Executive Alert: Ash Grove nabs Dairy Farmers CFO, St. Louis entrepreneurs honored

Executive Alert is a weekly report on career moves, awards and recognition and other top news about executives from across the Show-Me State.


Career moves

David Meyer, the CFO of Dairy Farmers of America, has been hired to fill the same role at Ash Grove Cement. He will also serve as a vice president. The position has been vacant since former CFO Randy Vance was promoted to president and COO in 2014. In 2013, the Kansas City Business Journal recognized Meyer as its CFO of the Year.

David Meyer, Ash Grove Cement CFO
David Meyer

Marie-Hélène Bernard will take over as president and CEO of the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra on July 1. Previously, Bernard served as an executive director and CEO for the Handel and Haydn Society in Boston. She has also worked with the Philadelphia Orchestra, Cleveland Orchestra and Canton (Ohio) Orchestra.

John Huff, Missouri Insurance Director, is the new president of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. Huff was elected to the position by members of association. Huff, from Potosi, has led the Missouri Department of Insurance since 2009.

Scott Wittkop is the new president and COO of McCarthy Hodlings, the St. Louis-based holding company behind McCarthy Building Co. Wittkop has replaces Derek Glanvill, who has left the company after 20 years. Wittkop has worked at McCarthy for 29 years, most recently serving as president of the company’s Central Division in St. Louis.

The Hawthorn Foundation named Margaret Onken as its new interim executive director. Based in Jefferson City, the foundation is a nonprofit organization that helps fund economic development in Missouri. Onken is a political and civic fundraiser who has previously worked as an adviser and fundraiser for Gov. Jay Nixon.

Debra Hoffman has been elected as chairperson of the board of trustees at Logan University, a chiropractic college in Chesterfield. Hoffman, who has served on the board of trustees since 2006, replaces Steven Roberts. She will serve as chair until 2016.

Awards and recognition

AOL co-founder Steve Case (center) presents a $100,000 check to the Synek Draft System team for winning the Rise of the Rest pitch contest in St. Louis on October 10, 2014. | Courtesy of Rise of the Rest/Flickr
AOL co-founder Steve Case (center) presents a $100,000 check to the Synek Draft System team for winning the Rise of the Rest pitch contest in St. Louis on October 10, 2014. | Courtesy of Rise of the Rest/Flickr

The inaugural Upstart 100 list includes a pair of entrepreneurs from St. Louis startups: Robin Rath of Pixel Press and Steve Young of Synek Draft Systems. Upstart, a publication of the American City Business Journals, created the list to recognize people who are reshaping business. St. Louis native Sam Altman, who’s the president of Silicon Valley accelerator Y Combinator, also made the list.

Five St. Louis-area health care executives were named to Becker’s Hospital Review’s list of “100 hospital and healthcare CIOs to know.” The list recognized outstanding performance to bring innovation in the health care industry. It includes: Mark Barner, senior vice president and CIO of Ascension Health Information; Gilbert Hoffman, vice president and CIO of Mercy; Philip Loftus, senior vice president and CIO of SSM Health; Jerry Vuchak, vice president of information systems at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and David Weiss, senior vice president and CIO of BJC HealthCare.

In the news

Wendy Guilles, acting president and CEO of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation | Courtesy of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation
Wendy Guilles | Courtesy of the Kauffman Foundation

Wendy Guilles, the acting president and CEO of the Kansas City-based Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, delivered the foundation’s annual State of Entrepreneurship address Wednesday, emphasizing entrepreneurship as a key to economic renewal in the U.S. Guilles said baby boomers and millennials will play particularly important roles in the success of the innovative, young companies that can create jobs and help the American economy thrive.

Kenneth Hannah, the new chief financial officer at Brown Shoe Co. will have a higher starting salary than his predecessor, Russell Hammer. Hannah, 46, who previously worked as CFO of JC Penney, will earn a $625,000 base salary from the St. Louis footwear company, an increase over Hammer’s base pay of $489,250.


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