Career Education (CECO) CFO Departs

March 23, 2015 5:16 PM EDT
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The Board of Directors of Career Education Corporation, (NASDAQ: CECO), today announced that Chief Financial Officer Reid Simpson will be leaving the Company on March 31, 2015 to become Chief Financial Officer at ShopperTrak, a Chicago headquartered leading global retail analytics provider. David Rawden of AlixPartners, a business advisory firm which specializes in turnarounds and restructurings, will serve as Interim CFO effective April 1, 2015. Mr. Rawden’s experience includes interim CFO positions at Allied Holdings, Inc., Exopack Holdings SA, and X-Rite, Incorporated. It also includes prior education experience when he served as the Executive Vice President of Finance at Savannah College of Art and Design.

The Company also announced that Michele Peppers, Vice President Accounting & Reporting, who has served for nearly 11 years in the Company’s finance department in various roles of increasing responsibility, has been designated as the Company’s principal accounting officer effective April 1, 2015. Mr. Rawden and Ms. Peppers will oversee the Company’s financial reporting while its Board of Directors finalizes its search for a permanent replacement for its Chief Executive Officer. A search for a permanent CFO will be implemented following that appointment.

“Reid has been an important component in the execution of our company’s turnaround strategy and we wish him well in his future endeavors,” said Chairman and Interim CEO Ron McCray. “The work that our financial team has done to improve our organizational cost structure and reduce the impact of the losses within our Transitional Campuses and Discontinued Operations continues to stabilize our financial profile.”

“My decision to join ShopperTrak represents a unique personal opportunity for me and is not a reflection on the strength of my belief in Career Education’s future,” Simpson said. “There is a strong finance team in place at Career Education and I have the utmost confidence in their ability to continue to successfully support the execution of the company’s turnaround strategy. I firmly believe that Career Education is on a positive path forward and will emerge from this transformation as a stronger company. I wish the company the very best going forward.”

McCray concluded, “Career Education has a strong history of success in partnering with AlixPartners as they have been instrumental in helping us identify and execute on our cost control initiatives over the last several years. I welcome Dave to our team and look forward to him and the AlixPartners team continuing to find more ways for us to improve our operating platform. The Board and I remain focused on finding a permanent solution for our CEO position. We have retained an executive search firm and are well into the process of identifying and interviewing internal and external candidates for the role. We are encouraged at the caliber of candidates we have met so far, but will remain patient until we have found the right leader that can finalize our transition and take Career Education to the next level.”

David Rawden Background

Dave Rawden is an experienced financial professional with an extensive background with public companies across a wide variety of industries including manufacturing, transportation, distribution and education. Most recently, he was CFO for a privately held regional specialty trucking company servicing the energy industry. While there, Dave helped the company restructure its debt, designed and implemented accounting and liquidity procedures, all while significantly improving EBITDA. Dave was also Interim CFO for Exopack Holdings SA, a privately held SEC registered $700 million manufacturer of flexible packaging; CFO for X-Rite, Incorporated, a $250 million private/public manufacturer of Electro/Optical color measurement devices; CFO for Allied Holdings, Inc., a $1 billion publicly traded transportation company; and Executive Vice President of Finance for Savannah College of Art and Design, a non-profit private college that also had some for-profit elements to it. Dave earned a Master of Management degree in finance and economics from Northwestern University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in accounting from Michigan State University. He is a Certified Public Accountant in the State of Michigan.

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