CFO Thought Leader

CFO Thought Leader

CFO THOUGHT LEADER is a ground-breaking business podcast, hosted by Jack Sweeney that brings you first hand accounts of CFOs who are driving change within their organizations. Our interviews capture their actions so that you can learn what might work for your organization. In addition to their company history we share the career journey of our spotlighted guest: What do they struggle with? How do they persevere? What makes them successful?... Show More

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Years from now, when Hilla Sferruzza recalls her initial actions to buffer the impact of COVID-19 on home builder Meritage Homes Corp. (NYSE: MTH) of Scottsdale, Arizona, she will likely not forget the seemingly endless calls that she placed to land sellers across the country.

“It’s not like I’m calling a manufacturer and telling them to bring less raw material to my factory. I’m calling land sellers...

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When Amir Jafari looks back and reflects on his path to the CFO office, he includes two character traits that have arguably long distinguished finance leaders from other functional leaders. 

“We in finance have high levels of accountability and integrity, and these are the things that we’re able to then transpose in terms of what we do and how we are able to lead as CFOs,” explains Jafari, who says that it was his ability to “trans...

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At the age of 31, David Woodworth was offered CFO positions at two different firms. The first offer came from his then current employer, where as vice president of finance he was keenly aware of urgent challenges that the company’s next CFO would need to address. The second offer came unsolicited from a smaller company in the same field, where he could expect to ease into the role and set the pace for his first 100 days.

“It was a ...

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Earlier this year, when the FDIC approved fintech start-up Varo Money’s application to become a national bank, Thibault Fulconis’s latest CFO career chapter suddenly appeared to make perfect sense.   

Still, it was only two years ago that Fulconis’s entry into the land of fintech start-ups no doubt raised a few eyebrows among his former colleagues at BancWest Corp., where he most recently served as vice chairman and COO.

“I was com...

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Last February, following his arrival on a flight to Israel, Tomer Pinchas recalls receiving a startling text from the Israeli government. Having recently visited Italy, the text explained, passenger Pinchas must now agree to enter self-quarantine for a period two weeks. As CFO of Kryon—a Tel Aviv start-up specializing in Robotic Process Automation (RPA)—Pinchas, like most business travelers, was well aware of the recent spread of C...

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When John Theler stepped into the CFO office at SaaS developer Avetta last summer, among his list of priorities was the daunting task of better articulating supply chain hazards to management teams and industry at large.  

Nine months later, Theler has no doubt added a number of items to his list of finance leader priorities, but his articulation task has become far less daunting. Not surprisingly, it seems that his thoughtful comm...

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It was supposed to be the type of introduction that would help to break the ice between a new business leader and her direct reports. However, the words spoken by the managing director (MD) became frozen in time.

Or at least this was the case for Virpy Richter, who at the age of 27 had only recently relocated from Germany after having accepted a promotion to oversee the finances of her company’s Dutch operating unit.

“This is the G...

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When it comes to raising money from the investor community, finance executives often find themselves standing in line for job assignments that promise to make them active participants in the process.

Such roles allow aspiring finance leaders to check off one of the more essential items on the demanding list of prerequisites required of high-growth­–firm CFOs.

For those executives who have climbed the accounting career ladder or toi...

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For many future finance leaders, the year 2020 is destined to provide the dark moments of doubt that sweeten the upsides to be savored in years to come.

Certainly, few business lessons are more widely cherished than those related to challenging economic times—and few are summoned more by finance leaders when it comes to explaining their business-building philosophies.

Such is the case with Narvar CFO Jim Emerich, who in recounting ...

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Having built a successful career in private equity—including 13 years with formidable Carlyle Group—Sameer Bhargava was probably not the most likely candidate to fill a CFO position at Clark Construction Group of Bethesda, Maryland.

The two businesses belonged to strikingly different worlds. Whereas Carlyle populated its world with leading-edge investment vehicles and innovative global assets, Clark has left its mark with signature...

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Purchasing bananas and moving them through a warehouse in less than 24 hours is perhaps not a professional experience widely shared by today’s finance leaders. Still, as Topia CFO Terry Schmid tells it, mastering banana logistics may just be a worthy prerequisite for many of today’s CFO roles.

“It taught me to think about the process that you go through to understand how things flow, how things actually work, and how you can improv...

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Last November, CFO Bob Feller achieved a career milestone of sorts when he celebrated his fifth anniversary as Workforce Software’s finance leader.

“Prior to this, the longest that I have ever stayed anywhere has been four years,” explains Feller, who says that the cadence of his CFO career transitions is normally in step with those of other tech sector CFOs, who are known to job-hop every three to four years.

Still, Feller mention...

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Back in 2008, when auction giant eBay acquired Bill Me Later (BML), a Maryland-based payment credit company, Brian Whalen and his BML colleagues breathed a sigh of relief.

“We had just enough liquidity and options to give us the runway to sell to eBay and PayPal, so—from a learning perspective—it was really about asking the questions ‘How do you keep those options open?’ and ‘How do you keep your liquidity choices available to you ...

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When asked whether a new sales enablement hire would be a “direct report,” Bill Koefoed, CFO of OneStream Software, replied: “Organization matters only when your processes and relationships don’t.”

It’s an observation not shared widely perhaps among newbie CFOs, who upon their arrival are known to rely more on organizational reporting lines than relationship potential to assert their influence.

Nevertheless, four months and one pan...

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When Mohit Daswani stepped into the CFO office of Sunnyvale, Calif.-based ThoughtSpot this past January, he ascended to something more than just another finance leadership position inside a SaaS start-up.

Daswani was joining an influential class of CFOs distinguished by their ability to communicate a vision that connects not just with investors, but also with other CFOs. This is a cohort widely visible within the realm of business ...

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As the newly appointed CFO of agtech start-up Cooks Venture, Ankur Agrawal lists one of his favorite duties as designing menus. Of course, we are referring to the menu of performance measurements featured on the poultry company’s maturing business dashboard.

“One of the beauties that comes with joining a new company is that you get to build from scratch,” explains Agrawal, who says that he’s relied on some of his earlier experience...

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Along his path to the CFO office at technology firm Trintech, Omar Choucair’s segue from radio to high tech was among his most consequential career transitions.

“There were not a lot of radio companies based in Dallas, Texas, at the time, and there was this young but growing tech company. While it was a calculated risk on my part, I liked the people, and the executives were hard-charging, which I also liked,” says Choucair, when as...

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Nestor: Energy Focus is an LED lighting and controls company. LED lighting is like comparing a smartphone to a rotary phone. LED lights are actually extremely high-tech—it's almost like having a laptop inside the light. If you were to take one apart, you would be amazed at how many computer components and wafers and chips are in there. These lights are not a commodity. They are very differentiated. Unfortunately, the industry ...

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