Netgear Names New CFO

SMB networking

Gorjanc succeeds former CFO Jonathan Mather, who left in November 2006. After leaving Netgear, Mather joined Glendale, Calif.-based American Reprographics, a business-to-business document management service for architectural, engineering and construction industries.

"Christine has provided invaluable leadership to the finance team throughout her tenure," Netgear chairman and CEO Patrick C. S. Lo said in a statement. "She has helped build a world-class organization with a reputation for solid financial operations, reporting transparency and strong internal controls. In addition to developing our financial infrastructure, she has been instrumental in day-to-day finance operations, as well as in the execution of major corporate initiatives. I am confident that she is very well-prepared for the CFO position, and I look forward to her continuing contributions to the organization."

Frederick Johnson, president and CIO of Cleveland, Ohio-based solution provider Ross-Tek, said the shift begs the question of why Netgear took more than a year to find a successor to Mather.

"It gives me some pause as to why a company of that magnitude couldn't fill that role," he said. "How wide of a net are they actually throwing? What was their primary source to identify the talent for that role?"

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According to Johnson, Netgear resellers should see minimal short-term impact from Gorjanc's appointment. However, he's curious what the future may hold, especially in terms of post-sale services.

"What initiatives are coming down the pipeline that could change our relationship with them?" he asked, adding that if a new CFO is appointed to cut costs, he'd worry that product support and warranty support could wind up on the chopping block. "That could have a very adverse affect on our ability to influence their products as a reseller."

Netgear's Lo, however, said Netgear is looking to enhance its partner program over the next 12 months, much like it did in 2007 when it added a platinum level to its partner community. He said a premium support center for partners just went live in Utah and that's the first of many initiatives to come this year.

"We're going to enhance our partner program, fine-tune it and upgrade it over the next 12 months," Lo said. Lo added that partner training and seminars will also be enhanced throughout the year.

He said with Gorjanc as CFO Netgear will be able to roll out better products and offer better margins which will in turn create a better partner community. Lo said Netgear's search for a CFO took so long because he had to ensure whoever was appointed would be a solid cultural fit within the company.

Gorjanc's promotion comes just days before Netgear heads to CES, where the vendor is poised to make several key announcements on the home and SMB networking front. Netgear also plans to host several workshops and demos highlighting its current roster of solutions, including its 802.11n and ReadyNAS gear.

Gorjanc joined Santa Clara, Calif.-based Netgear in November 2005 as vice president of finance. A year later, she was promoted to chief accounting officer, managing a finance organization that encompasses worldwide accounting, financial forecasting, treasury, tax, payroll and credit and collection functions. Before joining Netgear, Gorjanc held positions with several companies including Aspect Communications, Tandem Computers and Xidex.

Wednesday afternoon Netgear shares were trading at just over $34.