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Former Metro CFO Carol Kissal takes job at Emory University

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Metro’s former chief financial officer Carol Kissal has been named vice president for finance/chief finance officer at Emory University, officials announced last week.

Kissal, who spent more than five years as Metro’s top financial officer, stepped down from the job in April. Her work was praised by Metro chief Richard Sarles, but her departure came on the heels of a critical federal report that found numerous issues with the authority’s contracting and procurement practices — areas that she oversaw during her tenure. Kissal was also named as a defendant in a recently settled whistleblower lawsuit against the authority. Metro officials admitted no wrongdoing but agreed to pay a nearly $5 million settlement in the case.

In making the announcement, Emory University officials praised Kissal’s experience.

“Carol stands out as someone who has finance and capital market experience, a keen intellect, a deep understanding of complex organizations and a track record of successful leadership. To lead in a mission-driven enterprise with deeply established values, we identified a professional who possesses a rare combination of skills and characteristics including financial acumen, capital markets experience, integrity, superb communication skills, professional temperament and a record of accomplishing important work in organizations characterized by deep complexity,” said Michael J. Mandl, the university’s executive vice president, business and administration in a press release announcing the appointment.

The release did make note of the federal report noting that.

“Although a financial review conducted by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) found weaknesses in adherence to procurement, control and process rules associated with FTA grants during her tenure, ‘Carol maintained the long-term view for WMATA’s financial performance and operating standards, and made steady incremental improvements against significant headwinds,’ ” Mandl said.

Kissal will begin her job in September. University officials declined to state her salary.

In a memo to employees announcing Kissal’s departure, Sarles said Kissal was resigning to take a “position in the private sector.” And Kissal, in an e-mail, said her departure was not tied to the FTA audit: “This opportunity for me has been in the works for several months.”

At Metro, Kissal oversaw the agency’s nearly $3 billion annual budget and was responsible for collection of revenue, buying parts and services, information and technology work and planning and development. She came to Metro in 2008, having previously worked at the District Department of Transportation as a deputy director and as treasurer at Amtrak, where Sarles and several of his top executives now at Metro also worked. As Metro’s CFO, she was paid $243,600 in 2013.