H&R Block Executives
William C. Cobb, President and Chief Executive Officer
William C. Cobb was named President and Chief Executive Officer of H&R Block, Inc. in May 2011. He has been a member of the company’s Board of Directors since August 2010.
Since Cobb took over as CEO, he has brought a renewed focus to the company anchored in a set of values summed up as “we do the right thing.” For H&R Block that means: we believe in our people, we take care of our clients and we deliver for our shareholders. For the largest branded tax preparation company in the United States with international business in Canada, Australia, India and Brazil, Cobb has clarified its purpose: to look at its clients’ lives through the lens of taxes and find ways to help.
Cobb, who brought to his role experience in the retail, digital and consumer-brand space, has driven success throughout the company by focusing the organization on its core expertise – tax preparation. In addition, he has elevated the company’s Emerald Card from a simple, once-a-year gift card to a leading general purpose reloadable debit card in the market with fewer and lower fees than its competitors; driven growth outpacing its competitors in the do-it-yourself online market category; and increased net income from continuing operations by 18 percent and earnings per share 33 percent from FY11 to FY13.
Prior to joining H&R Block, Cobb was President of eBay U.S. Marketplaces, the company’s flagship division from 2004 to 2008. Under his management, the eBay division traded $25 billion in goods and services, and reached a record $2.6 billion in revenue. In addition to eBay’s U.S. performance, Cobb was responsible for affiliated businesses such as, StubHub, Shopping.com and Rent.com. Cobb led eBay’s International division from 2002 to 2004. He started with eBay in 2000 as the head of eBay’s Global Marketing, where he developed the company’s first brand campaign and the largest Internet marketing function on the Web.
From 1987 until 2000, Cobb occupied several senior-level positions at PepsiCo and YUM! Brands, including Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of International Marketing for YUM!, and Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer of Pizza Hut U.S.
Cobb earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Economics from the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business and a Masters of Business Administration degree from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
Richard Agar, Chief Information Officer
Richard Agar is the Company’s Chief Information Officer, leading all strategic technology and operational initiatives that support the retail and digital tax businesses, financial services matters, and other corporate programs. Before joining H&R Block, Agar spent 23 years at General Electric in a variety of executive and operational positions. His diverse background in business operations, Six Sigma and global enterprise technology have been instrumental in improving quality and operational excellence at H&R Block. Agar’s previous positions include Global Chief Information Officer of GE Insurance Solutions in Kansas City, Kansas; Global CIO of GE Silicones in Waterford, New York; and Chief Technology Officer of GE Plastics in Pittsfield, Massachusetts. Agar began his technology career in Boston as a technology architect in the banking industry. He graduated from Bentley University in Waltham, Mass., where he earned a degree in accounting.
Kathy Collins, Chief Marketing Officer
Kathy Collins joined H&R Block as Vice President, Marketing Communications and Brand Management, in January 2006. Since then, she has held a number of leadership roles within marketing, and was named Chief Marketing Officer in October 2013.
She is responsible for all brand marketing capabilities, including consumer insights, advertising, merchandising, creative services, interactive marketing, and media. She is also responsible for developing and implementing all retail tax strategies and programs across a number of consumer targets. She manages partnerships, sponsorships, and cause marketing programs for the H&R Block brand.
Prior to joining H&R Block, Kathy spent nearly 15 years at Lee Jeans, a division of VF Corporation. She is credited with launching the award-winning Buddy Lee campaign, which drove to a sales increase of 150% in two years. She also was one of several Lee employees who developed Lee National Denim Day, an award-winning cause marketing initiative that raises awareness and money for the fight against breast cancer. After ten years, Lee National Denim Day raised more than $65 million and continues to be the largest single-day fundraiser for breast cancer in the world.
Kathy has a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree from Kansas State University and a Masters of Business Administration degree from Arizona State University. She began her career in marketing at Informix Software in Lenexa, Kansas, where she worked primarily on new product launches and public relations. She later worked with Microsoft’s Bill Gates on the launch of the first Windows operating system. She also has extensive experience in marketing research and strategic brand development.
Tom Gerke, Chief Legal Officer
Tom Gerke is Chief Legal Officer of H&R Block, providing leadership for the company’s legal and government relations functions.
Gerke brings years of executive and legal experience to the company, including recent roles in telecom as Executive Vice Chairman for CenturyLink, President and Chief Executive Officer of Embarq, and General Counsel for Embarq with additional responsibilities for its Wholesale Markets business unit. Starting in 1994, he served in various leadership and legal roles at Sprint Corporation, including Executive Vice President, Law and External Affairs. Prior to his service at Sprint, Gerke spent nine years in private legal practice focused primarily on strategic corporate transactions. In addition to telecom and private practice, Gerke previously served as Executive Vice President and General Counsel for YRC Worldwide.
Gerke currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors for Consolidated Communications, and has served on several local boards, including Rockhurst University and the Kansas City Local Investment Commission. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration from the University of Missouri in Columbia, his Masters of Business Administration degree from Rockhurst University, and his Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Missouri School of Law in Kansas City.
Jason Houseworth, President, Global Digital Tax Solutions & Product Management
Jason Houseworth is the President, Global Digital and Product Management at H&R Block. He oversees technology product management and strategy for the digital tax products across the global H&R Block business. His role includes general manager responsibilities for the Digital Tax Solutions business in the U.S., which served 7.6 million clients during tax season 2013 through H&R Block online and desktop tax software products.
Houseworth previously served as Vice President and Chief Technology Officer for H&R Block Digital Tax and founded the “Client Innovation Lab” in August 2009 in order to drive brand consideration through technology capability advancement and digital B2B partnerships.
