New CFO replaces Ares official removed for ‘inappropriate’ employee relations

Former Ares exec loses millions in unvested stock incentives.

Los Angeles-based Ares Management has appointed Jarrod Phillips as its new chief financial officer after its previous CFO was let go for engaging in “inappropriate personal relationships and interactions with employees”, the company stated in a filing.

Ares Management in an 8-K filed Monday reported that it terminated former CFO and chief operating officer Michael McFerran earlier this month. The board’s decision followed an independent investigation by an outside law firm, the release said. Ares would not elaborate on the statement, and a spokesperson declined to provide additional comment.

McFerran held a key position at Ares Management, a major force in the private debt business. The most recent proxy listed his areas of oversight as finance, accounting, technology, operations and human resources. McFerran joined Ares in 2015 and his 2020 compensation was $8.6 million, the proxy said. As a result of the termination, McFerran forfeits performance-based equity awards valued at more than $50 million that would have vested by 2026, the company said in a statement.

“Mr McFerran’s conduct was entirely inconsistent with our values and cannot be tolerated,” said Tony Ressler, co-founder and executive chairman of Ares Management, in the prepared statement.

Before joining Ares, McFerran served as a managing director at KKR, CFO of KKR’s credit business and CFO and COO of KKR Financial Holdings, the proxy said.

Phillips, who joined the firm in 2016 from Deloitte & Touche, will serve as CFO and principal finance and accounting officer. The post comes with a base salary of $750,000 and 20,000 restricted units of Ares Class A common stock that vests over five years. Phillips assumed the post on 4 August.