10 questions for Mohawk President and CFO Jack Haren

By , IDG News Service |  Networking

Name: Jack Haren

Age: 64

Time with company: 12 years

Education: Bachelor of science in accounting from Fordham University and a graduate of the Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program.

Company headquarters: Cohoes, New York

Revenue: annual revenue of $300M, with about 12 percent of business overseas

Countries of operation: U.S., Scotland, Shanghai, paper inventory in warehouse in the Netherlands; sell in 60 countries through merchant distribution

Number of employees total: 520

Number of employees the CFO oversees: 31

CFO's areas of responsibility: finance, purchasing, IT, international sales and marketing

About the company: Mohawk is North America's largest privately owned manufacturer of fine papers and envelopes for commercial and digital printing. It operates three paper machines in two mills in upstate New York and two converting facilities in New York and Ohio, with warehouses in New York, Ohio, California, Washington and the Netherlands.

1. Where did you start in finance and what experiences led you to the job you have today?

I began this journey with graduation from Fordham University with an accounting degree and then I joined a large public accounting firm in New York City. At the time Arthur Young was one of the 'Big Eight.' That was an excellent place to begin my career because it exposed me to a number of different industries -- the oil and gas industry, a very broad manufacturing industry, banking, retail.

That gave me exposure at an early point in my career to understand how one's skill set could fit the best and showed me what interested me the most. But beyond that, what it gave me was some very basic skill sets around the practical applications of accounting theory and also auditing.

I was with them for four years. I acquired my CPA, and in 1975 I left and joined Union Camp Corporation, which was a Fortune 250 company in the paper industry. I went through a number of positions of increasing authority until 1996 when I was promoted to controller. At the time, the company had sales of $6 billion and 18,000 employees worldwide.

In the 20 years before that, I worked in a number of financial functions within the company, including heading up their internal audit function. I managed a number of audits around the world and worked closely with our divisions, which were involved in the manufacture of fine paper, kraft liner board, wood chemicals -- so it really was quite a broad experience that I got there.

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