Arun Dhingra Practice Group Leader, Dallas
Today’s CFO must complement the CEO’s vision, think strategically and drive business performance, yet remain meticulously independent and objective.
The CFO of a global services firm told us: “Some people are really good at saying no. Others have very good relationship skills. It is hard to find both in one person, but I think both are essential for anyone who wants to be a successful CFO.” Indeed, senior financial officers today must display an impressive array of nuanced strengths. The best are dynamic leaders who project vision and build strong working relationships while maintaining the independence and objectivity required to fulfill their solemn fiduciary duties.
The consultants in our worldwide Financial Officers practice bring you extensive experience in recruiting, appraising, and developing senior financial officers. We conduct CFO searches for multinational companies at global, group, regional, and division levels, offer specialized expertise in private equity and emerging markets, and recruit other functional leaders worldwide.
We understand financial officers because we are close to them. We know what they experience. Many of our consultants previously served in senior finance roles. All remain in personal contact with great financial executives worldwide. We are attuned to the evolving role of the CFO and other senior financial officers.
We see the best CFOs collaborating closely with their CEOs on business strategy and competitiveness as well as investor relations, capital management, financial reporting, planning, analysis, and regulatory compliance. This may help explain why some of the most effective CFOs previously served in line as well as staff roles. Since the global economic crisis, CFOs and other senior financial officers face many new challenges. Banks are far more reluctant to lend and have sharply curtailed intermediary services, compelling financial officers to identify and engage with a much wider range of funding sources. Boards, feeling a heightened need for reassurance on the financial health of their companies, increasingly turn to financial officers for fuller and more frequent briefings, calling on them to communicate complex messages and exchange perspectives with directors.
Our experienced consultants work with you to develop a detailed profile of your ideal financial officer candidate. Indeed, an important part of our role is helping you rethink the very concept of “ideal candidate.” We help you weigh not only the immediate challenges of the role, but also the evolution of the finance function, your company’s changing strategic objectives, and the corresponding opportunities to productively tap more diverse perspectives. Significantly, we can also help you assess leadership potential – using a unique methodology that helps you anticipate how your rising leaders will perform in new and more demanding executive roles – to help you create more accurate and reliable leadership development and succession plans.
Personal, Global Search
When the candidate profile calls for external search, our Financial Officer consultants personally and confidentially engage their local and global relationships and Egon Zehnder colleagues to identify candidates prepared to meet your needs. All of our consultants are motivated via our equal partnership structure and fixed-fee pricing policy to work on your behalf. The power of this trusted network places the insight and resources of our entire firm at each consultant’s fingertips, making our solutions richer and more responsive, and creating tangible and enduring business impact for our clients. Your search consultants are supported by a dedicated team of researchers who simultaneously run your requirements through relevant segments of our database, which continually tracks top executive and director talent worldwide. Through this rigorous process, we closely examine candidates who demonstrate a potential match, analyzing critical incidents in their careers for insights into how they might navigate the challenges they would face in your targeted role. Because there are many different paths to becoming a great CFO, we are careful to seek out candidates with a diversity of backgrounds and experience – including holding P&L roles, leading entrepreneurial growth, and working in global markets.
As we move deeper into conversation with interested, well-qualified candidates, we conduct interviews grounded in our sophisticated and rigorously validated leadership Competency and Potential Model. Our evaluation encompasses far more than the customary professional track record check and referencing. We methodically surface the candidate’s full range of capabilities, personal tendencies, and behavioral characteristics, gain penetrating insights into their readiness to perform in the targeted financial leadership role, and assess how smoothly candidates would integrate into your organization and culture.
Our consultants develop trust-based relationships with candidates, gaining a close understanding of their requirements and concerns. So as your search progresses toward the hiring phase we are ready to serve as problem solvers and facilitators. Our fixed-fee policy ensures that we can play this sensitive role with no conflict of interest.
Our value add does not end with a successful hire. For newly appointed senior financial officers, the first few weeks and months in the role are critical. They must quickly understand the organization’s culture, set the right priorities, and establish credibility with colleagues and stakeholders. Our Accelerated Integration service speeds your new executive’s journey to full impact. We start supporting executives well before “Day One” in a new role – ideally, as soon as the appointment decision is made. Working in collaboration with the hiring manager and the HR manager, we help your executive build an accurate and insightful picture of the upcoming integration challenge, making the keys to leadership success vividly clear and crafting a plan to hit the ground running. We also work personally with the welcoming leadership team as well as the executive to quickly cultivate interpersonal trust and open dialogue. Through the first 90 days, our consultants gather and distill candid feedback on the first impressions the executive is creating during the initial integration. We meet one-on-one with the executive at regular intervals – creating “islands of time” to allow them briefly to set aside all-consuming operational priorities, reflect on progress, identify and prioritize early wins, and calibrate their approach as needed.
Executive Assessment and Development
In addition to executive search, we offer a range of integrated services designed to help you link talent management directly to your company’s strategy. Our proprietary approach to Executive Assessment and Development includes appraisals and role-specific benchmarking of your leaders’ competencies, experience, and growth potential. Our assessment methodology also helps maximize the effectiveness of your teams, providing expert insight to help guide your executive talent development and succession strategies. Our focus on Diversity and Inclusion helps you nurture diversity at the board and executive level and translate diversity into tangible business value.
We pride ourselves on the fact that most of our client relationships are long-term. We earn your loyalty by being consistently effective, energetically responsive to your needs, and tenaciously committed to your ongoing success. Our goal across all our services is to help you make better people decisions for critical roles, systematically increase your leaders’ readiness to take on bigger challenges, build a sustainable talent pipeline, and ensure that your leadership teams have the diverse strengths required to create competitive advantage.