billion is a lot of money.” Now, I don’t know anyone that would say, “$12.5 billion is pocket change,” or “I piss on $12.5 billion.” Not even the most ostentatious Russian oligarch would be so bold to laugh in the face of that sum of money.

Having said that, it appears the Wall St. Journal seems to think that Oppenheimer’s statement are akin to fighting words, as illustrated by the headline: “Apple CFO Snipes at Google’s Motorola Bid” which included the following:

Peter Oppenheimer, Apple’s CFO, took a shot at Google when asked about the company’s $12.5 billion bid for Motorola Mobility Holdings during a conference call with investors hosted by Gleacher & Company. Oppenheimer said that companies should invent their own technology rather than buy it from the outside, adding that “$12.5 billion is a lot of money,” according to a report from Apple Insider.

First of all, to look at Peter Oppenheimer you wouldn’t think he’s capable of “sniping.” Secondly, “snipe” is defined as “To make malicious, underhand remarks or attacks” according to Wiktionary. For example, if Oppenheimer had said something like, “Larry Page couldn’t get laid in a monkey whorehouse with a bag of bananas” or “Androids are the Yugos of the smartphone world,” those would qualify as snipes. They are malicious, underhanded and are attacks.

Conversely, “$12.5 billion is a lot of money” is not a snipe. It is a statement of a fact-ish. It is a lot of money. You could argue that it is Oppenheimer’s opinion but as posited above, very few would argue that it isn’t a lot of money. Is Google overpaying for Motorola? That’s the question Michael Hickins ultimately asks in his article but somehow the hook for this was that Apple’s CFO brings the same level of snark as the CEO.

Apple CFO Snipes at Google’s Motorola Bid [WSJ]

Google CFO Addresses Company’s ‘Evil’ Tax Savvy

When asked whether it is “evil” to pay a 6% federal tax rate, he laughed it off. “I don’t make the laws,” he said. “I’m just like every other corporation.” [Fortune]

CFO Seizes Opportunity to Unite Disgust for IFRS, Metric System

If W. Anderson Bishop wanted to sound like a person who is refusing to adopt a different system of measurement because A) it was developed outside the United States B) doing things the easy way is dumb or C) he’s a crusty old fart, he has succeed admirably.

“We didn’t join the metric system when everybody else did,” says W. Anderson Bishop, [Hallador Energy Co.’s] chief financial officer. U.S. accounting rules are “the gold standard, and why would we want to lower our standards just to make the rest of the world happy?”

U.S. Firms Clash Over Accounting Rules [WSJ]

GM CFO Says Company Is Committed to ‘Low-debt Strategy’ For Real This Time

General Motors Co’s new chief financial officer told analysts the automaker remains committed to the low-debt strategy and discipline on vehicle pricing emphasized by his predecessor. In a dinner meeting with analysts on Thursday, Dan Ammann said GM faced limited impact from the Japan crisis, was increasing its auto credit capabilities, and was reducing its exposure to incentives in the U.S. market, according to research notes from Barclays Capital and J.P. Morgan. “Dan emphasized fundamental continuity around GM’s financial strategy and philosophy with his predecessor,” Barclays analyst Brian Johnson said. “Dan plans to continue the low-debt strategy of his predecessor.” [Reuters]

CFOs Think Cloud Computing (Whatever That Is) Might Be Important to Future IT Strategy

Asked about their current use of cloud-computing services, a majority of senior finance executives either have no plans to pursue it in the short term, or are doing so very tentatively. Nearly a third admit that they aren’t even sure what “cloud computing” really means. Yet, when asked how cloud computing might affect their company’s approach to IT longer term, almost half say they believe it will enable a significant restructuring of their entire IT strategy. [CFO]

New Wells Fargo CFO: Arachnophobia Is Partially Responsible for Bank’s Success

It boils down to this: if something has less than eight appendages, it’s cool; greater than eight or more is to be avoided.

“Our business is really pretty simple,” Sloan, 50, said in an interview last week at the bank’s San Francisco headquarters. “When you look at the deal and its structure looks like an octopus or a spider, just don’t do it. That kept us out of a lot of things.”

Wells Fargo’s Sloan Avoids Spiders, Octopuses in Rise to CFO [Bloomberg]

Disney CFO: ESPN Will Be Fine If There’s a NFL Lockout

As the National Football League and the players union continue contract talks, Walt Disney Co. Chief Financial Officer Jay Rasulo was pressed Tuesday to answer questions about how a potential strike or lockout would impact sports juggernaut ESPN. Rasulo expressed confidence that Disney’s lucrative sports network, which has the rights to “Monday Night Football,” could weather the loss of games, telling the audience at Credit Suisse’s Global Media and Communications Convergence Conference that “we’re not that concerned.” [LAT]

Weatherford CFO Not Taking $500 Million Accounting Error Well; CEO Slightly More Upbeat

WTF WFT CFO Andrew Becnel needs a hug:

Weatherford International Ltd. Chief Financial Officer Andrew Becnel called a $500 million accounting error disclosed by the oilfield-service company late Tuesday an “embarrassment,” the damage of which is “impossible to quantify.”

But you know who’s taking this whole snafu in stride? CEO Bernard Duroc-Danner that’s who! BDD told investors on a conference call today that nothing is fucked and that this will all be yesterday’s news in no time:

Chief Executive Bernard Duroc-Danner said there is no risk of a U.S. government investigation or of any tax penalties or fines related to what he characterized as a mistake in calculating the tax rates on dividends moved from one subsidiary to another.

Geez. Give the SEC some credit wouldja? Just because they missed a few things here and there doesn’t mean they won’t ask any questions about your material weaknesses.

Weatherford Finance Chief Calls Accounting Error an ‘Embarrassment’ [WSJ]

A ‘Controversial CFO’ Allegedly Called in Sick for Three Months to Get Married

Is “bridezilla” appropriate here?

The controversial chief financial officer (CFO) of Nkomazi municipality in Mpumalanga, Sheila Mabaso, allegedly submitted a sick note laying her off for three months – only to hold her wedding during that period. Mabaso might be charged with dishonesty after the Mpumalanga municipality discovered that the sick note booking her off for September, October and November was “actually meant for her to prepare for the wedding”. Though Sowetan could not establish who Mabaso got married to, it can reveal that she got married to a pastor from the North West and that the wedding took place in Nelspruit on September 25 last year. Mabaso apparently flew to Malaysia for the honeymoon but allegedly told the municipality she was going to see a specialist doctor.

We’ve never known a CFO to be “controversial” to the point that it goes into print so we Googled “controversial CFO” and it came up with less than 100 items (although Erin Callan did sneak in there). Although, if you read further, one would discover that Ms Mabaso is nothing if not a little sassy:

[She] told Ziwaphi, a local fortnightly newspaper, that getting married while sick was none of anybody’s business. “It’s true that I was sick for three months and I have a doctor’s note to prove it. If I got married in that period, it’s none of their business. Who said a person can’t get married when they are sick?” Mabaso was quoted as saying.

Google CFO: We Win, Facebook Wins, Everybody Wins!

Chief Financial Officer Patrick Pichette on Thursday downplayed the competitive threat from social-networking giant Facebook Inc., arguing that the digital economy will create a “ton of winners.” “Everybody will benefit if the Web is more social,” he said. “It’s not a zero sum game.” [Dow Jones]