Beazer Homes USA has hired Allan P. Merrill, a financial expert with a deep knowledge of the homebuilding industry as well as Beazer's operations, as its new executive vice president and CFO, effective May 1.

Merrill replaces James O'Leary, who resigned March 23 to become president and CEO of Kaydon Corporation, a designer and manufacturer of custom-engineered products.

"We are extremely pleased to add someone of Allan's caliber to our executive management team," Ian McCarthy, Beazer's president and CEO, said in the announcement. "His extensive operational, strategic and financial experience within residential real estate and related industries will be extremely valuable as we both manage through the current market conditions and execute on our long term strategic initiatives designed to generate profitable growth and maximize shareholder value."

Merrill, 40, has been working at Move, Inc., where he has been executive vice president of corporate development and strategy since October 2001. Before that, he spent a year and a half as president of, a division of Move, Inc.

Merrill also worked at the investment-banking firm UBS and its predecessor Dillon, Read and Co. for 13 years as a managing director. At the end of his tenure there, he was co-head of the Global Resources Group, overseeing the construction and building materials, chemicals, forest products, mining and energy industry groups. He also co-founded the firm's corporate finance industry team for housing, construction and building materials.

"I look forward to contributing to the continued success of Beazer Homes," said Merrill. "I have known Brian Beazer, Ian McCarthy and many of the senior officers of the company since my tenure at Dillon Read, during which time I had the privilege of advising Beazer Homes on several major transactions as well as the company's initial public offering in 1994."

Merrill is a member of the Policy Advisory Board of the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University and is on the board of the Homebuilding Community Foundation. He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School with a Bachelor of Science in Economics.