Maureen O’Connell served as Executive Vice President, CFO and CAO of Scholastic Corporation (NASDAQ: SCHL). She overlooked all the administrative functions within the company, including strategic planning, business development, global operations, IT, finance and human resources.
O’Connell began her career in public accounting and then moved to publishing as Director of Accounting at Primedia. She soon became the head of finance with operating responsibilities at Newfield Publications, another subsidiary of Primedia which included the Weekly Reader business. She later became CFO of the subsidiary, Newbridge Communications, which runs professional book clubs, including teacher clubs, and supplemental educational publishing. Eight years later, she moved to Bertelsmann Music Group in the direct marketing area and would later become CFO of Publishers Clearing House.
From 2000 to 2002, Maureen served as CFO of Barnes & Noble. She then went on to join Gartner Inc., a leading technology research and advisory firm. As CFO/CAO of Gartner Inc., she was responsible for global administrative and financial functions. Later as President and COO of Gartner Inc., she oversaw all business performance, including sales, marketing and operations. Prior to joining Scholastic, O’Connell served as CFO of Affinion Group Inc., a direct marketing firm.
Maureen has been an integral part of Scholastic since 2007. She utilized her strong finance and operations background, built from her previous publishing & direct marketing experience, in the $2 billion global children’s publishing, education & media company. Since joining the company, she has partnered with all business units resulting in better aligned support functions. The company-wide budgeting, capital allocation processes and forecasting have vastly improved under her expertise. The development of a pricing strategy across the business units was also led by O’Connell. She guided the company to an increase in efficiencies and reduced costs by over $40 million in operations, finance, supply chain, IT and benefits. Due to her efforts, all supply chain, purchasing & manufacturing activities across the company are now centralized. O’Connell created an integrated strategic and financial planning process, including the development of 3 year plans by business.
O’Connell’s contribution has been remarkable. She has strategically retired some IT systems & invested in new technologies. This has helped Scholastic’s transition to digital publishing, marketing and distribution of children’s books and educational materials, an increasingly important component of book publishing in this day and age.