Harvey’s appointment is effective from July 9.
He will take the reins from interim CFO Robert Kerley, who will continue his role as the producer’s vice-president, corporate controller and chief accounting officer.
The new executive comes to Walter from a 20-year career at Resolute Forest Products, where he served as senior vice-president and CFO for the public company and carried the overall responsibility for finance, accounting, treasury, Securities and Exchange Commission reporting, tax, risk management, business development, strategic planning and investor relations.
“I am confident that Bill will be an excellent fit with our senior management team," chief executive officer Walt Scheller said.
“Bill is a proven strategic leader and problem-solver [and] he brings to Walter Energy a strong personal and professional background and expertise.
“I look forward to working with him to accomplish our financial and organizational goals and to enhance shareholder value.”
Harvey said he was anxious to contribute to the producer’s strategy going forward.
“I am also eager to further develop Walter Energy's already strong financial culture focused on fostering integration, facilitating growth and instilling best practices.”
The change in financial leadership comes after a “disappointing” first quarter that led the company to cut production and also a March announcement by several law firms that Walter was the subject of a class action lawsuit on behalf of the impacted purchasers of Walter common stock.
Pennsylvania-based Howard Smith, New York group Harwood Feffer, Rigrodsky and Long of Delaware and others said they would seek remedies under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and filed the lawsuit at the US District Court for the Northern District of Alabama.
The class action group includes those who purchased stock between April 20 and September 21, 2011.
Their complaint alleged Walter was experiencing “squeeze” events in Alabama and lower coal transportation rates in Canada that significantly reduced its coal production.
It also alleged Walter was experiencing a significant decline in its margins and profitability and the defendants lacked a reasonable basis for its positive statements about the company and its business prospects during the class period.