April 24th, 2017 Leave a comment Go to comments

Welcome to CorpFin Cafe –  

 This is a place for me to start the day, pull up to the computer, and consider the news & thoughts for the day over a great cup of coffee.  I’ve developed this forum not specifically as a source of information for my “Friends in Finance”, but as a new perspective to those that aren’t. A new perspective for my colleagues that work in Marketing, Engineering, R&D, or Human Resources. These are often the folks that appreciate a better insight as to “what is happening over in Finance…”.  The goal is to create a forum that prompts discussion regarding a broad array of financial and non-financial topics, the potential sourcing of candidates for new opportunities, and a source for interesting articles, website links, and commentaries on primarily financial related topics.

Welcome and I look forward to the evolution this forum will see.

Jeffrey Ishmael

About me….I have been working in Corporate Finance & Operations  for the last 18-years, which was preceded by 8-years working with Retail and Apparel companies.  I have worked with companies such as Quiksilver & DC Shoes, O’Neill Wetsuits, G.T. Bicycles, Ossur, Osiris Shoes, Pacific Sunwear of California, Wedbush Morgan Securities, and MGE UPS Systems.  I had the pleasure of spending four-years at MGE UPS Systems, which was a manufacturer of mission critical infrastructure, leading the North American Finance function prior to our $6.5 billion merger with APC.  Most recently, I was coordinating a strategic finance & planning project at Zappos.com, which is a $1.1 billion online retailer of footwear, apparel, and accessories.
Currently I’m the Chief Financial Officer with Cylance, Inc.  in Irvine CA. Cylance is a cyber security start-up founded by Stuart McClure, who was the former CTO of McAfee and has 25-years of experience in the security industry
. Cylance is focused on solving the world’s most difficult security problems and does so through online protection, empowerment, silent solutions, and ultimately preventing breaches before they happen.


Cylance, Inc.

Irvine, California (2012 – Nov 2016)

Chief Financial Officer

Founding CFO for Cylance Inc., which was the first company to apply artificial intelligence & algorithmic science to cyber security and improve the way companies, governments and end users proactively solve the world’s most difficult security problems.
Joining Cylance as employee #7 provided an unequaled experience as we grew to over 700 employees over four years and enjoying the unique experience of navigating a level of hyper growth rarely seen by a technology company. With billings exceeding $100M on my departure & continued 3-digit growth rates, Cylance established itself is a preeminent disrupter in the Security space. Along w/ the billings growth came an equally successful in operational & other performance related metrics for the company. Continued growth will continue to be driven by operations that had been established in over 10 countries with additional international expansion planned.
During my tenure w/ Cylance we successfully raised $162M through our Series-B, C, and D funding events w/ top investing partners such as Blackstone, Khosla Ventures, DFJ, KKR, Dell Ventures, Citi Ventures, IVP, and IQT.
As the company continued to grow there was also the necessary disciplines established as we navigated the company through accounting reviews, a first audit, and finally a transition to a Big-4 partner starting a relationship w/ EY and Deloitte.

DC Shoes

Vista, California  (2009 – 2012)

Chief Financial Officer

Responsible for leading all Finance-related functions for the DC Shoe brand within the Quiksilver portfolio of brands. DC Shoes was acquired by Quiksilver in 2004, and as reported in the last 10K, represented 21% of Quiksilvers total global revenues.

Primary point of contact, along with President, to Corporate, on all brand related reporting and performance.
Oversee all finance-related functions, managing all P&L activities for DC Shoes U.S., Latin America, and Canada. Key partner with DC Shoes President in the management of all functional areas for the brand and ensuring that goals set at the corporate level are met. Oversight of all OpEx planning & spend, review & approval of all inventory purchases, review & approval of travel expenses, as well as coordination of returns & discounts in support of President’s initiatives.
Key member of the SAP implementation team overseeing global implementation across all brands. Primary responsibility for all annual budgeting efforts and subsequent reforecasting efforts. Direct oversight of Sales Operations and Demand Planning groups. Direct collaboration with Apparel and Footwear production teams to monitor all costing activities, approval of seasonal buys, and reporting of seasonal and margin reporting.
Post –SAP implementation, assumption of additional operational responsibilities that included working with the Merchandising, Design, & Production teams in refining the master development calendar & ensuring that the needs of all regions were reflected.

Osiris Shoes

San Diego, California  (2008 – 2009)

Chief Financial Officer

International designer/manufacturer of skate & surf inspired footwear.                                                                                             


Recruited by the company to engineer financial turnaround and establish previously absent financial reporting and budgeting structure. Efforts focused on establishing appropriate financial reporting disciplines, documentation of processes, establishing delegations of authority, and ensuring that financial reporting conforms to GAAP guidelines. Responsible for all Budget / Forecast efforts and the reconciliation of monthly / quarterly results against stated goals.


