Finance and Investing is pleased to announce The Top 25 CFOs of Georgia for 2023. These exceptional individuals play a pivotal role in Georgia's thriving economy, ensuring their respective organizations' financial well-being and progress. As esteemed financial leaders, they manage financial risks, oversee comprehensive financial planning and analysis, and offer invaluable financial guidance to their company's leadership team. Many of Georgia's top CFOs hold key positions in prominent companies spanning diverse industries, such as technology, finance, and healthcare. This year's distinguished awardees, alongside their peers, are actively driving the state's economy forward by implementing prudent financial practices and strategic initiatives that foster growth and stability. Their unwavering dedication and expertise are instrumental in shaping Georgia's economic landscape and contributing to its continued prosperity.
Among this year’s awardees is Mark Eppert, the CFO of the North America Operating Unit at The Coca-Cola Company, who significantly contributed to the transformation and accelerated growth of the unit, resulting in over $3B in additional revenue and $1B in incremental operating income within two years. Awardee Kate Jaspon, Chief Financial Officer of Inspire Brands, is a highly accomplished financial executive with extensive experience in the restaurant industry. She is well-known for her expertise in financial management, strategic planning, and driving operational excellence. Also awarded is Paul Jacobson, Chief Financial Officer of General Motors, who had a successful tenure with Delta Air Lines, Inc., a company he helped transform into one of Fortune magazine's Top 50 Most Admired Companies for six consecutive years.
Please join us in celebrating the accomplishments of The Top 25 CFOs of Georgia for 2023.
1. Kate Jaspon
Chief Financial Officer, Inspire Brands
Kate Jaspon was named Chief Financial Officer of Inspire Brands, a multi-brand restaurant company whose portfolio includes nearly 32,000 Arby’s, Baskin-Robbins, Buffalo Wild Wings, Dunkin’, Jimmy John’s, Rusty Taco, and SONIC Drive-In restaurants worldwide, in June 2021.
Before joining Inspire, Jaspon served as the CFO of Dunkin’ Brands, the former parent company to Dunkin’ and Baskin-Robbins, where she led all finance-related functions and investor relations since 2017. In this role, she oversaw global financial planning and analysis, accounting, financial reporting, tax, treasury, enterprise risk management, payments, insurance, and demand planning functions. During her 15-year tenure with Dunkin’ Brands, Jaspon led several transactions, including the company's IPO and follow-on equity offerings, securitizations and numerous debt transactions, the divestiture of a brand, and the sale to Inspire.
Previously, Jaspon spent eight years at KPMG LLP as an auditor. She is currently a member of the board of directors for W.W. Grainger, Inc., a Fortune 500 B2B business, and the Women’s Foodservice Forum. She also served as a member and audit committee chair of the board of directors for MOD Pizza from 2017 to 2019. Jaspon is a Babson College alumnus and a CPA licensed in Massachusetts.
2. Paul Jacobson
Chief Financial Officer, General Motors
Paul Jacobson joined General Motors as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer in December 2020. Prior to joining GM, Jacobson served as CFO of Delta Air Lines, Inc., a company he helped transform into one of Fortune magazine's Top 50 Most Admired Companies for six consecutive years. He was named the airline industry’s best CFO eight times by Institutional Investor magazine’s poll of Wall Street analysts and investors.
Jacobson graduated from Auburn University with an undergraduate degree in aviation management and later received an MBA from Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management. He serves on the board of trustees for the Auburn University Foundation, The Harbert College of Business Advisory Council at Auburn, and The Owen Graduate School of Management Board of Visitors at Vanderbilt.
3. Brian Newman
EVP & Chief Financial Officer, UPS
Brian is Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at UPS, responsible for the strategic financial leadership of the company, which includes communication of the firm’s strategy and performance to investors as well as managing the capital structure to maximize shareholder return. He oversees the company’s financial processes and controls and has responsibility for Global Procurement, Real Estate and Global Business Services (GBS), including customer service. Brian is also responsible for the company’s Capital Market activity, including Treasury, M&A and UPS Capital. He is a member of the UPS Executive Leadership Team, reporting to the company’s CEO.
Prior to UPS, Brian spent 26 years with PepsiCo and served in a variety of finance leadership roles spanning Europe, Asia, North and South America. A dual citizen of Ireland and the U.S., Brian serves on the board of Georgetown University’s Board of Regents and School of Foreign Service. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and earned an MBA from New York University’s Stern School of Business. Brian also completed Harvard Business School’s executive program for global leadership.
