Meeting/Event Information

September Dinner: What's the "Right Stuff" to Move From CFO to CEO? A Conversation with Clay Williams - Chairman, President & CEO - National Oilwell Varco

September 19, 2017
4:00 PM to 8:00 PM
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The Junior League of Houston
1811 Briar Oaks Lane
Houston, TX 77027

Dinner Speaker:  What's the "Right Stuff" to Move From CFO to CEO?  

Clay Williams
National Oilwell Varco

Clay Williams has served as Chairman, President & CEO of National Oilwell Varco (NYSE:NOV) since May 2014. National Oilwell Varco is a Fortune 500 company with 35,000 employees and operations across 67 countries that provides oilfield equipment and services globally.

Mr. Williams has worked for NOV, its predecessor companies and their shareholders for more than 20 years, serving at various times as COO, CFO, VP Finance & Investor Relations, VP Corporate Development, and VP Pipeline Services. Before joining a NOV predecessor company in 1995, Mr. Williams spent two years with SCF Partners, a private equity management firm which invests in oilfield service companies, and seven years as a petroleum engineer with Shell Oil Company, where he began his career.
Mr. Williams holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil & Geological Engineering with highest honors from Princeton University, and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Texas. He has been named CFO of the Year by both Institutional Investor and the Houston Business Journal.

Since 2008 Mr. Williams has served as a director of Benchmark Electronics, Inc. (NYSE:BHE), a global provider of electronic manufacturing services. He is currently Chairman of the board of directors of the Center for Hearing & Speech; director of the Sam Houston Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America; and a member of Society of Petroleum Engineers.

Executing Business During a Catastrophe
  Robert Half is providing an excellent panel discussion on ways traumatic disruption impacts businesses, employees, supply chains and customers with real-time suggestions in light of Hurricane Harvey. 


Phil Willingham
District President
Robert Half 

Sponsored by: 


Phil Willingham, panel moderator, is a Houston-based district president for Robert Half, the world’s first and largest specialized temporary staffing, consulting and recruitment services firm. Robert Half is a Fortune 500 company and was once again named first in their industry on Fortune’s list of “World’s Most Admired Companies.” Forbes Magazine also ranked Robert Half No. 1 for “Best Professional Recruiting Firms.”

In his role, Phil oversees operations for the company’s Accountemps, OfficeTeam and Robert Half Finance & Accounting divisions, specializing in the temporary, temp-to-hire and permanent placement of professionals in the fields of finance, accounting and administrative support throughout the Houston market. He also oversees Robert Half Management Resources, the consulting arm for senior level accounting, finance and business systems professionals on an interim and project basis. Robert Half Management Resources is a long-standing partner of FEI.

With nearly 20 years of experience at Robert Half, Phil is dedicated to connecting companies with highly skilled professionals who can help them effectively grow their business. His focus is on providing the absolute best customer experiences for clients, consultants and job seekers. 


Michael Porier 
Managing Director

Michael Porier, a panelist, is one of Protiviti’s founding Managing Directors and is one of Protiviti’s Global Business Continuity segment leaders specializing in assessing and implementing Business Continuity solutions for clients. His expertise includes performing Business Impact Assessments to assist organizations in determining their critical business processes and working with IT to evaluate potential recovery solutions.  He has performed numerous strategic assessments as well as implemented full business continuity programs, inclusive of Crisis Management Plans, Business Resumption Plan and Disaster Recovery Plans.

Michael leads the Business Continuity Management solution segment as well as Houston’s Cybersecurity Practice, overseeing related assessments and remediation projects for clients.  On these topics, he has presented at numerous conferences, published various articles, and has been interviewed by industry periodicals and local newspapers.


Ernie Pekmezaris
CFO & Treasurer
Pappas Restaurants


My professional career encompasses Corporate Finance, Treasury, Mergers and Acquisitions, Shareholder Reporting, S.E.C., Sarbanes-Oxley, Budgeting and Auditing.

Graduated from Nichols College in Dudley, Mass, with a BBA in Accounting and a minor in Finance.  I started my business career with Ernst & Young Auditing Public Companies in the areas of Publishing, Brokerage, Banking, Radio and T.V.