Prior to joining H&R Block, Houseworth spent most of his career in consulting as a rules engine architect on Health and Human Services implementations for Accenture before joining General Electric in 2004. He most recently served as the Senior Vice President and Global Claims IT Leader at Swiss Re (formerly GE Insurance Solutions), where he helped integrate the global technical accounting and claims systems into a single transactional/workflow platform with a consolidated data warehouse/document management back-end.
Houseworth graduated magna cum laude from William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri and spent a year at Oxford University. Houseworth serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors for Ozanam and sits on the President’s Advisory Council for William Jewell College. He is a former member of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce Centurions.
Kip Knight, President, U.S. Retail Operations
As President of U.S. Retail Operations, Kip Knight is responsible for driving service delivery of tax and financial services to the company’s 14.5 million U.S. retail clients throughout its nationwide network of company and franchise offices.
Knight joined H&R Block in 2012 and previously served as President, International and U.S. Franchise Operations. Prior to joining H&R Block, Knight’s 30-year career has included senior management and marketing positions with Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo, YUM! Brands and eBay.
Knight started in marketing research at Burke Marketing Research and has worked in 65 countries. He spent 10 years in brand management at Procter & Gamble and worked for 10 years in PepsiCo’s international restaurant division, where he served as General Manager of North Latin America and as the first head of marketing for KFC International. Knight was also Chief Marketing Officer for Taco Bell.
From 2002 until 2008, Knight worked at eBay, the world’s largest e-commerce site. He was Vice-President of marketing for eBay, North America. He was also responsible for managing eBay Canada, the leading e-commerce site in Canada. He was the first head of International Marketing and served as Regional Vice President for eBay International for Latin America, Australia and Taiwan.
Knight is founder of the U.S. Marketing Communication College at the U.S. State Department, which trains diplomats on marketing strategy and implementation. Knight is currently on the Board of Directors at Quiznos.
He earned his Bachelor of Science degree from Louisiana State University in marketing and his Masters of Business Administration from the University of Cincinnati.
Greg Macfarlane, Chief Financial Officer
Greg Macfarlane is H&R Block’s Chief Financial Officer. He joined the company in June 2012.
Prior to joining H&R Block, Macfarlane was Executive Vice President and CFO for Ceridian Corporation. He also spent more than 14 years in senior leadership roles at General Electric Company, including Senior Vice President and CFO for WMC Mortgage, GE Money, Senior Vice President and CFO at GE Partnership Marketing Group, and Vice President and CFO of GE Fleet Services in Japan. Macfarlane was a member of GE’s financial management program and its Corporate Audit Staff.
Macfarlane earned his undergraduate degree from Wilfrid Laurier University and his Masters of Business Administration from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.
Greg Quarles, President, Financial Services
In his role as President, Financial Services, Greg Quarles is responsible for the overall leadership and direction of the financial products and services offered through H&R Block, including the H&R Block Emerald Prepaid MasterCard. Quarles has more than 25 years of executive leadership experience in the financial services industry. Prior to re-joining H&R Block Bank in March 2012, he served as Deputy Compliance Officer in charge of Enterprise Risk Management and Governance for GE Capital Financial Inc. He also served as Chief Risk Officer for H&R Block Bank for six years 2006-2011.
Quarles previously served with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC) in a variety of leadership roles over an 18-year career. In these roles, he developed an advanced knowledge of regulatory compliance risk management, credit risk analysis and portfolio administration, as well as enterprise risk management and governance practices and principles.
Quarles holds a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Kansas and Bachelor’s degree in Finance from Texas Tech University. In 2009, he received the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Alliance for Economic Inclusion Star Award for his efforts in developing innovative products and services to meet the needs of the unbanked and under-banked populations.
Quarles currently serves on the Nelson Atkins Museum Business Council, the FDIC Alliance for Economic Inclusion New Products Steering Committee, and on the boards of the Missouri Colleges Fund and Missouri Bankers Association.
Marie T. van Luling, Chief Communications Officer
Marie T. van Luling is Chief Communications Officer at H&R Block. In this role, she sets the overall communications strategy that shapes the reputation of the world’s largest tax preparation company by influencing the influencers as well as driving traditional channel engagement with media relations, public relations, and internal communications.
Previously, van Luling was Vice President of Communications at Northeast Utilities from 2007 to 2012. In this role, she led parent and operating company public relations, advertising, media relations, public affairs, and employee, regulatory and marketing communications. Under her leadership, she helped the company build top level communication functions.
In addition to her time spent at Northeast Utilities, van Luling has held numerous executive positions throughout her career including Senior Vice President of Marketing/Corporate Communications at Bank Rhode Island, Managing Director at Manning Selvage & Lee, Principal Foreman at Heidepriem & Mager, Inc., Principal, The Hale Group, and Vice President of Public Affairs and later as Senior Vice President at Aetna Life & Casualty. She began her career as an attorney with Aetna Life & Casualty.
van Luling has served on many civic boards including as Chair of the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame and Trustee of The Hartford Symphony and MLS Trust . She is a member of the Arthur Page Society, The Seminar and the Massachusetts, Connecticut and Federal Bars.
van Luling holds a Bachelor of Arts, magna cum laude, in Humanities from Providence College in Providence, Rhode Island and a Juris Doctor from the Villanova University School of Law in Villanova, Pennsylvania.
Aileen Wilkins, Chief People Officer
Aileen Wilkins is the Chief People Officer for H&R Block. In this role, Aileen leads the company’s people strategies including workforce planning, talent management, organizational capabilities and culture.
Before joining H&R Block in 2007, she served in a variety of human resources roles for several companies, including Eli Lilly & Company, NetSales, Gateway, Inc., and Informix Software in Kansas City. Since joining H&R Block, she has worked closely with the company’s retail business as well as the functional leaders and teams.
Wilkins has a Masters of Business Administration degree from the University of Kansas and a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.