Robert Moore: Tribute to A Leader

Robert Moore’s career at Financial Executives International never really ended.

Long after retiring from serving as FEI’s second staff president from 1978 to 1989, Moore continued to attend national events, encourage and mentor chapter leaders, and shape FEI’s future as a member-driven association. “It’s not uncommon for leadership to stay involved or act as sounding board to the next generation,” says James Abel, a longtime friend of Moore and a past FEI Chairman. “But Bob brought a unique value through his influence. You could say he had even more influence after he retired.”

Bob Moore passed away in February at the age of 92 after decades of service to FEI.

Moore started his finance career at Price Waterhouse, where he spent 14 years. In 1962, he joined Consolidated Natural Gas in Pittsburgh, where he was controller and chief accounting officer. While at Consolidated, he chaired its Financial and Accounting Planning Committee and was chair of the American Gas Association Accounting Advisory Council.

It was later in his career that he become FEI president and served for over a decade, helping transition the organization’s move from New York City to New Jersey.  During that period, he also acted as president and chairman of the International Association of Financial Executives Institutes and as a member of the Financial Accounting Standards Advisory Council. He was also in the inaugural class of FEI’s Hall of Fame in 2006, which recognizes those unique individuals who epitomize the performance, leadership and integrity of the most exemplary financial executives throughout their careers. 

Throughout his tenure at FEI, the constant refrain  about Bob Moore’s leadership from those around him was his focus on members and making sure their voices were heard. “He came in at a critical juncture in the organization’s history,” says H. Stephen Grace, Jr., president of H.S. Grace & Co. a past FEI chair and current FEI Board member. “Senior-level financial executives needed a voice with regulators and standard-setters. Bob knew how to use the firepower and get our members to testify in Washington. It wasn’t about him talking. He had no personal agenda and he knew FEI’s power was in the members.”

Even after his retirement and his transition away from the “day to day” tasks at FEI, Bob Moore continued to reveal his deep passion for FEI as an organization, says Colleen Cunningham, Senior Vice President and Corporate Controller at Zoetis, who followed Phil Livingston as FEI CEO in 2003. “When I first became CEO of FEI he reached out and took me under his wing,” says Cunningham. “He provided advice and counsel throughout my tenure. I would get phone calls and little notes in the mail. He cared so much about FEI and he truly loved it.” Cunningham adds Moore’s influence went beyond FEI, leading to her involvement in Penn State’s accounting program and eventually her two children attending his beloved alma mater.

“It was all about his passion, whether it was FEI or Penn State,” Grace adds. “The history, the relationships and not letting current events and changes taint the organization and its long history of respect.”

Moore’s passion for the FEI community, even after his service as president, continued throughout his retirement, with colleagues receiving questions and phone calls about FEI just a few weeks before his passing. “He didn’t want to be too visible, but was commited to FEI as an organization,” Abel concludes. “He truly loved it as a member-driven community”.