4. Dan Janki
EVP & Chief Financial Officer, Delta Air Lines
Dan Janki is the Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Delta Air Lines. Dan leads Delta's Finance organization. His roles include financial reporting, the controller organization, corporate audit, financial planning, investor relations, treasury, fleet and TechOps supply chain, fuel management and its refinery, supply chain management, and corporate strategy. He also serves on the Delta Leadership Committee, a group of the airline's top executives who work closely with CEO Ed Bastian on the company's strategic vision and direction.
Prior to joining Delta in July 2021, Dan enjoyed a long tenure with General Electric, most recently serving as president and CEO of GE Power Portfolio and SVP of GE. He has over 25 years of experience at GE in various senior roles at GE Energy, GE Capital, GE Global Operations, and GE Corporate. Dan graduated from Ohio State University with degrees in finance and accounting.
5. Peter Austin
Chief Financial Officer, Safran
Peter Austin began his professional career 30 years ago. Today, he is the Chief Financial Officer of Safran, an international high-technology group operating in the aviation, defense, and space markets. Its core purpose is to contribute to a safer, more sustainable world where air transport is more environmentally friendly, comfortable, and accessible. Safran has a global presence, with 79,000 employees, and holds, alone or in partnership, world or European leadership positions in its core markets.
Austin first got his start in 1993 as a controller at Cairns Foods Ltd. Subsequently, he went on to Nestle S.A. before eventually rising to senior controller at OFS, his most recent position prior to joining Safran. Austin graduated from the University of West Georgia with an MBA in business administration, management, and operations and from The Manchester Metropolitan University with a business administration and management degree.
6. Mark Eppert
Chief Financial Officer, The Coca-Cola Company
Mark Eppert is the Chief Financial Officer of the North America Operating Unit at The Coca-Cola Company. He is a trusted financial executive who played a key role in The Coca-Cola Company's North America Operating Unit transformation and growth acceleration leading to over $3B in incremental revenue growth and $1B in incremental operating income over a 2-year period.
During his nearly 25 years with Coca-Cola, Mark has held a variety of other finance and operational positions in the supply chain, the field, and at headquarters. Prior to his career at Coke, he worked at The Flxible Corporation, a manufacturer and assembler of metro-transit buses, where he held several positions in corporate and cost accounting. Born and raised in Columbus, Ohio, Mark attended The Ohio State University, where he received a degree in accounting. He is also a Certified Public Accountant.
7. Bob Moore
Chief Financial Officer, Waffle House
Bob Moore is the Chief Financial Officer of Waffle House. Waffle House currently operates over 1,700 company units and roughly 250 franchise units. As of 2017, Waffle House, Inc. is the 4th largest operator of restaurants in America. They proudly employ over 36,000 associates to serve their customers and communities 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Moore has 32 years of experience. He began his career in 1991.
Before joining Waffle House, Moore was an associate director of finance at BellSouth Telecommunications and a revenue assurance manager at Southern Company. Earlier in his career, he worked with MCI as an internal auditor, supervisor, and manager. Moore graduated from Georgia State University with an MBA in finance and an undergraduate degree in business and accounting from the University of Pittsburgh.
8. Lorna Street
Chief Financial Officer, American Greetings
Lorna Street is the current Chief Financial Officer at American Greetings, the global leader in celebrations, focused on helping consumers honor the people and moments in life that matter. She believes in purposeful leadership, sustainable performance, and fostering a culture where talent can thrive. Lorna enjoys helping companies develop the agility to invest and innovate in times of rapid growth as well as manage through operational and digital transformations. She is committed to talent development, building diverse teams, and mentoring women in finance.
Prior to American Greetings, Lorna was CFO at Kids2, a market leader in the infant products sector with many innovative and award-winning toy and gear products. Previously, she held finance leadership positions at Nestle, Morgan Stanley, and PricewaterhouseCoopers. She serves on the national board of trustees of the March of Dimes, leading the fight for the health of all mothers and infants by advocating for policies to protect them and working to radically improve the health care they receive.
Lorna Street has an MBA from Harvard Business School and an undergraduate degree in economics from the University of Geneva. Lorna also has a CPA certification from the Tennessee State Board of Accountancy.
9. David Afshar
Chief Financial Officer, Aveanna Healthcare
Dave Afshar brings more than 20 years of public accounting, regulatory, and healthcare industry experience to Aveanna. He joined the Aveanna management team in February 2018 and is responsible for finance, accounting, tax, treasury, and billing office operations. He serves as the company’s Chief Financial Officer.
Prior to Aveanna, Afshar served eight years as CFO of ApolloMD, a large multispecialty physician practice. He has also served as an inspections leader with the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, where he led inspections of the “Big Four” audit firms. In addition, he has served as chief accounting officer and interim CFO with Regency Hospital Company, a long-term acute care provider.
