If you’re applying for a CFO position, having an MBA on your resume is better than a CPA designation


The ability of their companies to attract and retain talent is a top concern for CFOs. But the current talent war isn’t ending anytime soon.

“I certainly think we’ll live with this pace of demand that we’ve seen for at least the next five years,” said Clem Johnson, president of Crist | Kolder Associates, an executive search firm, to a group of CFOs last night in Chicago. .

During Fortune‘s CFO Collaborative, in partnership with Workday and sponsored by Deloitte at Sepia Restaurant, Fortune CEO Alan Murray had a chat with Johnson about the demand for talent, the qualities companies are looking for in CFOs and why CFOs who are certified public accountants (CPAs) are in less demand.

The CFO is the “nerve center of the business,” Johnson told the CFOs in attendance. “You touch operations, supply chain, sales and marketing.” He continued, “When we get a call from a board or a CEO and they say, ‘We need a new CFO’, it starts with a strategic lens in an almost business that had never existed before.”

Traditionally, the CFO’s role has been to manage risk and ensure the company has controls in place, he explained. “And then as things continued to get more complex and sophisticated and demanding,” CFOs find themselves “rooted in operations or business things,” he said.

An example? One of Johnson’s clients asked him to hire a CFO “who is very good at pricing,” he said. “And pricing hasn’t always been the domain of CFOs.” CFOs are finding “more and more sub-functions” under their responsibility, he said.

A strategic CFO is in such demand that MBA graduates are increasingly sought after by companies than CPA graduates, Johnson said. The recent report from Crist|Kolder Associates CFO survey at Fortune 500 and S&P 500 found that in 2022, 51.5% of CFOs had an MBA, compared to about a third who were CPAs. There have been instances where clients see a resume with a CPA credential listed and they lose interest in the candidate, Johnson said. “A lot of the time we convince them to go beyond the optics and focus on what the person has actually accomplished in the past few years.”

With the explosion of data and digitalization, many CFOs oversee the technology function, including managing data science groups, Johnson said. He’s even worked with companies where the CFO is the guardian of consumer behavior data, he said. For example, when hotels ask guests what they liked about their stay or even if they would like to receive a newsletter in the morning, “believe it or not, all of this data is kind of within the purview of a chief financial officer in many of these hotels”. businesses,” he said.

Companies continue to seek risk-averse CFOs with “extraordinary professionalism,” Johnson said. However, communication skills are also in high demand, along with “more charisma, maybe than in the past,” he said. “The strategic aspect of the CFO role now comes with a commercial element to the partnership,” Johnson said.

CFOs can no longer simply be “the enforcer or the bad cop”, he said. “It needs to be someone who is a business enabler and is fundamentally there to maximize the creation of shareholder value,” Johnson said. “You can’t just cut costs.”

Have a nice week end. Take care of yourself.

Sheryl Estrada
[email protected]

Big deal

Healthcare spending in 2021 increased by an average of 14% per covered participant, the largest increase in a decade, according to the “2023 Health Plan Cost Trends Surveyby HR consultancy Segal. Next year, when looking at trends for hospitals and doctors, the prices of goods and services will be a more important factor than the use of services. Inflation hospital prices are expected to be 5.7%. “Hospital price increases continue to be one of the main cost drivers,” according to the report. “Shortages of nurses and caregivers have led to wage increases as many health systems have had to pay contract agencies or travelers who charge higher rates to fill vacancies.

Courtesy of Segal

Go further

Here are some reads from the weekend:

“Jamie Dimon on How Government Can Solve Inflation: It Can’t” by Megan Leonhardt

Honda to employees: Oops, we miscounted your bonus, please return some of it by Alice Hearing

“Inside the Ethereum merge: Behind the scenes of the historic event, according to the people who made it possible” by Taylor Locke

“People decide you can’t have it all: 1 in 3 workers say they fear kids will slow their careers” by Chloe Berger


Here is a list of some notable moves this week:

Tarkan Gürkan was appointed Chief Financial Officer of Chobani, an American company that produces and markets Greek yogurt. Gürkan has over 25 years of experience in the public and private sectors. Prior to joining Chobani, he was Chief Investment Officer at Shepherd Futures, LLC. Prior to that, he was senior vice president of corporate mergers and acquisitions at PepsiCo. He previously served as Vice President of Corporate Development at Campbell Soup Company. Gürkan has also held senior financial positions at Lehman Brothers Inc. and Nabisco Holdings Corp. He received his MBA from the Amos Tuck School at Dartmouth College and his bachelor’s degree from Boğaziçi University.

Michael Bilerman was appointed EVP, CFO and Chief Investment Officer at Tanger Factory Outlet Centers, Inc. (NYSE: SKT), an operator of outdoor fulfillment centers. Bilerman is expected to join the company in the fourth quarter of 2022. With nearly 25 years of industry experience, Bilerman has spent his entire career in real estate. For the past 18 years, Bilerman has been with Citi, most recently as a managing director and head of real estate and accommodations within its Citi Research division. He started his career at Goldman Sachs.

Gemma Brown was promoted to Chief Financial Officer Vaccitech plc (Nasdaq: VACC), a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company. Brown succeeds Georgy Egorov. She joined Vaccitech as Head of Financial Reporting in 2021. Prior to joining Vaccitech, Gemma was at EY where she held positions of increasing responsibility, reaching senior management level and participating in their accelerated leadership programs. At EY, she worked with clients in the US and UK capital markets.

Cecile Jones was appointed Chief Financial Officer of Agios Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (Nasdaq: AGIO), beginning September 26. Jones will replace Jonathan Biller, the company’s former CFO and head of general affairs who stepped down. Jones joins Agios from LogicBio Therapeutics, where she served as Chief Financial Officer. Prior to her role at LogicBio, she spent over 10 years at Biogen in roles of increasing responsibility within the finance organization. Most recently, she was Vice President of R&D, Global Medicine and Business Development Finance.

Eric Ingvaldson was appointed Chief Financial Officer of Pineapple Energy Inc., a provider of sustainable solar energy and backup power for households and small businesses, starting October 10. He succeeds Mark Fandrich, who resigned in August. Most recently, Ingvaldson served as CFO and COO of Kradle. He also led financial operations for the international division of CH Robinson, where he helped grow the company from $100 million to $2 billion in annual revenue. Ingvaldson was also the financial manager for CH Robinson’s acquisitions and divestitures worldwide.

Stephane Johnston was appointed Chief Financial Officer of ideonomic (Nasdaq:IDEX), a global company focused on accelerating the commercial adoption of electric vehicles, effective immediately. Prior to joining Ideanomics, Johnston served as Chief Financial Officer of Dura Automotive Systems, a global automotive supplier. His finance background spans the automotive manufacturing and engineering sectors with national and global companies such as Tower Automotive and Nexteer Automotive.

Ben Lu was appointed Chief Financial Officer of Global Bird, Inc. (NYSE: BRDS), an electric vehicle company. Lu succeeds Yibo Ling. He brings over 25 years of diverse and extensive experience in the technology industry and was most recently the Chief Financial Officer of Archer Aviation. Prior to Archer, Lu was vice president of finance at Logitech International.


“We call it productivity paranoia: leaders worry that their employees aren’t working hard enough, while many employees are working harder than ever.”

—Jared Spataro, vice president of modern work at Microsoft, writes in a Fortune opinion piece that the company’s recent survey found that 85% of leaders said the shift to hybrid working has made it difficult to trust people are productive. However, most employees (87%) say they are productive at work.

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