Express Scripts chief financial officer plans departure less than a year after joining company

MarketsAssociated Press

Express Scripts Holding Co. is looking for another chief financial officer less than a year after Cathy R. Smith joined the pharmacy benefits manager from retail giant Wal-Mart.

Express Scripts said Monday after markets closed that Smith no longer serves as executive vice president and CFO, but she will continue to work for the St. Louis company into the first quarter to help it transition.

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The company did not detail why Smith is leaving, but it did say that her departure was not due to any concerns about the company's accounting or financial reporting.

Express Scripts also named James M. Havel as executive vice president and interim chief financial officer while it searches for a permanent replacement for Smith. Havel will join Express Scripts from the privately held beverage distribution company Major Brands Holdings, where he served as chief financial officer.

Express Scripts runs prescription drug plans for employers, insurers and other customers. Express Scripts and other PBMs process mail-order prescriptions and handle bills for prescriptions filled at retail pharmacies.

The company had named Smith CFO last January. She had been an executive vice president and chief financial officer for Walmart International for a few years before joining the PBM.

Smith had filled a vacancy that was created when former CFO Jeff Hall left, a move that surprised some analysts who cover Express Scripts.

The company also reaffirmed its 2014 profit guidance and said its board authorized the repurchase of up to an additional 65 million shares, bringing the total to 205 million shares.

Express Scripts shares closed at $82.77 on Monday and have climbed 18 percent so far this year.