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July 31, 2008

Smyth takes the helm of world’s largest tax preparer

H&R Block has appointed a new chief executive after the resignation of its previous head in November last year. Russ Smyth will become president and chief executive from 1 August replacing Alan Bennett, who has served as interim chief executive of the US company since November 2007. The position was vacant after the resignation of former chief executive Mark Ernst.

Smyth will also join H&R Block’s board of directors, effective upon commencement of his service as chief executive.

Prior to joining the largest tax preparer in the US, Smyth had a 21-year career with McDonald’s Corporation. Most recently he was president of McDonald’s Europe, responsible for 6,300 retail locations in 51 countries with aggregate revenues of more than $6.7 billion.

Smyth has worked in the financial services sector for 13 years. He served in a series of financial accounting and controller positions, including European Controller for the City of London, before returning to the US after being appointed International Controller. Smyth began his career on the audit staff of Price Waterhouse.

H&R Block chairman Richard Breeden said Smyth brings good experience and will deliver quality to a powerful global brand.

“He also has extensive experience with finance and accounting, and appreciates the critical importance of improving returns on capital,” Breeden said. “[Smyth] has worked with and motivated a large and diverse workforce, and also has proven abilities running a significant franchise network.

“The board believes that [Smyth] will help H&R Block utilise more effectively the power of its brand in growing market share and also in improving efficiency and developing new distribution channels in the US and internationally.”

Smyth replaces Alan Bennett, who completes his service as interim chief executive in order to stand for election to the H&R Block board of directors in September. “Alan did an outstanding job under difficult circumstances when he joined the company last November and helped lead it through a series of critical restructuring moves. The company cannot adequately thank Alan for his leadership and for the excellent results he helped achieve during his tenure,” Breeden said.

RSM McGladrey is a wholly owned indirect subsidiary of H&R Block.

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