Former Interim CEO Alan M. Bennett Nominated for Election to the Board of Directors
KANSAS CITY, Mo.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--July 22, 2008--H&R Block, Inc. (NYSE:HRB) announced today the appointment of Russ Smyth as President and Chief Executive Officer, effective August 1. Smyth replaces Alan M. Bennett, who has served as Interim CEO since November, 2007. Mr. Smyth has also been elected a member of H&R Block's Board of Directors effective upon commencement of his service as CEO.
Prior to joining H&R Block, Mr. Smyth had a career of 21 years with McDonald's Corporation, most recently as President of McDonald's Europe. In that capacity, he was responsible for 6,300 retail locations in 51 countries with aggregate revenues of more than $6.7 billion, and representing approximately 35% of McDonald's aggregate revenue and profit. Prior to that time, Mr. Smyth was President of McDonald's Partner Brands, where he had responsibility for alternative franchise platforms and diversification efforts. Mr. Smyth also had earlier senior operating responsibilities for McDonald's in both Asia and Latin America.
At the outset of his career at McDonald's, Mr. Smyth worked in the financial arena for 13 years. He served in a series of financial accounting or controller positions, including European Controller based in London, before returning to the U.S. after being appointed International Controller. Mr. Smyth has a Bachelor's of Science in accounting and a Master's of Accounting Science from Northern Illinois University. He began his career on the audit staff of Price Waterhouse.
"Russ has excellent experience working with a powerful brand and delivering consistently high quality performance across a vast retail network. He also has extensive experience with finance and accounting, and appreciates the critical importance of improving returns on capital," said Richard C. Breeden, Chairman of the H&R Block Board.
"Russ has worked with and motivated a large and diverse workforce, and also has proven abilities running a significant franchise network," added Mr. Breeden. "The Board believes that Russ will help H&R Block utilize more effectively the power of its brand in growing market share, and also in improving efficiency and developing new distribution channels in the U.S. and internationally."
"H&R Block is a strong brand with a proud history and a great team of tax and financial professionals," said Mr. Smyth. "I'm excited to lead the company at this important time, when there is so much growth potential to be realized."
Mr. Smyth is currently a member of the Board of Trustees for Lewis University in Romeoville, IL. For the past three years, Mr. Smyth has worked with several private equity firms and served as an owner and board member of several privately held companies.
The Company also announced that it has nominated Alan M. Bennett, who is completing his service as Interim CEO, for election to its board of directors at the Company's annual meeting of shareholders in September. If elected, Mr. Bennett will join the Board following the Company's annual meeting.
"Alan did an outstanding job under difficult circumstances when he joined the company last November and helped lead it through a series of critical restructuring moves. The Company cannot adequately thank Alan for his leadership, and for the excellent results he helped achieve during his tenure," said Mr. Breeden. "We are extremely pleased with the prospect of Alan joining the board, and bringing his long experience with financial markets developed as CFO of Aetna, Inc., as well as the thorough knowledge he gained of H&R Block during his time as interim CEO," added Mr. Breeden.
H&R Block Inc. (NYSE: HRB) is the world's preeminent tax services provider, having served more than 400 million clients since 1955 and generating annual revenues of $4.4 billion in fiscal year 2008. H&R Block provides income tax return preparation and related services and products via a nationwide network of approximately 13,000 company-owned and franchised offices and through TaxCut(R) online and software solutions. The company also provides business services through RSM McGladrey and certain consumer financial services. For more information visit our Online Press Center at www.hrblock.com.
SOURCE: H&R Block Inc.