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A New Acting CFO for SLAC

(Photo - Susan Calandra)

To help guide development of the SLAC Business Services Division's new finance center of excellence, Susan Calandra will be joining SLAC as Acting Chief Financial Officer for a period of one year, starting June 1. As Acting CFO, Calandra will lead the transformation of the Business Services Division into the new Office of the Chief Financial Officer, and help identify areas where SLAC might benefit from established Stanford business practices.

In her current position as Stanford University controller, Calandra is responsible for all university accounting and financial reporting activities, and serves as business owner of Stanford’s financial systems.

"I’ve been working on several SLAC initiatives over the past year and have gotten to know Persis and Sandy," Calandra said. "I have been impressed with their determination to create a first-class financial infrastructure to support the world-class science that is being performed at SLAC."

"Over the last months, the Stanford controller's office been working toward our vision of keeping the university safe, helping others be successful, and simplifying process, policy and procedures," she said. "When Persis and Sandy asked me to join their team, I felt that this was a great opportunity for me to put this vision to work at SLAC."

"Not only does Susan bring outstanding credentials and experience to SLAC," said Sandy Merola, who is SLAC's chief operations officer, "but having her as Acting CFO will further strengthen the growing collaborative relationship between SLAC and the main Stanford campus."

"I have some understanding of the challenges the lab faces in streamlining business systems," Calandra said. "As I transition to SLAC in June and July, I'd like to spend time getting a deeper understanding of SLAC's needs, by getting to know the people and issues. I don't have all the answers. Together, we'll figure it out."

"Current financial processes at SLAC are full of challenges," Merola said. "We need a financial model appropriate to a multiprogram laboratory, cost structures that allow us to understand how we are spending our money, and a central business system that will streamline our budget planning and then provide accurate and timely trending information to that budget. The OCFO and the entire Operation Directorate are committed to becoming SLAC's partner of of choice to motivate the movement to a centrally-managed, field-deployed service delivery model."

"Susan Calandra brings SLAC the leadership and competency that we need to move forward in the financial area," said lab Director Persis Drell, "and she cannot do this alone. She will need all financial and business professionals throughout SLAC to give her their full support in order to move the lab forward. I am truly excited to have Susan with us. She is the right person at the right time."

Before joining Stanford, Calandra was the controller for Marriott’s Courtyard Hotel Division and served as a senior audit manager with Price Waterhouse. She earned her bachelor's degree in Economics and Business from St. Mary's College, Notre Dame, Indiana. She is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, California Society of CPAs and National Association of College and University Business Officers; she is also treasurer of the Board of Trustees of St. Mary’s College and a member of the Finance Council of St. Bartholomew’s Parish in San Mateo. Just last week, she and Persis together completed the inaugural session of the Stanford Leadership Academy.

—Shawne Workman
SLAC Today, May 21, 2009