Finance and Investing is pleased to announce The Top 25 CFOs of North Carolina for 2023. With its unique combination of Southern charm and business-friendly environment, North Carolina's economy has seen aggressive growth over the past several decades. Notably, the state's strategic location on the East Coast has helped it become the ideal home for numerous industries, including pharmaceuticals, technology, and banking. For instance, Charlotte has grown to become the second-largest banking center in the nation. Meanwhile, situated near the state capital of Raleigh, the Research Triangle Park is now home to more than 200 cutting-edge companies that employ over 50,000 people. A multitude of highly skilled professionals, including our esteemed awardees, leverage their deep financial expertise and extensive professional backgrounds to offer invaluable guidance and support for the Tar Heel State.
One of this year's distinguished awardees is Rod Samples, who holds the position of CFO at Sunbelt Rentals. With an impressive 38 years of experience, Samples specializes in financial strategy and execution for his company, which brought in $2.3 billion in revenue for 2022. Another deserving recipient is Michael Utt, who began his professional career 23 years ago and now serves as CFO at BNI Global, a leading business referral organization that supports 300,000 member businesses in over 75 countries worldwide. In 2022, BNI members generated $20.4 billion in revenue via more than 13 million referrals. Lastly, we honor Fred Hargett, who serves as CFO for Novant Health, an integrated network that consists of more than 1,600 physicians and 29,000 employees–at more than 640 locations.
Please join us in celebrating the accomplishments of The Top 25 CFOs of North Carolina for 2023.
1. Uwe Halbing
Chief Financial Officer, Schaeffler
Since November 1, 2021, Uwe Halbing has served as Chief Financial Officer for Schaeffler, which is based in Fort Mill, South Carolina. In this role, Halbing is responsible for all finance functions and information technology –covering engineering, sales, and manufacturing operations– across eight countries. Previously, he served as Automotive Controlling, Americas; and CFO for the U.S., where he was responsible for the planning and financial reporting of Americas Automotive business, and for the compliance of the financial results of the Schaeffler U.S. legal entities. Halbing also previously served as Director of Controlling for North America. In that role, he successfully led the implementation of the company’s new finance module of the standard Schaeffler enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. Before that, he spent six years in Stratford, Canada as Automotive Production Controller for North America. He joined Schaeffler in 1995. During his long tenure with the company, he has held roles of increasing responsibility in both Germany and the Americas region.
Halbing earned a degree in business and mechanical engineering from the University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt. He’s also completed an apprenticeship program in agricultural sciences.
2. Jill McConnell
Chief Financial Officer, Fortrea
Since May 2023, Jill McConnell has served as the Chief Financial Officer at Fortrea, a clinical development company that provides phase I-IV clinical trial management, regulatory guidance, patient access solutions, and market access consulting. The company was founded in 2023 and is based in Burlington, North Carolina. Previously, McConnell spent nearly five years as SVP and CFO for Covance, which is a division of LabCorp.
Earlier in her career, she spent more than 16 years at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), working in a variety of finance roles. This includes serving as SVP and CFO of ViiV Healthcare, a joint venture between GSK, Pfizer, and Shionogi. During her tenure at GSK, McConnell had the opportunity to take leadership roles outside of the U.S., working in both Ireland and the U.K. During this time, she was also a member of the North Carolina State Chamber of Commerce, including their Executive and Foundation Committees. At GSK, she championed Inclusion and Diversity initiatives; and served leadership roles on two employee resource groups that worked to advance and foster advancement and inclusion for all ethnicities. McConnell is a CPA and has an MBA from Saint Joseph’s University.
3. Melissa Packer
Chief Financial Officer, LifePoint Health
Melissa Packer is the Chief Financial Officer of LifePoint Health, a leading healthcare provider that serves patients, clinicians, communities, and partner organizations across the healthcare continuum. Driven by a mission of making communities healthier, the company has a growing diversified healthcare delivery network of more than 50,000 dedicated employees, 62 community hospital campuses, more than 30 rehabilitation, and behavioral health hospitals, and 170 additional sites of care. This includes managed acute rehabilitation units, outpatient centers, and post-acute care facilities. Packer first joined the company in 2011.