Afshar received his undergraduate degree in accounting from the University of Maryland. He started his career with Ernst & Young, where he spent most of his time in the health sciences practice and was a senior manager.
10. Pavan Bhalla
Chief Financial Officer, Vialto Partners
Pavan Bhalla is the Chief Financial Officer for Vialto Partners, a Clayton, Dubilier & Rice portfolio company. It is the largest independent global mobility company focused on disrupting and transforming the global mobility ecosystem. Vialto Partners comprises over 6000 dedicated tax, immigration, HR, and technology professionals worldwide supporting multinational organizations and their cross-border employees.
Pavan was previously a partner at FCM LLC., a full-service consulting firm that serves some of the largest private equity firms in the world and their portfolio companies. He was president of the HR and financial solutions at Alight, where he oversaw and led all aspects of the company’s cloud-based HR, payroll, and financial services platform business, deployment, and full-service outsourcing services. Prior to that, he was CEO of Aon's HR Outsourcing business which was carved out (now Alight) and sold to private equity for $5B. He served in multiple leadership roles at Aon. Prior to Aon, he was CFO of Harris Interactive and corporate controller of Hewitt Associates.
Pavan has an MBA in analytic finance from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and an MBA in management information systems from Simon Fraser University, Canada. He is a Certified Public Accountant from Illinois.
11. Eric Bryan
Chief Financial Officer, Plumbing Distributors, Inc.
Eric Bryan serves as the Chief Financial Officer at Plumbing Distributors, Inc (PDI). Throughout the past 47 years, PDI has experienced remarkable growth, evolving from modest origins into a prominent wholesale distribution firm that currently hires over 280 individuals across three states. Eric's association with the company spans over 12 years, during which he began as a corporate management trainee and subsequently held diverse positions such as corporate controller, distribution center manager, and director of finance. Eric attained his undergraduate degree in accounting and finance from Georgia State University.
12. Jay Putnam
Chief Financial Officer, LendingPoint
Jay Putnam serves as Chief Financial Officer of LendingPoint and is responsible for overseeing accounting, financial planning and analysis, treasury, tax, and financial operations for the company. Jay has more than 18 years in the consumer finance industry and has significant experience in financial reporting, capital markets activity, and strategic and financial planning.
Prior to joining LendingPoint, Jay served as Chief Financial Officer of U.S. Auto Sales, Inc., a leading used vehicle retailer that provides in-house financing primarily to the non-prime market. Prior to U.S. Auto, he was a director at Atlanticus Holdings Corporation, a technology-enabled consumer finance company. He earned an undergraduate degree in accounting from The University of Alabama and a master’s degree in accounting from the University of Virginia.
13. Eric Naughton
Chief Financial Officer, View Point Health
Eric Naughton is currently the Chief Financial Officer at View Point Health. View Point Health is a community behavioral health center utilizing a team of psychiatrists, nurses, licensed counselors, social workers, and other professionals to provide services to individuals who need treatment and support to cope with mental illness, substance abuse, and intellectual and developmental disabilities. They serve uninsured, underinsured, low-income Medicaid, Medicare, war veterans, and some private insurance across multiple locations with a full continuum of behavioral health services and supports. Their services have helped reduce homelessness, crime, and incarcerations, increase graduation rates, lower dropout rates, decrease ER visits, and decrease inpatient admissions.
Prior to his current role, Eric was the budget director at Suffolk County, where he ensured effective management of the County Budget Office with a focus on compliance with Suffolk County's Charter while enhancing the financial stability of the County through monitoring and managing revenues, expenses and hiring of personnel. Eric also oversaw the development of County financial policies and procedures to ensure the efficient and effective utilization of resources. Additionally, he monitored and formalized the annual County operating budget, multi-year plan, and capital program while maintaining vital services.
Eric has an undergraduate degree in finance from The Wharton School and a Certificate of Local Government Management - Levels I, II, and III from the University of Georgia - Carl Vinson Institute of Government.
14. Stephen Payne
Chief Financial Officer, Aylo Health
Stephen Payne began his professional career 32 years ago. Today, he is the Chief Financial Officer of Aylo Health. Aylo Health provides healthcare to patients in Atlanta, Georgia, and surrounding areas. They offer a network of primary care, endocrinology, imaging, sleep, and pediatric services with extended hours and weekend appointments. Payne has over 25 years of experience in public accounting, public and private companies, and established and start-up environments. He has broad experience in the healthcare industry, including pharma, healthcare IT, and provider services.
