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SLAC Welcomes New CFO Linda Rakow

SLAC CFO Linda Rakow. (Photo by Brad Plummer.)

Chief Financial Officer Linda Rakow joined SLAC in November, bringing with her 35 years of experience in the Department of Energy's national laboratory system and a passion for science. She previously held a variety of senior level financial positions at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, most recently serving as CFO.

"Coming to SLAC is exciting because I can take my 25 years of experience at LLNL and apply it to important operations initiatives here," Rakow said. Her highest priority is to implement a strategic business system for the lab, which will transform and modernize the way business is done and provide significantly enhanced capabilities and state-of-the-art business processes. Also high on her list is a centrally managed/field-deployed financial management operation.

Rakow said she intends to aggressively pursue the existing OCFO initiatives, such as the transition from paper to electronic time reporting and the move to an e-marketplace environment for purchasing. In the longer term, she will continue to implement additional improvements to strengthen internal controls as well as increase efficiency and reduce cost.

"Linda's experience in the national laboratory system and her demonstrated success with innovative business strategies make her a fantastic addition to the SLAC management team," said SLAC Chief Operating Officer Sandy Merola. "We are confident in her vision and her ability to move the lab's financial approach and systems forward."

"Persis, Sandy and the associate lab directors have all been supportive," Rakow said. "So far I've had lots of opportunities to interact with them and I look forward to being a financial voice for the lab."

Rakow's first week on the job included meetings with the Stanford Board of Overseers, which she said helped her understand SLAC's agenda and relationship with the university. She also spent time getting to know her staff by hosting her first town-hall style meeting, an activity she said she plans to continue throughout her time at SLAC, in addition to brown bag meetings and other venues for communication.

"I have an open-door policy for anyone in the lab, not just my staff," she said.

Merola added his thanks to Deputy CFO Tana Hutchison, who served as acting CFO during the transition, for her active role in working toward the lab's new financial goals. "We look forward to continued contributions of the entire Office of the CFO as they help us address some of our laboratory's most important mission support priorities," he said.

Rakow added, "Tana has been extremely helpful in explaining the history and context of the lab, what the issues are, and what the strategies should be to meet these challenges."

Prior to her time at LLNL, Rakow spent 10 years at the Nevada Test Site, first as an environmental analyst before moving into management. She received her master's degree in business administration from the University of the Pacific in California, and holds a bachelor's degree in microbiology from the College of Charleston in South Carolina.

"I've enjoyed having a career at national labs because I'm exposed to world-class science, which is a passion of mine, but I get to practice my learned financial and business skills," she said. "It's the best of both worlds."

—Lauren Rugani
SLAC Today, December 1, 2010