After my Public Accounting experience, I spent twenty (20) years in the banking industry in Texas.  Working on the accounting control side, and mergers and acquisitions where I was involved in over forty (40) acquisitions.  In addition, I worked in Treasury, Managing Cash flow for the Holding Company as well as Procuring $350MM in Commercial Paper for Investment purposes.

For the past twenty one (25) years I have been the CFO and Treasurer of Pappas Restaurants, Inc., a private company with 100 locations in eight states.  In addition to those duties for six (6) years I have been the SVP & CFO of Luby’s, Inc., a Public Company with 127 Restaurants, primarily located in Texas.  Luby’s was a turnaround situation losing $32MM in 2001 with Debit of $125MM.  With the management team we turned the company profitable.  We refinanced the debt and within 3.5 years paid it all off. We then moved Luby’s Headquarters from San Antonio, Texas to Houston, Texas.  This required re-staffing positions in Accounting, Financial Planning, Treasury and the IT Departments.  For these efforts, I received from the Houston Business Journal the 2007 CFO award for Best Turnaround Specialist.

John C. Rickel
Senior Vice President and
Chief Financial Officer

Group 1 Automotive


John C. Rickel was appointed Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer in December 2005. From 1984 until joining Group 1, Mr. Rickel held a number of executive and managerial positions of increasing responsibility with Ford Motor Company, a global manufacturer and distributor of cars, trucks and automotive parts. He most recently served as Controller, Ford Americas, where he was responsible for the financial management of Ford’s western hemisphere automotive operations. Immediately prior to that, he was Chief Financial Officer of Ford Europe, where he oversaw all accounting, financial planning, information services, tax and investor relations activities. From 2002 to 2004, Mr. Rickel was Chairman of the Board of Directors of Ford Russia, and a member of the Board of Directors and the Audit Committee of Ford Otosan, a publicly traded automotive company located in Turkey and owned 41% by Ford.

Mike Stewart
United Way
Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer

Mike Stewart is the executive vice president and chief operating officer for the United Way of Greater Houston. The United Way transforms individual lives and brings long-lasting, systemic change to tough issues, like family financial stability and academic success. Mike believes that financial stability is integral to a well-rounded life.

Mike is the former vice president, Accounting and Finance, controller and treasurer of Marathon Oil Corporation, retiring after 29 years of service. During his career Mike served as director of internal audit for the company worldwide, manager of internal financial reporting and external analysis, director of corporate staff for USX, the former holding company for Marathon Oil, and internal audit manager at US Steel Corporation in Pennsylvania. Prior to this, he held various management and professional positions in the Marathon Oil Tax department, serving the company in Ohio, Texas and London, England.

Mike began his career with Exxon Mobil Corporation and later was a tax specialist with KPMG.

Mike serves on the board of directors of The American Leadership Forum – Houston Gulf Coast Chapter, Teach for America – Houston Region and AIDS Foundation Houston, Inc. Mike is a certified public accountant and is a graduate of Southern University and the University of Houston.

4:00 PM – Beat the Traffic Social
4:30 PM - Professional Development Session Speaker 
5:30 PM - Social Hour
6:30 PM - Dinner & Presentation

We would like to thank our Platinum Sponsor for sponsoring the Professional Development Session:

We would like to thank our Gold Sponsor: 

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Prospective Member Form
Prospective Members must be submitted via the form link. All forms must be submitted for approval by the membership committee by 5:00 pm on the Wednesday before the meeting . Once approved, FEI will register prospects and inform the member or sponsor contact that the prospect has been approved to attend. This is applicable to anyone bringing a prospective member.

CPE Credit is offered for the PD Session and the Dinner Presentation.  One (1) hour of CPE is offered for each program.  There is not pre-requisite preparation or experience required.

If you have not already done so, please register by 5:00 p.m. Friday, September 15th.
Please note that no shows will be invoiced $50.

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$0.00 1st Time Prospective Member

P.O. Box 32, Bellaire, Texas 77402