Previously, Packer was a VP of finance at St Vincent's Health. Before that, she served as a healthcare consultant at PriceWaterhouseCoopers. Earlier in her career, she worked with Palmetto Health as a contract manager. Packer earned an undergraduate degree in finance and information systems from the University of South Carolina.
4. Jennifer Haygood
Chief Financial Officer, University of North Carolina System
Jennifer Haygood is the Senior Vice President for Finance and Administration/Chief Financial Officer for the University of North Carolina System. She joined the UNC team in August 2020 after serving the North Carolina Community College System for 12 years in multiple capacities, including Acting President, Executive Vice President/Chief of Staff, and Chief Financial Officer.
Previously, Haygood worked for the Fiscal Research Division of the NC General Assembly; and the Education Section of the NC Department of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention. She earned a Master of Public Policy degree from Duke University and received her undergraduate degree from Rice University. She is a proud recipient of an honorary Associate in Arts degree from Richmond Community College and also received the 2019 NC Office of the State Controller Fiscal Integrity Award. Before returning to graduate school, she was a Teach for America corps member and taught elementary school in inner-city New Orleans. In addition to her current CFO duties, Haygood also serves on the boards of the State Employees’ Credit Union (SECU) and the SECU Foundation.
5. Jeff Wallace
Chief Financial Officer, USAA
USAA named Jeff Wallace as its Chief Financial Officer in September 2020. Wallace came to USAA from Bank of America, where he most recently served as the Chief Financial Officer of the Consumer Banking and Global Wealth and Investment Management business, leading the re-engineering of its financial systems, forecasting, and planning processes.
Over his more than 30-year career, Wallace has held leadership positions with a variety of large financial institutions. He has significant experience streamlining work processes and simplifying organization strategies, as well as working with federal regulators. He also brings a long track record as a passionate advocate for diversity and inclusion, serving as a member of the Corporate Advisory Board for the national nonprofit Association of Latino Professionals for America (ALPFA).
6. Fred Hargett
Chief Financial Officer, Novant Health
Fred Hargett is the Chief Financial Officer of Novant Health, a four-state integrated network of physician clinics, outpatient centers, and hospitals. Its network consists of more than 1,600 physicians and 29,000 employees–at more than 640 locations, including 15 medical centers and hundreds of outpatient facilities and physician clinics. The organization was formed in 1997 by the merger of Carolina Medicorp and Presbyterian Health Services. Headquartered in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, Novant Health serves more than 4 million patients annually.
Hargett has 27 years of experience. He began his career in 1996. Before joining Novant Health, he was a healthcare consultant at Ernst & Young. Hargett graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
7. Jason Meggs
Chief Financial Officer, Syneos Health
Jason Meggs began his professional career 25 years ago. Today, he is the Chief Financial Officer of Syneos Health, a leading fully integrated biopharmaceutical solutions organization built to accelerate customer success. The company brings together a talented team of professionals who work across more than 110 countries, with a deep understanding of patient and physician behaviors and market dynamics.
Meggs first got his start in 1998 as an auditor at Arthur Andersen. From there, he went on to Deloitte; before eventually rising to EVP of oncology clinical development at INC Research, his most recent position prior to joining Syneos Health. Meggs graduated from Western Carolina University with an undergraduate degree in accounting.
8. Jeff Shepherd
Executive Vice President of Finance & Chief Financial Officer, Advance Auto Parts
Jeff Shepherd, who joined Advance Auto Parts six years ago, has held the position of Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer since April 2018. Previously, he served the company as Senior Vice President, Controller, and Chief Accounting Officer.
