New CFO brings outside perspective

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WASHINGTON -- When Postmaster General John E. Potter was looking for a new chief financial officer, he wanted an outsider with a fresh perspective.

H. Glen Walker, the new USPS executive vice president and CFO, discussed this issue recently with trade reporters at the agency's headquarters here. Mr. Walker, a certified public accountant with 30 years of domestic and international financial experience, was named to his position in August after CFO Richard Strasser retired April 3.

"[Mr. Potter] was looking for someone with a lot of experience outside," Mr. Walker said. "He wanted someone with fresh eyes to come in as a change agent. He just wanted new ideas."

Mr. Walker handles the agency's financial, treasury, IT and supply management functions. He also serves as a member of the executive committee, reporting to the postmaster general, and will serve as chairman of the corporate Capital Investment Committee.

Mr. Walker previously was vice president of finance and CFO for Invensys Control, a provider of controls to the appliance industry. He was also vice president and CFO for part of Whirlpool's international operations, encompassing 35 nations in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. At Whirlpool, he organized a shared-services center in Ireland that has served as a model for many multinational companies.

Mr. Potter also wanted someone who could help with the business-oriented changes that postal reform could bring, Mr. Walker said.

Mr. Walker noted that the USPS did not meet its goal in fiscal year 2006 of cutting work hours by 42 million, in part because of an unexpected increase in volume. However, he was confident the agency would meet its goal of reducing work hours in FY 2007.

"There is a lot of focus out in the operations ... about how they will meet the work-hour reductions," he said. "We've spent $5 billion on automation over the last five years, so we should be seeing some pretty dramatic reductions in work hours."

He also cited succession planning and talent nurturing as a big part of his job.

"We have 700,000 people here, we are a slice of America, so we have the baby boom issue here, big time," he said. "There are going to be a lot of people walking out of here in the next few years who have important positions, so I spend a lot of time thinking about making sure we have good people in place or going out and getting people who are going to be their replacements."

Mr. Walker discussed future rate cases, saying that the USPS has no plans to file another case in summer 2007.

Mr. Walker said he thought joining the postal service would be a great challenge, especially since the agency is No. 61 on Fortune's Global 500 list and the second-largest employer in the United States after Wal-Mart. He also loved what he learned of the culture.

"I am in the last third of my career, [and after] talking to the people I met here [I learned about] a culture, a family that very much attracted me, and I wanted to be part of it," he said.

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