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How Much to Rent a CFO VeriFone SEC Filing Offers Hard Numbers

August 25, 2008
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The internal investigation that VeriFone completed earlier this year revealed that the electronic-payments company didn’t have effective controls over financial reporting—a deficiency that forced the company to restate most of its 2007 earnings. Now it appears that the investigation has also resulted in the revelation of yet another juicy nugget: the going rate to rent a CFO.

VeriFone, whose former CFO Barry Zwarenstein announced his resignation in April after the company’s probe wrapped up, has tapped an outside consulting firm to provide it with a temporary finance chief until the company can find a full-time replacement.

Tatum, an Atlanta-based consultancy, inked a deal with VeriFone to contract out one of its professionals—Clinton Knowles, a former CFO for one of Oracle’s support services groups—to serve as the company’s finance head.

The agreement, which was first hammered out in May, calls for Knowles to receive $24,500 a month in his interim role, according to a filing VeriFone made Tuesday, August 19, when Zwarenstein’s resignation became official.

In addition to the monthly salary, VeriFone also agreed to pay Tatum a fee of $10,500 for every month that Knowles serves as interim CFO.

An annualized bonus has been worked into the agreement as well, which allows the company to pay out as much as $60,000 if “certain operating objectives” are achieved—with Knowles eligible to receive up to 70 percent of this bonus. Tatum would collect the remaining 30 percent.

So in total, this means VeriFone could pay out as much as $480,000 over 12 months to contract out Knowles. By comparison, Zwarenstein earned roughly $570,000 in salary and bonus in 2006 as the company’s full-time CFO (more recent data on his compensation was not available).

How long Knowles will remain in this role, however, remains to be seen. But there’s a clause in the agreement that would allow VeriFone to make Knowles CFO on a permanent basis if it chooses.

VeriFone spokesman Peter Bartolik said the company is in the final stages of its search to find a permanent CFO and that he expects the company will announce the hiring of a new finance chief shortly.

Filed by Mark Bruno of Financial Week, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail editors@workforce.com.

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