Before joining Advance, Shepherd was at General Motors Company, working there from 2010 to 2017. He served in various accounting and finance roles, including Controller – General Motors Europe from July 2015 to February 2017; Director – Consolidation and SEC Reporting from June 2013 to July 2015; and Director – Analysis and Reporting from September 2010 to June 2013. Prior to joining General Motors, Shepherd worked for Ernst & Young, a public accounting firm, from October 1994 to September 2010. Shepherd earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting from Central Michigan University. He is also a certified public accountant.
9. Will Langley
Chief Financial Officer, Belk
Will Langley is the Chief Financial Officer of Belk, a privately-owned department store. Based in Charlotte, North Carolina, Belk opened its first store in 1888. Today, Belk serves customers at nearly 300 Belk stores in 16 Southeastern states. For over 130 years, the company has proudly put customers and community at the center of what it does: supporting local charities, organizations, and families when they need it most.
Langley first joined Belk in 2005 as a staff accountant. He holds a master’s in accounting and finance from Appalachian State University.
10. Andy Barrow
Chief Financial Officer, Cone Health
Andy Barrow is the Chief Financial Officer of Cone Health, where he is responsible for the financial oversight of the entire organization. Barrow joined Cone Health in 2012 as vice president of financial services. He became senior vice president of finance in 2020.
Barrow is a certified public accountant. He earned an MBA from East Carolina University and a bachelor’s from Wake Forest University. In addition to his duties at Cone Health, Barrow is a member of the North Carolina Healthcare Financial Management Association and the North Carolina Association of Certified Public Accountants. He also serves on the finance committee for the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce, and the finance advisory committee of Goodwill of the Triad, and is a leader with the Boy Scouts of America.
11. Rod Samples
Chief Financial Officer, Sunbelt Rentals
Rod Samples is the Chief Financial Officer of Sunbelt Rentals, a company that provides equipment rental solutions for the industrial, construction, municipal, and DIY markets. Sunbelt's equipment fleet includes a range of general construction and industrial equipment broadened by-product offerings from specialty divisions including Climate Control, Oil and Gas, Pile Driving, Pump & Power, Scaffold, and Industrial Resource Group.
Samples has 38 years of experience. He began his career in 1985. Before joining Sunbelt Rentals, he served as CFO at Belk. Before that, Samples was the SVP of the corporate controller and chief accounting officer at Saks Incorporated. Earlier in his career, he worked with Coopers & Lybrand as a senior audit manager. Samples graduated from Auburn University with an undergraduate degree in accounting.
12. Randy Gelber
Chief Financial Officer, Epic Games
Randy Gelber is the current CFO at Epic Games. He has over 20 years of experience in the financial services industry. Prior to joining Epic Games, he served as Managing Director at UBS, Head of Technology, Media & Telecom for Asia Pacific. Gelber also spent 11 years at Barclays Investment Bank as Managing Director - Head of Global Technology Services & Head of TMT, Asia Pacific. He began his career at Credit Suisse as Director of Technology in 1998.
Gelber holds an MBA from The Wharton School and a Bachelor of Arts in economics from the University of Michigan. He also completed a General Course at the London School of Economics.
13. Michael Utt
Chief Financial Officer, BNI Global
Michael Utt began his professional career 23 years ago. Today, he is the Chief Financial Officer of BNI Global, a leading business referral organization that supports 300,000 member businesses in over 75 countries worldwide. In 2022, BNI members generated $20.4 billion in revenue via more than 13 million referrals.
Utt first got his start in 2000 as an assistant at Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center. From there, he went on to Ernst & Young, before eventually rising to VP of finance of Hendrick Autoguard at Hendrick Automotive Group, his most recent position before joining BNI Global. Utt graduated from UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School with a master’s in accountancy.
14. David Clarkson
Chief Financial Officer, Extended Stay America
David Clarkson is the Chief Financial Officer of Extended Stay America, a hospitality company that goes beyond the basics of just simple accommodations. The company prides itself in focusing on long-term stays with an emphasis on the right level of simplicity and functionality. To ensure it makes quality connections with each one of its guests, the company is determined to hire the right kind of people who have the desire to do great work and ensure its values are passed on to you.
