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.