Who: T. Scott Kirksey
Old Job: Vice president, financial planning and reporting, Greyhound Lines Inc.
New Job: CFO, BenefitMall.com
It's a long, strange trip from the bus business to the Web. but for T. Scott Kirksey, 42, the end of that journey came last December, when he signed on as CFO of BenefitMall.com after helping to rescue Greyhound from near-bankruptcy. BenefitMall.com, a 245-person operation based in Dallas (it was spun off from Humana last year), is an online marketplace for small-business employee-benefit products. Every day, it sells more than $500,000 worth of annualized premiums through brokers from 80 different insurance carriers.
Old skills that still matter.
"Finance is about turning information into decisions. At Greyhound, we had to build a structure for the company that didn't exceed what we could afford. The skills needed to do that are equally valid in the dotcom world; the only difference is that you've got to move 10 times faster."
"A Net business isn't pyramid-shaped — it's massively parallel. That kind of flat power structure lets me go beyond the traditional CFO role. By delving into sales and production, for example, I can discover what kinds of things I should be measuring."
"Build your business model around returns. Don't be lulled into thinking that losses are okay. Net businesses incur losses because they make up-front investments that can't be written off over several years. But if you can focus on where your business model shows a return, you won't bear losses any longer than you really have to."
A version of this article appeared in the May 2000 issue of Fast Company magazine.