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Becoming a company’s first CFO…

July 31st, 2008

Recently, I’ve been fortunate enough to be included on a discussion thread about the opportunities and experiences of becoming a company’s first CFO. Although I have not found myself in the situation of a first time CFO hire, I have been on the receiving end of a number of opportunities where I have been the hire for a newly created position.

The approach that I have always taken into the position has been that I could set the benchmark for the position, and hopefully in a way, that any successor would have a very hard time matching.

However, the recent forum that I participated in portrayed a very different light for the first time CFO, and most feedback, was slanted toward a negative outcome. The feedback that was posted was very informative and I’ve archived all the emails so that I could refer back to them if I ever find myself in this same position.

The premise of the forum was the discussion of 3 candidates who had accepted newly created CFO positions at their respective companies. These were not incumbent hires nor were these first time CFO’s in their career history. However, none of the three candidates who were hired were with the company a year later, and further, the positions were left vacant in the company. The forum was asking one question – What were the reasons for the failure and how could it have been avoided?

Read more of what was shared by the forum…..

First CFO

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