Strategy, supplier issues, and CIO partnership were all on the radar of CFOs this week
Here’s what happened this week:
“The fun thing about coming into the CFO role and being within the current company is my fingerprints are all over the strategy,” Justin Coulombe, CFO at tech company Momentive, said. “I’ve been here for two years. I didn’t have to go and re-learn the business, the leadership, or any of the relationships internally.” SurveyMonkey, founded in 1999 as a cloud-based survey tool, is now known as Momentive. The name change and launch of a new corporate site at momentive.ai took place in June. The same month, Coulombe was appointed CFO. We had a chat about the rebranding of the company and his role as finance chief. Over the past five years, SurveyMonkey, a consumer-based platform that sits “between two humans asking one another for their opinion,” has evolved, Coulombe said.
“We’re beginning to connect many of our products today,” said Whirlpool EVP and CFO Jim Peters, who’s worked at the company for 17 years. The more than 100-year-old appliance giant is “even more focused on innovation,” Peters said. But as customers connect with Whirlpool through its online products like recipe app Yummly, the company is also navigating challenges facing manufacturing. Supplier issues along with labor and commodity costs going up are impacting the manufacturing industry, Peters said. “All those things are occurring at the same time, yet we’re seeing growth in this environment,” he said. In the second quarter of 2021, Whirlpool had net sales of $5.32 billion, a 32% increase compared to the same quarter last year.
A More Effective CIO-CFO Partnership, a joint global survey released on September 14 by Workday, Inc., and Deloitte Global, explores how digital transformation has played a major role in the relationship of the C-suite leaders. In a survey of more than 600 executives worldwide, 70% of CIOs said they’ve accelerated their finance transformation strategies by at least a year. This acceleration is driven in particular by “progressive CIOs,” representing just 8% of the total sample. Functioning as a progressive CIO means being “flexible, adaptive, and understanding how important meaningful technology decisions are to the business,” Sheri Rhodes, CIO at Workday, told me. As a result, progressive CIOs have built strategic alliances across their organizations, the report found. About 90% said that their IT departments have more integration into other areas of the business, compared to 12 months ago.
In the next decade, lowering costs, boosting finance’s role in managing data, and “shifting work towards more value-added activities,” are some imperatives for this cohort, according to a November 2020 McKinsey report. The good news is there are already high-performing, next-generation leaders who are up to the challenge of conducting business in a post-pandemic world. Fortune recently announced the 40 Under 40 list for 2021, which features executives, creators, rising entrepreneurs, and influencers. Read about five leaders on the list who are influencing the future of finance, like Zach Kirkhorn. At age 36, he is CFO and “Master of Coin” at Tesla. Kirkhorn was promoted to the role as CFO in March 2019. A quiet operator, he doesn’t seek the spotlight. But the alum of McKinsey and Microsoft has helped steer a profit surge at Tesla—a balance sheet that’s expanding by billions of dollars. Kirkhorn also led Tesla’s purchase of $1.5 billion in Bitcoin in February.
Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend.
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The percentage of U.S. employees surveyed by Gallup who said their employer requires COVID-19 vaccinations has doubled. About 19% of respondents in August said vaccinations are mandatory, compared to 9% surveyed in July, according to a report released this month. And 55% of employees said their employer is encouraging but not requiring vaccinations, down from 62% in July. The data is based on a survey of more than 1,800 U.S. workers who are members of Gallup's nationally representative panel.
Here are a few Fortune reads for the weekend:
Lumber’s epic boom and bust, explained in 8 charts by Lance Lambert
Hedge funder, Mets owner Steven Cohen invests in crypto-trading firm by Rey Mashayekhi
How travel unicorn Hopper went from mass layoffs to doubling revenue by Jessica Mathews
Some notable moves from this past week:
Jennifer Bitterman was named EVP and CFO at Cedar Realty Trust, which focuses on the ownership, operation, and redevelopment of grocery-anchored shopping centers. Bitterman joined Cedar in 2011 and most recently was senior vice president of corporate and portfolio management. She succeeds Philip Mays, who is departing the company. Prior to Cedar, Bitterman worked at Morgan Stanley Real Estate in the asset management group and at Credit Suisse performing equity research on the REIT sector.
Alastair Borthwick was named CFO at Bank of America, effective in the fourth quarter. Alastair has most recently served as president of global commercial banking for nine years. He was previously was co-head of global capital markets. Alastair joined the company in 2005 as head of global investment grade debt capital markets. He previously worked at Goldman Sachs where he spent 12 years.
Denis P. Coleman III was named CFO at The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., effective January 1, 2022. Stephen M. Scherr, who served as CFO for the last three years, has decided to retire from the firm. Scherr’s career at Goldman Sachs spanned three decades. He will remain CFO until the end of the year. Coleman will serve as deputy CFO, effective immediately. He has served as co-head of the Global Financing Group in the Investment Banking Division since 2018. Coleman joined Goldman Sachs in 1996 as an analyst in the Bank Loan Group.
Patrick Fabbio was named CFO at Rafael Holdings, Inc., a pharmaceutical holdings company. Prior to joining Rafael Holdings, Fabbio was CFO at WindMIL Therapeutics Inc. His other financial positions include CFO at Progenics Pharmaceuticals, Inc., electroCore Medical, LLC; VP of finance at NPS Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; VP of finance at Innovation and Growth at Catalent Pharma Solutions Inc.; and CFO at Ikano Therapeutics.
Robert R. Krakowiak was named CFO at Vroom, Inc., an e-commerce platform for buying and selling used vehicles, effective September 13. Krakowiak succeeds David K. Jones in his role of CFO. Jones will remain “a non-executive employee” at the company through November 30, 2021 to facilitate the transition, according to Vroom. Krakowiak previously served as CFO at Stoneridge Corporation. He also held roles in finance and investor relations at Visteon Corporation and Owens Corning.
Sherry L. Rexroad was named CFO at STORE Capital Corporation, an internally managed net-lease real estate investment trust. Rexroad will begin with STORE on October 18, 2021, and assume the position of CFO on November 8, 2021, in connection with the retirement of current CFO Catherine Long. Most recently, Rexroad served as managing director and global head of business development at BlackRock Global Real Asset Securities. Previously, she was BlackRock’s Real Asset Securities team co-global chief investment officer and chair of the investment committee. Prior to Rexroad’s nine years at BlackRock, she was senior portfolio manager, REITs, Americas at Aviva Investors North America.
Lowell Singer was named CFO at Acrisure, a fintech. Singer joins Acrisure following 14 years with The Walt Disney Company, where he served as SVP of investor relations. Prior to his most recent role with Disney, he worked as an equity research analyst for Cowen and Company, LLC and Robertson Stephens LLC. Singer has also served as a brand manager with Kraft Foods, Inc. He began his career with J.P. Morgan & Co., Inc. as an associate in corporate finance.
"I think we're in the eighth inning before a correction."
—Wharton finance professor and author Jeremy Siegel, as told to CNBC.
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