Payne first got his start in 1991 as an audit senior at Arthur Andersen. Subsequently, he went on to BMC Software before eventually rising to CFO at Kemberton Healthcare Services, his most recent position prior to joining Aylo Health. Payne graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with an MBA and from the University of Mississippi with an undergraduate degree in English.
15. Michael Hajost
Chief Financial Officer, Danimer Scientific
Michael A. Hajost holds the position of Chief Financial Officer at Danimer Scientific, Inc. Danimer Scientific is a pioneer in creating more sustainable, natural ways to make plastic products. For more than a decade, their renewable and sustainable biopolymers have helped create plastic products that are biodegradable and compostable. They return to nature instead of polluting lands and waters. Hajost is also on the board of Kalyani Carpenter Special Steels Ltd.
Previously, Hajost occupied the position of CFO and SVP of Accuride Corp. He also served as treasurer, VP, and head of investor relations at Carpenter Technology Corp. and CFO of Strategic Materials, Inc. He held leadership roles within Guidant Corp. and Swift & Co. as well. Hajost received an undergraduate degree from the U.S. Military Academy and an MBA from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business.
16. Dimitry Saknovsky
Chief Financial Officer, Harrison Poultry, Inc.
Dimitry Saknovsky began his professional career 22 years ago. Today, he is the Chief Financial Officer of Harrison Poultry, Inc., an important integrator and processor of broilers. In 1958, the late R. Harold Harrison, one of the U.S. poultry industry’s original leaders, founded the company in Bethlehem, Georgia. Since its founding 60 years ago, they have led the way in developing today’s sophisticated structure that provides safe, affordable, nutritious, convenient, and tasty poultry.
Saknovsky first got his start in 2001 as a senior analyst at Bank One. Subsequently, he went on to PricewaterhouseCoopers before eventually rising to become the VP of finance at WTI Inc., his most recent position prior to joining Harrison Poultry, Inc. Saknovsky graduated from The University of Chicago Booth School of Business with an MBA in strategic management, operations management, and finance and from Gies College of Business - the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with an undergraduate degree in accounting and finance.
17. Nancy Comerford
Chief Financial Officer, Atlanta Network Technologies, Inc./Antonline.com
Nancy Comerford began her professional career 28 years ago. Today, she is the Chief Financial Officer of Atlanta Network Technologies, Inc./Antonline.com. Antonline is America’s premier online reseller of cutting-edge computer and gaming technology. Founded in 1994, Antonline is a unique gaming and computer hub with an extensive selection from the industry's highest-quality manufacturers. They partner with the best to bring their loyal customers the best products and services.
Comerford graduated from the University of North Florida with an MBA in business and an undergraduate degree in business from the University of Central Florida.
18. Greg Greenlow
Chief Financial & Compliance Officer, Alliant Health Solutions
Greg Greenlow is Alliant Health Solution’s Chief Financial and Compliance Officer responsible for the organization’s day-to-day financial management and corporate compliance program related to state and federal regulations, requirements, ethics, and program integrity. Greg brings extensive accounting and finance experience to Alliant, with more than 25 years specializing in government contracting. He is a results-driven professional with a passion for improving financial performance through innovative improvement initiatives.
Greg joined the Alliant team as controller in 2015. Previously, he served as assistant controller of accounting at L-3 Technologies, a Fortune 500 company and leader in the development and production of visualization systems for the government, where he was responsible for managing closings, budgeting, forecasting, and developing procedures for efficiencies, control, and government compliance. Greg led the accounting, audit, and export teams and served as the point of contact for all external government audits. Additionally, he supported new business development and export functions for programs totaling $110+ million in revenue. Prior to that, he was a public accountant for the 9th largest accounting firm in the U.S.
Greg holds an undergraduate degree in accounting and business administration from the University of Baltimore. He is a certified public accountant and a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants.
19. Kevin Swanson
Chief Financial Officer, United Forming, Inc.
Kevin Swanson is the Chief Financial Officer at United Forming. He has over 25 years of experience in the financial industry. Kevin started his career as an auditor with Coopers & Lybrand in 1982. In 1986, he became a financial reporting analyst with Mobil Oil's Container Corporation Division. The following year, Kevin was promoted to CFO of Pella Window and Door of GA, Inc. He held this position for 13 years until he left to become the CFO of United Forming in 2000.
After receiving his undergraduate degree in accounting from Augustana College, Kevin became a Certified Construction Industry Financial Professional through the Institute of Certified Construction Industry Financial Professionals. Kevin is also a Certified Public Accountant in Illinois.
