This report is based on a survey of a 140 UK based respondents across Audit Committee Chairs, Board Chairs, CFOs and Audit Partners in the UK. The survey was supplemented with 21 interviews with UK Board Chairs, Audit Committee Chairs, CFOs and Audit Partners aimed at determining what characteristics are needed to lead this key Committee, what the job entails now, and crucially how an Audit Committee Chair can succeed.
As private equity firms look to maximize value from their investments, it is critical to ensure that portfolio company management teams have the right capabilities to execute against their investment theses. Though in many cases the underlying premise will lie in backing an existing management team, it is increasingly common for private equity firms to bring in a new CFO early in the lifespan of an investment.
At the Forbes Leadership Forum on Private Equity, Charles Gray, co-leader of Egon Zehnder’s US Diversity Practice with a special focus on Private Equity, recently contributed to the discussion on diversity, arguing that while Private Equity does not have the best record on diverse hiring, it does have a type of “evergreen hiring” that we can all learn from: Building great talent pipelines by forging strong relationships with promising candidates – before they’re even candidates.
With attacks from financial activists on the rise, companies are starting to beef up their boards with experienced experts, reports the Swiss daily Neue Zürcher Zeitung. Both major concerns and smaller, family-run firms in Switzerland have launched board-level recruitment drives over the last 6 months, confirms Philippe Hertig, partner at Egon Zehnder in Zurich.
The days when the main function of Audit Committees was to put a “stamp of approval” on companies’ financials are long gone. Heightened risk awareness and increased regulation means that Audit Committees must now take on a much more proactive role in detecting, understanding and acting on risk – be it financial, macroeconomic, regulatory, legal or cybersecurity-related.
Within the executive committee, there is no relationship more important than that between the chief executive officer and the chief financial officer. Because of this, when hiring a CFO, particular attention must be paid to the fit between the candidate and the chief executive. In our experience working with boards and CEOs making CFO appointments, strong CEO-CFO relationships exhibit three qualities.