Cost Reductions:

·         Managed COGS decrease of 300bp saving the company approximately $600k annually.

·         Restructure of staffing levels to identify key contributors & eliminate non-performers. Savings of approximately $400k annually. Implementation of APP program.

·         Reduced operating expenses by $1.1M through collaborative efforts w/ all Management through the adoption of disciplined actions and delivery of previously absent reporting.


Major Contributions:

·         Implemented previously non-existent Bonus / Comp program centered on both individual goals and corporate financial goals.

·         Minimized high levels of dissension & conflict among the Board of Directors.

·         Worked w/ corporate & external legal counsel on restructure of debt agreements.



Foothill Ranch, CA (Interim Project)                                                           

Design and manufacture of lifestyle optics and apparel. Annual revenues of $1.2 billion

Interim reporting for merger-related project for parent company Luxottica. Restructuring of financial reporting and forecasting from a consolidated level to geographic entity level. Included Actuals, Budget, and Forecast in the new structure.



Las Vegas, NV  (Interim Project)                                        

Online retailer of footwear and apparel. Annual revenues of $1.0 billion.

·         Develop brand performance reporting metrics & identify areas for improvement.

·         Conduct ongoing competitor analysis, comparative scorecards, emerging industry trends, etc

·         Track all SEC reporting related to direct competitors and aspirational peers.



Costa Mesa, California

Multinational manufacturer of 3-Phase UPS systems, providing products and aftermarket services to clients including Fortune 500 corporations and government sector, with $750M in annual revenues. 

Vice President, Finance / CFO – North America (NA)                                         

Director of Finance – North America (NA)                                                                       


Oversaw all finance-related functions, managing all P&L and $205M in revenue for NA MGE, Inc. and APC-MGE NA services. Administered all monthly financial reporting and forecasting, ensuring accurate compilation of monthly, quarterly, and yearly financial data. Approved capital expenditures, co-signing with President. Defined and qualified annual incentive plans, collaborating closely with

HR. Conducted due diligence on acquisitions, coordinating candidate submittals with office in Grenoble, France. Acted as key member of S&OP implementation team, in post-merger capacity, QA team, and lead contact for all auditing activities. Wrote monthly and quarterly management letters. Led 28-member staff consisting of Accounting, FP&A, Accounts Payable, Credit and Collections, Legal, and Info systems. Supervised 4 Director-level reports.


Major Contributions:

·         Consolidated and strengthened previously fragmented financial controls.

·         Improved product margins 70bp in environment with drastically increasing cost of raw materials.

·         Introduced Service reporting structure for NA, enhancing segment matrix evaluations.

·         Launched IFRS reporting, strategically supporting European headquarters’ initiatives.

·         Directed NA region in participation of Schneider Electric Worldwide Employee Stock Option Plan (WESOP); achieved 43% enrollment level and ranked #2 enterprise-wide.


Revenue Growth:

·         Appointed to lead Services integration following $6B merge, generating $200M in revenue.

·         Managed annual revenue growth of 11% over 3 years, exceeding industry average of 6% to 8%, while increasing operating expenses by only 6%.

·         Increased EBIT 24% annually; forecasted 2007 growth expected to be 82% versus 70% budget.


Cost Reductions:

·         Decreased Working Capital days 15% in 2007.

·         Saved $2.6M and increased labor productivity 19% in Services.

·         Reduced operating and cost of goods expenses by $2.3M, acting as key member of “Solving Consulting” initiative; reviewed 5 major areas of operations and designed improvement plans. 

·         Eliminated $8M, conducting in-depth analysis into facilities and locations.


·         Received President’s Club Award for outstanding performance, leadership, and contributions.

·         Ranked in Top 100 Global Managers out of 3,000 employees worldwide.



Los Angeles, California

Investment Bank Research Associate 



Anaheim, California

Manager of Financial Planning and Analysis


Hired to ensure timely and accurate publishing of reports necessary to execute growth strategy for 3 main formats of then $800M national retailer. Spearheaded all budgeting, forecasting, and capital expense planning. Maximized sales potential, determining if appropriate inventory and labor levels were in place. Drafted all SEC documentation including 10-Qs, 10-Ks, and any other material financial event filings. Collaborated with VP of Finance and CFO. Oversaw 5-person team.

·         Collaborated with VP of Finance to publish comprehensive 5-year forecast for executive team.

·         Optimized $95M payroll budget, participating in implementation of store scheduling system.

·         Drafted proposed secondary stock offering to enable funding of new distribution facility and corporate headquarters.



Aliso Viejo, California

Financial Analyst.



Santa Ana, California

Business Analyst – Apparel



Master of Business Administration in Finance and Strategy (2003)

University of Southern California, Los Angeles California


Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (1997)

Pepperdine University, Malibu, California




Financial Executives International – Orange County Chapter · National Investor Relations Institute · USC Marshall School of Business – Orange County Chapter · McDermott & Bull Executive Network

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