KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) _ H&R Block Inc. chief financial officer Frank J. Cotroneo has decided to leave the company, the Kansas City-based tax preparer said Thursday.

Cotroneo, 44, decided to leave H&R Block ``to pursue other opportunities,'' company spokeswoman Linda McDougall said, calling his departure ``amicable.''

In a statement released by H&R Block, Cotroneo, who joined the company as CFO in February 2000, said he would stay until the end of October to assist in the transition to a new chief financial officer.

``I'm pleased with the accomplishments we've made over the past three years, and I am confident that I'm leaving H&R Block in strong financial standing with a team capable of continuing this progress,'' Cotroneo said.

Mark A. Ernst, H&R Block's chairman and chief executive, said Cotroneo ``played a leadership role in helping the company implement a disciplined financial management process and create a performance-driven culture within our finance organization.''

Shares of H&R Block closed up 18 cents at $43.83 Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange.

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