Chicago Public Schools Names New Chief Financial Officer 

Hiring of Dave Watkins is latest addition to District’s new leadership team


October 26, 2011


Dave Watkins was appointed today as the new Chief Financial Officer of Chicago Public Schools. The appointment was approved by the Chicago Board of Education at its monthly meeting.


A seasoned financial services veteran with more than 35 years of experience, Watkins is the newest member of a streamlined leadership team designed to support school leaders and improve student achievement.


The appointment of Watkins is the latest step in a reorganization of Central Office under CPS Chief Executive Officer Jean-Claude Brizard, who has moved to ensure that services are grouped strategically under skilled leaders rather than fragmented in many different departments,


“I am pleased to add Dave Watkins to my team as his expertise in financial matters will be critical in our mission to manage the fiscal challenges the District faces so we can protect our investment in students,” Brizard said.


In his new role, Watkins will manage the District’s $5.3 billion operating budget and serve as a key contributor in charting and implementing CPS’s future blueprint and strategic plans. An important element of his job will be to confront the large deficits facing CPS in future years.


The new CFO will lead a team responsible for all phases of CPS’s day-to-day financial operations, including Control (Financial Reporting, Accounting, Payables/Processing), Treasury (Cash Management, Risk Management, Insurance, Pensions/Investments), Tax, Financial Planning and Analysis and Budget.


Watkins will also play a leading role in the District’s interaction with banks and capital markets, including bond issuance, debt and capital raising and pension fund support. He also will serve as the District’s point person with ratings agencies.


“This is a dynamic time at Chicago Public Schools and I am excited to be part of a leadership team that has made the tough decisions necessary to put students first,” Watkins said. “I look forward to helping manage a financial model that will provide the resources needed to drive student success in the classroom.”


The Chicago Public Schools serves approximately 405,000 students in more than 675 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school system.


Following is Watkins’ biography:


Dave Watkins most recently has been Chief Financial Officer at H. D. Smith, directing all financial functions of the company including the annual financial plan, internal and external financial reporting, forecasts and tax planning. He brings more than 35 years of financial management expertise within the retail and consumer products, business technology, travel and accounting industries, in both publicly and privately held companies. He has significant experience in Sarbanes-Oxley compliance and remediation, SEC compliance, organizational restructuring, financial performance enhancement and financial planning and forecasting. Before joining H. D. Smith, Dave served as Managing Director for MorganFranklin, a business and technology solutions company. Working in the company’s Chicago office, he was responsible for building the company’s Midwest financial advisory and consulting practice.


Previously, Dave was Chief Operating Officer of the European Operations of Maritz Incorporated, a global provider of performance improvement, travel and market research services. Headquartered in London, he led Maritz through a reorganization of the company’s European operation returning the division to profitably. Prior to his role in Europe, he was Chief Operating and Financial Officer and, for a brief period, acting Chief Executive Officer for Maritz Travel Company. David led Maritz through the acquisition of their leading competitor, McGettigan Partners. Prior to working in industry, Dave spent more than 20 years in public accounting at KPMG. During his tenure he served as Partner-In-Charge of the Retail and Consumer Products sector for the company's Midwest region which experienced consistent year-over-year growth. Dave earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and is a Certified Public Accountant.


About CPS

Chicago Public Schools serves 405,000 students in 675 schools. It is the nation’s third-largest school district.


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