FEI Announces 2018 Financial Executive of the Year and Distinguished Service Award Recipients

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Four Peer-Nominated Professionals Earn National Honors for Career Contributions Alongside Two Individuals Recognized for Distinguished Achievements and Service

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We are privileged to have the opportunity to recognize such extraordinary individuals who excel not only at their professional responsibilities, but at impacting the communities around them.

Financial Executives International (FEI), the association of choice for CFOs and other senior-level finance executives, today announced the six individuals receiving the organization’s highest honors for 2018.

The nationwide awards program, now in its second year, recognizes peer-nominated individuals who have made considerable impact within their companies or organizations. Nominees are not required to hold FEI memberships.

Several criteria are considered by the Selection Committee for each nominee when determining award winners. Those criteria include: leadership, team development, responsibility, planning and budgeting, control and reporting, social responsibility, and innovation. Nominees are then assessed for use of judgment and insight to shape strategic organizational direction; ability to drive growth or mitigate a financial crisis; impact on their colleagues’ professional growth; mentorship; impact on organizational and community issues; and more.

The 2018 award recipients by category include:

  • Private Company: Stephan Carnesi, Chief Financial Officer, G&J Pepsi-Cola Bottlers, Inc.

Stephan has been Chief Financial Officer at G&J Pepsi-Cola Bottlers Inc. since January 2014 and serves as its Senior Vice President. He joined G&J in 2013 as Vice President of Finance with more than fifteen years of financial expertise from his prior roles with Procter and Gamble, Honeywell International, and Price Waterhouse Coopers.

Stephan’s award-winning accomplishments stem from his ability to build bridges within a company, establishing more effective cross-collaboration. From his perspective, his department’s key contribution is to provide necessary financial tools and information to colleagues responsible for handling day-to-day business operations and sales. Throughout his term, he has successfully shifted his team’s role from simply “number crunching” to enabling the business as a trusted advisor—a shift that has contributed to profitable growth.

  • Public Company – Small/Med-Size: Anup Singh, former Chief Financial Officer, Nimble Storage, Inc.

Now the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Anaplan, Anup held the role of Nimble Storage’s Chief Financial Officer from November 2011 through May 2017. He led the company through a period of hyper growth including the completion of a successful IPO on the NYSE in 2013 until its acquisition by Hewlett Packard Enterprise in April 2017. Prior to Nimble Storage, Anup served as CFO at Clearwell Systems (acquired by Symantec) and CFO at Warranty Corporation of America (an Asurion company). Previously, Anup was an executive officer at Trimble Navigation, and also held leadership positions in finance at Excite@Home, 3Com, and Ernst & Young LLP.

Anup’s award winning accomplishments are demonstrated across several initiatives within Nimble that benefited from his positive leadership style and commitment to building a world-class team and productive culture around him. His focus on improving the company’s linearity resulted in partner engagement processes and a more effective channel partner incentive program. He then led the company through a successful, well-executed IPO. This achievement ultimately led to a healthy company valuation and successful acquisition by Hewlett Packard Enterprise, which occurred under his guidance.

  • Public Company – Large: Chuck Serianni, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Republic Services, Inc.

Chuck is responsible for maximizing shareholder value by driving long-term profitable growth and efficiently allocating capital, managing enterprise risk and enhancing the company’s internal controls environment. He oversees financial analysis and planning, accounting, treasury, business transformation, investor relations, internal audit and tax for Republic Services.

Chuck’s commitment to being “good business partners” is largely behind his award win. Early on in his role, he focused heavily on realigning where the finance team spent time, ensuring that strategic work accounted for the majority of their day-to-day responsibilities. To do this, Chuck consolidated same systems initially spread across numerous locations and individual processes to minimize unconstructive “busy work.” His continued contribution to Republic Services’ success included in depth analysis and consideration of tax planning opportunities that would minimize associated risk and ultimately lower the effective tax rate, while also implementing new strategies to better manage liabilities such as debt.

  • Non-Profit Organization: Paul Velaski, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer, Silicon Valley Community Foundation

Paul joined the Silicon Valley Community Foundation in mid 2014 and was promoted to his current roles in September 2015. Having started his career at Arthur Andersen, he quickly transitioned to the charitable sector taking a position with the Special Olympics. He then served as vice president and chief financial officer of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of America, and also as interim president and CEO of that organization prior to joining the Arizona Community Foundation.

Paul earned his award win by strengthening the relationship between his department and the development team as well as modernizing many business processes that would simplify the internal money management experience and create value for donors. For example, he established the ability for donors to maintain preferred asset managers when dealing with the foundation. He also shifted to the more cost-effective solution of electronic payment processing for accounts payable as well as the grant payments—minimizing errors and delays in invoicing and money transfers. Further, his commitment to non-profit work extends beyond his day job. He currently sits on three Special Olympics boards, having first volunteered for the organization in 1986 as well as having served as one of the leaders responsible for the Special Olympics’ first profitable World Games in 1989.

“We are privileged to have the opportunity to recognize such extraordinary individuals who excel not only at their professional responsibilities, but at impacting the communities around them,” said Andrej Suskavcevic, CAE, President and CEO, FEI. “This is our second year taking on the difficult task of vetting winners in categories filled with several notable financial executives. All entrants demonstrated the best of what the profession has to offer. Thank you to all who nominated their colleagues, all of the nominees, and all of the FEI members responsible for bringing this awards program together. And, congratulations to the recipients. You stood out among a crowd of high performers and have set a new bar for what financial executives can and should strive to achieve.”

FEI would like to acknowledge and thank Deloitte for sponsoring the Private Company category; Robert Half and Protiviti for sponsoring the Public Company – Small/Med-Size category; and Greenlight Technologies for sponsoring the Public Company – Large category.

Recipients of the Distinguished Service Award are individuals who have demonstrated exemplary service to the organization that consistently ranks above and beyond their chartered responsibilities. They exhibit extraordinary commitment and purpose within their local Chapters as well as at the National level. This year’s honorees include:

  • James Abel, former Interim President and Chief Executive officer, CPI Corporation

A member of FEI since 1982, Jim has held several roles within the organization at the local Chapter level and National level. He first served as President of the Northeast Ohio Chapter from 1990 to 1991. Jim then joined the FEI Board of Directors and served as the annual Financial Leadership Summit Conference Chair and Board Chair before serving as FEI’s President and Chief Executive Officer from May 2008 to February 2009.

  • Susan Gidley, Partner, Gidley Management Group

Involved with FEI since 1998, Susan serves as the Chicago Chapter’s Administrator. Her contributions range from managing day-to-day operations and supporting the Board of Directors to overseeing marketing and communications as well as participating in several Chapter committees.

Presentation of the above awards will occur during FEI’s annual Financial Leadership Summit, May 20-22, at the Marriott Marquis Downtown in Houston, Texas. Recipients of the Financial Executive of the Year award will be celebrated during the Awards ceremony reception on May 20 at 6:00 p.m.

Financial Executives International (FEI) is the leading advocate for the views of corporate financial management. Its more than 10,000 members hold policy-making positions as chief financial officers, treasurers and controllers at companies from every major industry. FEI enhances member professional development through peer networking, career management services, conferences, research and publications. Members participate in the activities of more than 65 Chapters in the U.S. and a Chapter in Japan. FEI is located in Morristown, NJ. Visit http://www.financialexecutives.org for more information.


Claudine Cornelis                         
Crimson Communicates                     
(845) 424-6342                            

Lili DeVita
Financial Executives International
(973) 765-1021

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Claudine Cornelis
Crimson Communicates
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Lili DeVita
Financial Executives International
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