Richard A. von Gnechten
Chief Financial Officer
Richard (Rick) von Gnechten serves as Sapere’s Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and is responsible for corporate finance and accounting for the company and affiliates. In addition, Mr. von Gnechten jointly serves as Chief Operating Officer.
Prior to joining Sapere, Mr. von Gnechten spent six years as a professional CFO to various public and private companies, providing corporate finance, accounting, capital-raising and project services (including due diligence, transaction support, strategic planning, financial analysis/modeling, cash management, and control services). He co-founded a CFO executive service firm and help build it to 20 professionals and over 80 clients before liquidation.
Interim CFO engagements included serving as 1) CFO for OTC-publicly-traded US holding company with construction operations in Alberta and Saskatchewan, Canada; taking $10 million company public through reverse-merger and spinning off $2 million wireless content provider; 2) CFO for technology marketer to financial institutions securing $3 million in private placement funding; developing cash flow & financial reporting system; and 3) CFO for OTC publicly traded custom home builder securing $8 million line of credit and $2.5 million PIPE financing; managing SEC & Sarbanes-Oxley filings.
Mr. von Gnechten previously served as CFO for Hawaiian Electric Company (HECO), a $2 billion diversified U.S. public corporation. As CFO at HECO he: managed corporate finance, accounting, SEC reporting, financial analysis, acquisition/divestiture analysis, and risk management; managed Sarbanes-Oxley, SEC and NYSE compliance; executed over $500 million in debt, preferred and equity capital transactions; managed $1 billion capital budget and supported a $750 million master pension trust. During tenure, HECO achieved record earnings (near allowed ROE each year) and recognized by Dow Jones survey as one of the top 10 public companies for governance and disclosure practices.
Prior to serving as HECO CFO, Mr. von Gnechten spent 3-years managing customer operations, the company’s 2nd largest department including meter reading, billing, payment processing, call center, and credit/collections. He led the adoption of e-commerce customer care and helped achieve industry best bad-debt and electronic payment penetration (25+%). He also ran strategic planning for HECO for 3-years, developing, coordinating and monitoring a new corporate strategic plan and leading investigation/due diligence on acquisition prospects and launching three new companies. He served as legislative intern for Hawaii State Senate President & treasurer for a US Congressional campaign.
Prior to joining HECO, Mr. von Gnechten ran and turned around two healthcare businesses: 1) a $17 million high growth multi-specialty medical clinic in San Diego, which he took from $300,000 loss to $1.5 million profit 2nd year; and 2) a $1 million business-medical coalition in Charlotte, which marketed health cost management to large self-insured companies which he took from loss to profitability in one year and negotiated the sale of programs to a major insurance company.
Mr. von Gnechten has taught strategic planning and investments as adjunct faculty for undergraduates at Hawaii Pacific University and MBA students at Queens University-McColl School of Business.
Mr. von Gnechten holds a Master of Business Administration from Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business, is a Financial Management Program graduate of Stanford’s Graduate School of Business and holds a B.A. in Economics from the University of Denver.