Clarkson first joined the company in 2011 as VP of FP&A and treasurer. Previously, he was a VP of development and finance at The Clarkson Group. Earlier in his career, he worked with SunTrust Bank as a credit analyst. Clarkson holds an MBA from the University of Miami and an undergraduate degree from Dartmouth College.
15. Michael Turner
Chief Financial Officer, 3D Systems Corporation
3D Systems appointed Michael Turner as Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer in August 2022. Turner brings an exemplary technical background to the CFO role that includes public accounting experience–as well as financial leadership roles of increasing responsibility at both public and private companies.
Previously, Turner served as CFO at Innovative Chemical Products (ICP), a leading developer and manufacturer of specialty coatings, adhesives, and sealants serving major industrial and construction end markets. Before that, he was a finance executive at the publicly traded chemical company Albemarle Corporation. During his time there, his roles included business unit Chief Financial Officer, Vice President of Corporate FP&A, and Finance Leader for the company’s global Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) technology implementation. Turner’s 20+ year finance career also includes financial leadership positions as divisional and corporate controller at FMC Corporation and Polypore International, respectively.
16. Barry Gum
Chief Financial Officer, Butterball
Barry Gum is the Chief Financial Officer of Butterball, the largest producer of turkey products in the U.S. Each year, the company distributes approximately one billion pounds of turkey. Butterball is headquartered just outside Raleigh, North Carolina.
Gum has 34 years of experience. He began his career in 1989. Before joining Butterball, Gum was a VP of finance and treasurer at Seaboard Corporation. Earlier in his career, he worked with PwC as an auditor. Gum graduated from The University of Kansas.
17. Brian Ripperger
Chief Financial Officer, cabi Clothing
Brian Ripperger is the Chief Financial Officer at cabi Clothing. With over 20 years of senior management experience, his focus is on partnering with CEOs, management teams, and owners to establish and achieve their goals and objectives. In the past, he’s worked for a wide range of organizations, including public, family-owned, and private equity. He’s also managed
companies and business units through various business cycles, such as rapid growth, harvesting mature companies, start-ups, restructuring organizations, and even re-starts.
Ripperger’s background includes extensive work in strategic and financial planning, new business development, marketing and advertising analysis, operations and supply chain, product development, and mergers & acquisitions. He’s also an adept negotiator and manager of outside service providers, including third-party logistics companies, banking relationships, IT services, and property management groups.
18. Ed Spehar
Chief Financial Officer, Brighthouse Financial
As Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Brighthouse Financial, Ed Spehar, CFA, is responsible for the overall financial strategy, including financial planning and analysis, investor relations, accounting and reporting, treasury, actuarial, corporate tax, and expense management. Before joining Brighthouse Financial in July 2019, Spehar was executive vice president and treasurer of MetLife, Inc., where he was responsible for the strategic management of financial resources. Spehar joined MetLife in 2012 as senior vice president and head of investor relations and later served as the chief financial officer of MetLife’s EMEA segment.
Spehar had previously spent 23 years as an equity research analyst, covering the life insurance industry focused on insurance companies. This includes serving 19 years as a sell-side equity research analyst at Bank of America Merrill Lynch. While there, he was repeatedly selected for Institutional Investor magazine’s annual All-America Research Team. Spehar holds a bachelor’s in management from Case Western Reserve University and an MBA from the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve.
19. John Boisture
Chief Financial Officer, Flow Automotive Companies
John Boisture is the Chief Financial Officer of Flow Automotive Companies. Flow Automotive Companies (FAC) owns and operates 53 new vehicle dealerships in North Carolina and Virginia. As CFO, Boisture is responsible for all financing and M&A activities, having overseen 18 acquisitions since joining in 2018.
Prior to joining FAC in June 2018, Boisture spent eight years as an Investment Banker at Fifth Third Securities where he advised middle-market companies on capital raising and M&A. He began his career as an M&A Investment Banker at Wachovia Securities. Boisture earned an undergraduate degree in commerce with concentrations in finance and management from the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia where he also double majored in history.
