H&R Block Executives
Chief Financial Officer
Tony Bowen was named H&R Block’s Chief Financial Officer May 1, 2016. In this role, Bowen is responsible for leading all financial functions and setting overall financial strategy for the company.
Since joining the company in 2004, Bowen has held many senior leadership roles, most recently as the Vice President of Finance for H&R Block’s U.S. Tax Services division since 2013.
In this position, he was in charge of business planning and analysis, budgeting, forecasting, and acquisitions and development for the 10,000-plus U.S. retail locations. Before that, Bowen was the Vice President and General Manager of H&R Block’s DIY Tax Services business managing the online, mobile and desktop software products.
Previously, Bowen served in a variety of roles for the company and its subsidiaries, including Assistant Vice President of Corporate Development, Program Director of Finance, Director of Hedging, and Senior Treasury Analyst.
Prior to joining H&R Block, Bowen held positions with American Century Investments and George K. Baum and Company.
Bowen holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Missouri-Columbia, where he majored in Finance / Money and Banking. Bowen is also a CFA Charterholder and member of the CFA Institute.
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 and India, 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. His Tax Plus strategy combines tax preparation services with products adjacent to the tax event, such as the H&R Block Emerald Prepaid MasterCard®, an award winning general purpose reloadable debit card, and Tax Identity Shield®, a product designed to protect consumers from tax identity theft. In addition, under Cobb’s leadership, the company has returned a substantial amount of capital to shareholders, having repurchased approximately 30% of shares outstanding and increased the quarterly dividend by over 45% since Fiscal Year 2012.
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.
Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer
Kathy Collins was named H&R Block’s Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer in September 2016 after being the Chief Marketing Officer since October 2013. She joined H&R Block in January 2006 as Vice President, Marketing Communications and Brand Management.
As Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer, Collins 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. She is also responsible for corporate public relations and internal communications.
In October 2014, Collins joined the Ad Council board where she advises the Council on national public service campaigns. Also in 2014, Fortune magazine recognized her as one of its Most Powerful Women NextGen Leaders and for membership in Fortune’s MPW Insider Network. Collins is a regular contributor to this network of business leaders who share advice and ideas about careers, women in the workplace and the latest business trends.
Collins has extensive experience in marketing research and strategic brand development. Prior to joining H&R Block, she 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.
Collins 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.
Collins 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 is married and has two children.
General Counsel and Chief Administrative Officer
Tom Gerke is General Counsel and Chief Administrative Officer of H&R Block. In this position he provides leadership for the company’s legal, government relations and human resource functions.
Prior to his expanded duties, Gerke served as Chief Legal Officer of H&R Block overseeing legal and government relations since joining H&R Block in 2012.
Gerke brings years of executive, legal and staff management 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 serves or 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.
Chief Innovation Officer
Jason Houseworth is H&R Block’s Chief Innovation Officer. He leads a cross-functional organization that is dedicated to innovation in the tax industry, specifically focused on the client’s tax filing experience. Houseworth previously oversaw technology product management and strategy for the digital tax products across the global H&R Block business. He served as general manager for the Digital Tax Solutions business in the U.S., growing clients and revenues four consecutive years.
Houseworth joined H&R Block 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 on the Board of Trustees for William Jewell College. He is a former member of the Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce Centurions and previously served as Chairman of the Board of Directors for Ozanam.
Senior Vice President, U.S. Franchise, Canada, Australia and Block Advisors
Kip Knight was appointed Senior Vice President, U.S. Franchise, Canada and Australia effective May 1, 2016. In this position, Knight is responsible for driving service delivery of tax and financial services throughout the company’s 3,500 franchise offices nationwide, and its operations in Canada and Australia. Knight also is responsible for leading the company’s new service offering, Block Advisors.
Knight, who joined H&R Block in 2012, previously served as President, U.S. Retail Operations, and prior to that, as President, International and U.S. Franchise Operations. Before 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 began his career 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.
He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in marketing from Louisiana State University and his Master of Business Administration from the University of Cincinnati.
Senior Vice President, Chief Information Officer
Alan Lowden is H&R Block’s Chief Information Officer and is responsible for all aspects of technology, information security, and support across six global development sites and 10,000 H&R Block retail offices. Lowden has more than 20 years of leadership experience in product development, software engineering, mobile development, and cloud-based solutions across multiple industries.
Prior to being named Chief Information Officer, Lowden served in a several executive roles at H&R Block, including General Manager of Block Advisors, Vice President of Client Experience, and Vice President of Technology for H&R Block’s retail tax and DIY systems. During his tenure, he led the design, integration, and launch of key systems such as a new tax preparation engine and a customer relationship management platform. These technologies are the foundational elements that enable a seamless, omni-channel experience for H&R Block's clients.
Before joining H&R Block in 2012, Lowden was the Vice President of Enterprise Government for Lexmark Enterprise Software. He also started a management and technology consulting firm and held several strategic roles with Accenture earlier in his career where he led solution architecture and development for several large scale digital transformation projects. Lowden is a graduate of the University of Kansas.
Senior Vice President, U.S. Retail Sales and Service
Karen Orosco was appointed as Senior Vice President, U.S. Retail Sales and Service effective May 1, 2016. In this position, Orosco, who joined H&R Block in 1999, leads the teams responsible for growing new clients and providing outstanding service to all clients through 6,200 company-owned offices across the country.
Prior to her current role, Orosco was the Vice President of Retail Operations. During her six years in this role, she led the implementation of the company’s new tax preparation system and the redesign of the training and operational functions to better support clients, franchisees and company associates across the country.
During her tenure at H&R Block, Orosco has held a variety of technology, operations and client service positions including serving as Vice President, Information Technology and Vice President, Strategic Sourcing. Her diverse leadership background on major initiatives such as the creation of an offshore development center and the design of the corporate headquarters in Kansas City has given her an appreciation for the importance of careful planning, disciplined execution, and strong partnership.
Orosco holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from the University of Houston and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Kansas. She received the Henry Bloch Community Service Award in 2012.