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Players - Oct. 2004

BANKING -- Ann R. Worthington has been named CFO of St. Petersburg-based Signature Bank. Worthington was senior vice president of mergers and acquisitions for SouthTrust Bank in Birmingham, Ala. She replaces Carlos Fernandez, who left to start his own bank.

DEVELOPMENT -- Coral Gables-based Peebles Atlantic Development Corp. has named Judith Gaskell CFO, a new position. Gaskell has worked in the industry for more than 12 years.

EDUCATION -- John Winn, a former Putnam County elementary school teacher, was appointed state education commissioner, succeeding former Clay County state Sen. Jim Horne. Winn is a 20-year agency veteran who served as Horne's chief of staff.

FINANCIAL SERVICES -- Former president and CEO of Thomson First Call, Bruce R. Fador has been tapped as president and CEO of Palm Beach Gardens-based Weiss Ratings, an independent rating agency of stocks, insurers, banks and mutual funds. Fador replaces Harold L. Cochran, who left after just five months at the helm.

GOVERNMENT -- Department of Children & Families Secretary Jerry Regier has resigned after two years at DCF saying he cannot be effective amid criticism. Regier's resignation comes just months after the state's inspector general's office discovered Regier and two aides, who also resigned, took favors from contractors.

HEALTHCARE -- Michael Furcht, a Miami Beach hotelier, has been named director of operations, a new position, at Miami-based AM-PM HouseCalls, a provider of emergency and primary care medical house calls.

MANUFACTURING -- Ocala-based Clairson Industries, a custom plastics injection molding company, has named Cloteen Ross-Kilkelly president. Ross-Kilkelly had been vice president of administration for Clairson Industries, a division of Emerson Electric, which makes the Closet Maid brand. She replaces Bob Brown.

PUBLISHING -- St. Petersburg Times Managing Editor Neil Brown has been promoted to executive editor, and Executive Vice President Marty Petty has been promoted to publisher. Brown had been managing editor for nine years. Petty joined the Times in 2000. The titles of publisher and executive editor have not been used by the Times in nearly five years.

Bob Burdick, publisher of the Naples Daily News since 2002, is leaving to become publisher of the Gazette in Colorado Springs, Colo. The search for a new publisher is under way.

RESTAURANTS -- Orlando-based Darden Restaurants has promoted Clarence Otis Jr. to CEO, replacing Joe Lee, who retires in December. Otis had been president of Darden's Smokey Bones division and CFO. Also, Drew Madsen has been promoted to president and COO of Darden.