Apple’s New CFO: An Introduction to Luca Maestri

Source: Apple.com

In case you missed the earlier report, Apple’s (NASDAQ:AAPL) long-serving CFO Peter Oppenheimer, who boasts an impressive 18-year career with the company, is due to step down at the end of September this year. In June, Apple’s vice president of finance and corporate controller (that’s Luca Maestri) will begin taking over, allowing for a seamless transition from one CFO to the next.

Wondering who, exactly, Oppenheimer’s successor is? We daresay you’re in the right place. In Apple’s press release that announced Oppenheimer’s retirement on Tuesday, chief executive Tim Cook says some pretty glowing things about Maestri, but then again, it’s a press release, right?

“Luca Maestri has over 25 years of global experience in senior financial management, including roles as a public company CFO, and I’m confident he will be a great CFO at Apple,” said Cook.

He goes on, saying that, “When we were recruiting for a corporate controller, we met Luca and knew he would become Peter’s successor. His contributions to Apple have already been significant in his time with us and he has quickly gained respect from his colleagues throughout the company.”

Here’s what else we know about Maestri so far. Maestri is a 49-year-old Italian who began his career at GM in 1988. Before that, he attended Luiss University in Rome where he graduated with an undergraduate degree in Economics. Later, he also went on to receive a Master’s in Science of Management from Boston University, MacWorld reports.

Maestri has spent the majority of his career with his first employer, General Motors; his time at the carmaker accounts for 20 years of his 25-year career. While at GM, Maestri went on to hold a number of different senior positions in various markets, eventually going on to become CFO and vice president of the company’s entire European operation for two years; he was responsible for the company in more than 45 countries and helped to generate an annual revenue of approximately $40 billion.

Maestri then joined Nokia Siemens Network to become CFO there, until February of 2011 when he left to become CFO at Xerox, where he stayed for two years until March of 2013 when Apple wrested him away, priming him to become Oppenheimer’s successor, although his official position has been as corporate controller and vice president of finance.

The switch from Oppenheimer to Maestri is the “biggest change to the executive ranks since Cook ousted mobile-software chief Scott Forestall in 2012,” Bloomberg reports, “and it comes as the company adjusts to more modest sales and profit gains after a period of hype growth.”

According to Anil Doradla, an analyst at the Chicago-based William Blair & Co. LLC, Oppenheimer could be said to “personify Apple’s strong growth phase.” If this is true, it’s not unreasonable to think that perhaps Maestri is a kind of personification of where Apple is going next. Doradla adds that, “In some ways, we are going to a new phase in Apple’s growth trajectory where we’re moving to a more mature phase of the company’s life cycle,” per Bloomberg.

Maestri, who is known as a buyback expert, Doradla points out, has the most experience with companies that had slower growth rates. What this means for a company like Apple, which saw it’s first profit decline in more than a decade last year and just last month announced that revenue may fall for the first time this quarter since 2003, is that Maestri just might be a perfect match.

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