Antoinette McCorvey, the youngest of nine children raised on a cattle farm in the Florida panhandle, studied and worked her way to the C-suites of Eastman Kodak and George Washington University. Now, she will bring her deep leadership experience in finance and operational management to Davidson College as the next vice president for finance and administration and chief financial officer.
McCorvey, who goes by "Ann," has served as George Washington University's deputy executive vice president and treasurer for the past five years. In that role she has held primary responsibility for the university's financial and physical resources. Her duties have also included managing information systems and human resources divisions.
She starts at Davidson on Feb. 1.
"Ann brings a record of generating ideas that steered valuable changes in direction, of leading through both adversity and growth, and of providing a strategic view of operations," said Davidson College President Carol E. Quillen. "She is precisely the kind of leader we need as Davidson expands the experiences and opportunities that help cultivate in our students the courage to lead and serve in the world that awaits them."
McCorvey was a high school math whiz interested in teaching when a guidance counselor introduced her to other career paths for the computationally inclined. She headed toward accounting. Neither of her parents was able to finish high school. They encouraged and supported Ann and her siblings' pursuits of education. She credits her father for her knack for business.
"My father had an entrepreneurial spirit," McCorvey said. "Growing up, I watched him apply, without a college education, many of the business principles I would later learn in college as he managed the farm and his various businesses. I have carried that spirit with me throughout my career. I am always curious about how things work and how we can make them work better."
She rose through positions of increasing responsibility, first, at Solutia, Inc. (formerly part of Monsanto) and, then, Kodak. She moved from a divisional director into a series of vice president roles and, last, as CFO and senior vice president of the $5 billion company. Her work included navigating markets around the globe, overseeing a $250 million bond issuance and, as digital photography overtook the company built on analog film, helping steer it into digital imaging markets.
At George Washington, McCorvey developed a five-year planning process that engages the entire university. She led the delivery of $100 million in cost reductions over three years that were reinvested in the school's academic mission and put in place a new financial management tool for developing and analyzing budgets and forecasts across the university.
"Education changes lives," she said. "I can see that in my life and that of my eight siblings. I joined higher education believing that I could use all of my previous corporate experiences to make a difference. Davidson provides me the opportunity to join a team that is dedicated to the same goal as mine -- making a difference in young people's lives so that they can make a difference in the world."
McCorvey, a certified management accountant, received both a bachelor's degree in accounting and finance and an MBA from the University of West Florida, in Pensacola. She has served on the boards of several corporations and nonprofit organizations. Ann and her husband, Harvey, a retired retail executive, have two adult sons, Lerrick, who lives in Atlanta, and Terrance, who lives in Lauderhill, Florida.