Imelda Hurley’s career at Irish food business Greencore has been one of the more active finance careers for Financial Director to follow, particularly among female FDs.
Hurley has been made group finance director of the business reporting to its new group CFO Alan Williams, who joins on 7 March from Cadbury where he was global corporate FD. She had been filling in as interim group CFO since December after the departure of Geoff Doherty. While it is unusual to see senior finance people take a retrograde step once they have worked at that level, Greencore probably wants and needs a CFO of Williams’ background as it mulls the future of its bid for rival Northern Foods – with which it had agreed to merge in 2010 before being scuppered by an all-cash bid from another suitor.
Hurley, who joined Greencore in 2001 from the audit trainee programme at Arthur Andersen, has had a number of finance roles in the business including group financial controller, head of investor relations and now group CFO – and last November added her first external appointment by joining the board at Ireland’s semi-state-owned gas provider Bord Gais.
It may not yet be her time to hold on to the top finance job, but Greencore chief executive Patrick Coveney says she remains a central player among the management team, while working with Williams – who was a key player in Cadbury’s 2007 restructuring and large layoffs – will be an invaluable feather in her cap. Financial Director thinks she is one to watch.