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James Wall.

Jim Wall describes a time early in his career that caused him to "turn from the dark side of marketing to the true light of accounting." After receiving his MBA degree, a professor suggested he'd fare better if he took some accounting classes. So, he accepted a job offer to join the IRS, and learned much. Turns out, he likes accounting--and particularly the CFO role!

Goes by: Jim

Title: Senior Vice President & CFO

Company: Core-Mark Holding Co. Inc., a wholesale distributor to convenience stores

Born: Santa Barbara, Calif., November, 1947

Spouse: Married to Judith (an information systems consultant) since August 1976

Education Summary: BS International Marketing, California State University (CAL State), Los Angeles, 1969; MBA, University of California at Los Angeles (UCAL), 1970; CPA, Calif., 1976; Doctoral (all but dissertation), Pace University, 1977-1984; PMD (Program for Management Development), Harvard Graduate School of Business, 1987

Career Summary: Internal Revenue Agent, Los Angeles District and Office of International Operations, Washington, D.C., 1971-76; VP, Treasurer, Ultramar PLC, New York, 1976-83; CFO, Unimar Co. (joint venture of Ultramar and Allied Signal; concurrent assignment) 1984-91; VP, Treasurer, ICN Pharmaceuticals, Costa Mesa, Calif., 1994-95; Controller & Treasurer, AirTouch Communications, San Francisco, 1995-99; CFO, Metricom, San Jose, 1999-2001; CFO Memec, San Diego, 2002-03; CFO, Core-Mark, South San Francisco, 2004-current

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

FEI Involvement: 1992, Connecticut/Westchester Chapter; 1994, Orange County Chapter; 1995, San Francisco Chapter and President 2000-02; 2003, Area Director-at-Large, Western Region; 2004-06 Area Vice President, Western Region

Leisure: Bicycling and reading history--particularly military history.

Time Management: Reading background and professional materials in Huntington Park on weekends.

Stress Management: Bicycling, don't sweat the small stuff and having a great staff.

Recently-Read Book: Active Liberty, by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer. I read it because I went bicycling with him and his family; and Clash of the Carriers, by Stephen Coonts, a gift from a friend, and part of my interest and respect for those who have participated in the military during adverse times.

If I could, I'd spend one hour with: A very difficult choice, since my interest would be in great historical figures, but I think I would feel like a sprout in the presence of a giant redwood like, say, Winston Churchill. And while I do not smoke cigars, it would be a treat to have a scotch with him and hear how he made it through the dark days after WWI and WWII. Alternatively, I'd spend time with Milton Friedman, to explore the relationship of capitalism and personal freedom.

Who is your hero? My brother. He's a great inspiration, and has a positive outlook despite being blind. He just retired as a professor of management from Bakersfield College, in Bakers-field, Calif. He is known for having started the "Random Act of Senseless Kindness" movement and is a motivational speaker.

Favorite Jobs: Nearly all my jobs have been very enjoyable--in particular working at Ultramar, AirTouch, Metricom and Core-Mark. I left those that were not enjoyable fairly quickly, which is also fortunate. Not everything is going to be wonderful, and correcting quickly is important.

My favorite role is being a CFO. Working with employees, peers, the CEO, the board and the public can be fun, though certainly challenging. It keeps you very sharp, and there never seems to be a dull moment.

Best Advice: "Be proud of what you've done," said my mom.

Favorite Deal: The acquisition of Enstar Corp. by Ultramar with Allied Signal, led by Bruce Wasserstein when he was still at First Boston. It was my introduction to "mega-deals."

What I would change: If I could, I'd change our educational system. It does an extremely poor job of preparing people to work in a capitalist economy; most high school and college graduates have had minimal, if any, training about the economic world they are about to enter.

Quotable: "To try and fail is at least to learn; to fail to try is to suffer the inestimable loss of what might have been," said Chester Barnard, management philosopher and former CEO of New Jersey Bell.

Email: jimwallsf@aol.com

--edited by Ellen M. Heffes
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Title Annotation:of Core-Mark Holding Company Inc.
Author:Heffes, Ellen M.
Publication:Financial Executive
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Apr 1, 2006
Words:683
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