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Column: Home Depot’s Tomé, Coca-Cola’s Waller make national top CFOs list

By Maria Saporta
As published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on Aug. 5, 2016

Two of the nation’s top 25 chief financial officers are based in Atlanta — and both of them are women, according to a new report from ExecRank.

Carol Tomé, CFO of The Home Depot Inc., was ranked No. 9; and Kathy Waller, CFO of The Coca-Cola Co., was ranked No. 23.

ExecRank is an executive search services company. It describes itself as the largest global marketplace for advisers and board members.

The chart ranks the top CFOs and financial executives of major U.S. companies, based on a 24-point methodology that includes experience in the executive role, business results during the CFO’s tenure, board appointments, professional achievements, published thought leadership, and technology adoption as well as industry or professional reputation.

In describing Tomé, ExecRank said she has served as CFO since May 2001 and became executive vice president of corporate services in January 2007.

“She provides leadership on real estate, store construction, financial services, and strategic business development,” ExecRank stated in ranking Tomé as the 9th best CFO in the country.

In an email, Tomé said she had not seen the ranking, but she was flattered.

“It’s an honor to be recognized, but when I look at the methodology, there is no doubt that this recognition belongs to not only my whole team, but to every orange-blooded Home Depot associate,” Tomé said. “I’m proud to represent them!”

In describing Waller’s ranking, ExecRank said she “is responsible for leading the company’s global finance organization and representing the company to investors, lenders and rating agencies.” She oversees M&A, investor relations, treasury, and audit.

The top-ranked CFO in the country is also a woman — Ruth M. Porat, CFO and senior vice president of Alphabet Inc. since Oct. 2, 2015. Porat also has been the CFO and senior vice president at Google Inc. since May 26, 2015. She has been the lead banker on “numerous milestone technology rounds, including for Amazon, eBay, Netscape, Priceline and Verisign as well as for The Blackstone Group, GE and the NYSE.”

Of the top 25 CFOs in the list, four are women and 21 are men.

Mercy Care Foundation

Steve Siler, a campaign director for Coxe Curry & Associates for the last three years, has been named as the new president of the Mercy Care Foundation, beginning Aug. 8.

He replaces Bonnie Hardage, who served as president from 2012 to 2016. She left the Mercy Care Foundation to join the Jesse Parker Williams Foundation in May.

Steve Siler

Steve Siler

“Steve’s background and history with Mercy Care makes him a perfect fit,” said Tom Andrews, president and CEO of Saint Joseph’s Health System which includes Mercy Care, Mercy Care Rome and Mercy Care Foundation.

“We were impressed with Steve in 2013 when he worked on Mercy Care’s capital campaign feasibility study,” Andrews continued in a statement. “At the same time, he learned to love our mission and understand the impact we have on the community. “

Before Coxe Curry, Siler spent five years with the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta as executive director of the stewardship office. He spent 15 years at St. Pius X Catholic High School, first as a teacher and coach and then as director of development for nine years prior to joining the Archdiocese of Atlanta.

“I am honored to have the opportunity to work for an organization with such a rich and lengthy history in Atlanta,” Siler said. “Mercy Care’s healing ministry meets already vulnerable people at their most vulnerable times of illness — many of whom have nowhere else to turn. Few things could be more rewarding than helping to relieve people of their suffering and return them to health.”

Siler is taking the helm at an important time. In early 2017, Mercy Care will open the 45,000-square-foot Mercy Care facility in Chamblee, which will serve the primary care needs of the area’s Hispanic, elderly and lower-income population. The organization also is planning two fundraising events this fall — the annual Mercy Care Golf Classic on Sept. 19 and the Harvest Hootenanny on Oct. 23, a new event created to support Mercy Care at the City of Refuge.

TAG and Tino

Tino Mantella, president of the Technology Association of Georgia for the past 12 years, will be stepping down later this year for what he hopes will be another role in the Atlanta community.

Mantella was the keynote speaker at the Rotary Club of Atlanta on Aug. 1 when attorney John Yates introduced him as the person who saved TAG.

When Mantella took over TAG, the organization was struggling financially and it was uncertain if it would make it.

Today, TAG has become the largest technology trade association in the United States with more than 32,000 members and 34 affiliated societies and groups.

“I had the great honor and opportunity to work with TAG for 12 years,” Mantella told Rotarians. “I’m amazed at the change that’s taken place.”

He then went through his Top 10 list of what makes Georgia special in the technology space.

No. 10: Fiber. “We have more fiber than Metamucil,” he joked. Specifically, Atlanta is a transmission hub for fiber and Wi-Fi routes.

No. 9: Jobs market. Mantella said there are 85,000 openings for software application professionals in Georgia with only 12,000 applications — showing the need to continue developing the workforce.

No. 8: Atlanta now ranks No. 5 among the top 10 cities to build and grow a business.

No. 7: Tech security. Georgia now has 115 companies in the cybersecurity space.

No. 6: Atlanta and Georgia as innovation centers. “There are over 100 innovation centers all over Georgia, and particularly Atlanta is well positioned to meet the opportunity,” he said.

No. 5: Coke, the Cloud and the Internet of Things (IOT). Mantella described it as where “physical meets virtual.”

No. 4: Technology clusters. Health IT, financial technology, digital entertainment and online gaming are just some of those top clusters.

No. 3: Emerging technology spaces. Mantella mentioned all the companies moving from the suburbs to the city to be closer to a younger population of workers.

No. 2: Money. Georgia jumped from No. 11 to No. 5 in one year with $2.94 billion in investment for technology.

No. 1: The kids love us. The Atlanta Beltline, the universities, the job opportunities and other quality-of-life issues have made the city and state attractive for millennials.

When asked what was Georgia’s biggest challenge, Mantella said, “Talent, talent, talent.”

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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