20. Shannon Barwick
Chief Financial Officer, Concrete Supply Company
Shannon Barwick is the Chief Financial Officer of Concrete Supply Company, Carolina's premiere source for top-quality Ready-Mix concrete products. With 90 plants producing nearly 3 million cubic yards annually throughout the Carolinas and 600+ trucks, they provide Ready-Mix products and services to meet all concrete needs including commercial, residential, DOT, industrial, concrete pumping, and portable plants.
Shannon joined Concrete Supply in 2018 after serving as the VP of Finance at Horizon Scientific and before that, serving in the same capacity for Industrial Services Group. She earned an undergraduate degree in accounting from the University of South Carolina.
22. Malcolm Clarke
Chief Financial Officer, Corsica Technologies
Malcolm Clarke is the CFO for Corsica Technologies, a leading Cyber Security and Managed IT Services provider serving clients in the Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, and Mid-West regions of the United States. As CFO, Malcolm oversees the company’s accounting, financial analysis, strategic planning, budgeting, contracts, treasury, legal, and human resource functions. Before joining Corsica, Malcolm served as CFO for several small to mid-sized businesses where he established a record of helping drive growth, improve efficiencies, and increase profitability.
Malcolm has a wide range of experience across multiple industries including technology, government contracting, logistics, transportation, professional services, and education, and has held positions in marketing and operations in addition to finance. This diverse background has allowed him to work successfully across functional lines to help companies succeed. A Certified Public Accountant, Malcolm earned his bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Wake Forest University and holds an MBA from the University of North Carolina Greensboro.
23. Eric Schachner
Chief Financial Officer, M-Tech
Eric Schachner is the Chief Financial Officer of M-Tech. He first joined the company in March of 2022. M-Tech is a technology company that creates experiences that simplify how anyone finds and buys home services. They are a super innovative team that thinks solving the home’s most important issues shouldn’t be complicated. Launched in 2021 and backed by Red Ventures and Trane Technologies, the heating and cooling industry was M-Tech’s springboard into the home services industry.
Before joining M-Tech, Eric served as the CFO of CPI Security, and before that as the CFO of Network Communications Technologies. He first got his start as a senior manager with PricewaterhouseCoopers. Eric earned an undergraduate degree in business and a master’s degree in accounting, both from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
24. Ken Morgan
Chief Financial Officer, Alcami Corporation
Ken Morgan has over twenty years of experience in the pharmaceutical sector with considerable expertise in finance, mergers, acquisitions, and information system implementations.
Prior to joining Alcami, Morgan was the Vice President and Controller at TriPharm Services, which was acquired by Alcami in 2020. Before this, he spent twenty-two years at AAIPharma/Alcami in numerous financial leadership roles, including Vice President of Financial Shared Services, Director of Finance, Asst. Treasurer, Financial Systems Manager, and Accounting Manager. Before the pharmaceutical industry, Morgan served in roles as Plant Controller, Manager of Business Analysis, Internal Quality Auditor for ISO certification, and Cost Accountant in the pulp and paper industry. Morgan holds a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.
25. John Umstead
Chief Financial Officer, G1 Therapeutics, Inc.
John Umstead joined G1 Therapeutics in 2018. In his current role as Chief Financial Officer, he is responsible for the financial operations of the company, including SEC reporting, financial planning and analysis, and treasury. Since joining, Umstead has provided counsel on the company’s SEC filings, financings, license agreements, and implementation and effectiveness of financial controls and systems.
Previously, Umstead was with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, where he worked in the audit and assurance practice, primarily serving large publicly traded corporations. After that, he moved into the Capital Markets Accounting and Advisory Services group, where he advised public and private companies in complex accounting and financial reporting matters related to business combinations, debt and equity financings, divestitures, and other areas involving technical accounting. Prior to joining PricewaterhouseCoopers, Umstead spent 5 years in commercial banking. He received his Master of Accounting from the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Umstead is a certified public accountant in the State of North Carolina.