H&R Block has named a new president and CEO, Russ Smyth, the former president of McDonald's Europe.

Smyth replaces Alan Bennett, who has served as interim CEO since November 2007. He has a 21-year-long career with the fast food giant, including 13 years in financial accounting and controller positions. He worked as McDonald's European controller in London before he returned to the U.S. as international controller.

"Russ has excellent experience working with a powerful brand and delivering consistently high-quality performance across a vast retail network," said Block chairman Richard Breeden in a statement. "He also has extensive experience with finance and accounting, and appreciates the critical importance of improving returns on capital."

Block's former CEO, Mark Ernst, resigned last November after the company suffered heavy losses from its Option One mortgage-lending business, which Block sold in March (see Block CEO Out). The company hired Bennett as interim CEO from Aetna, where he had served as CFO before retiring from the health insurer. Smyth will take over as CEO on August 1.


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