20. Dave Morgan
Chief Financial Officer, ClearStar
Dave Morgan began his professional career 35 years ago. Today, he is the Chief Financial Officer of ClearStar, a leading HR technology company specializing in background, drug, and health screening services for employment. A portfolio company of Hanover Investors and a founding member of the Professional Background Screening Association, ClearStar has provided innovative technology solutions to businesses in the human capital management industry since 1995 from its corporate offices in Alpharetta, Georgia.
Morgan first got his start in 1988 as an audit manager at Arthur Andersen. Subsequently, he went on to MAPICS before eventually becoming a chief financial officer at Influence Health, his most recent position prior to joining ClearStar. Morgan graduated from the University of Georgia - Terry College of Business with an undergraduate degree in accounting.
21. Melissa Williams
Chief Financial Officer, Gresco Utility Supply
Melissa Williams is the Chief Financial Officer of Gresco Utility Supply. She first joined the company in 2001 as a controller. For over 60 years, Gresco has served the utility and electrical supply needs of hundreds of customers in the Southeast region. It is their mission to serve their industry partners in a manner that exceeds expectations at a price that is within budget.
Previously, Williams was an auditor at McNair, McLemore, Middlebrooks & Co., LLC. She earned an MBA and an undergraduate degree in accounting from Mercer University.
22. Jim Fischman
Chief Financial Officer, Marena
Jim Fischman has spent two decades in the manufacturing sector serving in multiple roles, including division finance, investor relations, and corporate controller. In his roles, he built strong teams that regularly outperformed their objectives and sought opportunities in which finance and accounting would add forward-looking value. Currently, he serves as the Chief Financial Officer of Marena.
Jim has expertise in the medical device, apparel, consumer products, and energy markets. He is experienced in M&A, building multinational finance and accounting teams, implementing systems, automating processes to eliminate waste, and understands the end-to-end business processes. His extensive international experience includes acquiring multiple foreign entities, establishing operations globally, and running operations and finance teams abroad.
Jim holds an undergraduate accounting degree from The University of Georgia and an MBA in finance from Georgia State University. He is also a Certified Public Accountant.
23. Geoff Brannon
Chief Financial Officer, Rootstock
Geoff Brannon is the CFO of Rootstock Software. In this role, he oversees the finance, HR, and IT functions to provide daily solid operational support for the business and to enable strategic decisions for growth and investment opportunities. Geoff brings over 20 years of experience leading financial planning and analysis, treasury, accounting, M&A, compliance, and financial reporting functions in global technology organizations. Throughout his career, he has focused on ensuring operational excellence at companies that offered various solutions, including software, hardware, and professional services, which helped customers address their complex business needs.
Prior to joining Rootstock, Geoff served as CFO at Oversight, where he helped manage a successful exit strategy via a private equity acquisition. Prior to that, he was the division CFO of NCR Corporation’s hospitality business. He joined NCR through the acquisition of Radiant Systems in 2011, where he was corporate controller after a successful progression of various management roles in its accounting function. Geoff also worked at LSI Corporation, which has since been acquired by Broadcom Limited, and started his career in the assurance practice of KPMG. Geoff holds an undergraduate degree in accounting and an MBA in finance from Georgia State University.
24. Adam Sheridan
Chief Financial Officer, Prime Retail Services
Adam Sheridan is the Chief Financial Officer of Prime Retail Services. He first joined the company in 2021 as director of finance. Prime Retail Services is a trusted industry leader with a strong reputation in retail construction, fixture installation, and merchandising. Prime’s team of professionals provides exceptional service to Fortune 500 companies and small businesses in the United States and Canada. They offer a wide range of services, including remodels, new store set-ups, and resets/rollouts.
Previously, Sheridan was a digital instructional design product innovation team member at SSE Inc before becoming a management consultant. Earlier in his career, he worked with USAF as a safety officer. Sheridan earned an MBA from Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business and an undergraduate degree in business from Georgia Institute of Technology.
25. Bradley White
Chief Financial Officer, Green Cubes Technology
Bradley White is the Chief Financial Officer of Green Cubes Technology, a designer and manufacturer of lithium power systems. With over 30 years of successful designs by expert engineers, they take their time to make sure each system will exceed the safety and performance it was designed to meet. White has 25 years of experience. He began his career in 1998.
Prior to joining Green Cubes Technology, White was a CFO at Cowart Mulch Products Inc before becoming a VP, controller, and principal accounting officer at PRGX. Earlier in his career, he worked as a treasurer at Innovo Group, Inc. White graduated from The University of Alabama with an undergraduate degree in accounting.