Retaining talent, automation, and succession planning—all on the radar of CFOs this week

Good morning,

Here’s what happened this week:

There’s been an increased focus on stakeholder capitalism. But when it comes to the intent of companies and public perception, there appears to be an increasing disconnect. The nonprofit JUST Capital’s annual Americans’ Views on Business Survey found 49% of Americans surveyed believe companies have a positive impact on society, a decrease from 58% in 2018. JUST Capital’s board members include Arianna Huffington, CEO of Thrive Global. About 78% said companies have a positive impact on shareholders (up from 72% in 2018), compared to the work-life balance of their employees (48%) and the financial well-being of its lowest-paid workers (36%). “To regain trust, CFOs and C-suite leaders should recognize the long-term business case for investing capital in workers and perform a worker financial wellness assessment,” JUST Capital CEO Martin Whittaker said.

The Global Statutory Reporting and Automation Trends Report 2021, released by Deloitte and Workiva, a software-as-a-service company, found only 16% of companies surveyed have fully automated statutory reporting processes end-to-end. “This will most likely change in the near future as statutory financial reporting, corporate governance frameworks, and ESG are becoming more interconnected, broadening the stakeholder group and requiring new reporting assessments,” Conor O’Kelly, senior director of statutory accounting at Workiva, said. Within the first year, companies that achieved automation using statutory software experienced 30% to 40% efficiency gains and a “strong in-year return on investment,” according to the report. Another upside to automation is attracting top talent, O’Kelly said. 

“This is a cyclical industry, but the situation right now is the most extreme it’s ever been,” said Simon Segars, CEO of the semiconductor chip design specialist Arm Holdings, headquartered in Cambridge, England. The global chip shortage is a factor in the ongoing supply chain disruption, which combined with labor shortages and even climate change, has created some of the greatest challenges for the C-suite. During Fortune’s CEO Initiative conference in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, industry leaders weighed in on reimagining supply chains. For a more robust supply chain, digitalization is key, said Barbara Humpton, president and CEO of Siemens Corp. A strong labor force in the U.S. is also needed for supply chain resiliency, but many challenges persist, like the Great Resignation, said Katie Koch, partner, co-head of fundamental equity at Goldman Sachs Asset Management.

What should a CFO job description entail for a company that’s changing the world? Pfizer announced on Wednesday that Frank D’Amelio, CFO and EVP of global supply, will retire after an almost 15-year career with the company. The pharmaceutical giant has initiated an external search for a new CFO. D’Amelio will stay on board through this process. “Frank has driven a strategic vision for the company’s financial success,” Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla said in a statement. “Strategic vision” has become a major focus of the finance chief’s role over the years. “Traditionally, the CFO job was all about making sure you can close your books the right way, talking to investors, and advising the business on the right decisions,” Ankur Agrawal, a partner at McKinsey & Company, recently told me.

Thanks for reading. Enjoy your weekend.

Sheryl Estrada

Big deal

A new Accenture global survey of 866 companies gauged the impact of supply chain disruptions. About 58% of C-suite leaders surveyed believe the supply chain crisis will last more than a year. And, 33% are concerned it will last for three years. To manage the disruptions, the top actions leaders said they're taking include advanced ordering of supplies and creating new contingency plans to limit the effects on the business. 

Going deeper

Here are a few Fortune reads for the weekend:

Thanksgiving dinners will cost an eye-popping 14% more this year, farm lobby says by Megan Leonhardt

Paytm staged India’s largest-ever IPO, then flopped in its debut. Investors are ‘coming to their senses,’ analysts say by Biman Mukherji

Firing CEO Bobby Kotick wouldn’t be cheap for Activision by Chris Morris

Poor worker training and education is as much a business problem as climate change, say CEOs by Phil Wahba


Some notable moves from this past week:

Barbara Larson was promoted to CFO at Workday, (NASDAQ: WDAY), a leading provider of enterprise cloud applications for finance and human resources, effective Feb. 1, 2022. Larson will lead the Workday finance functions, in addition to partnering on the Workday Financial Management product and business strategy. She will continue to report to Workday Co-President Robynne Sisco. Larson joined Workday in 2014 and has held several finance leadership positions at the company, including most recently as SVP of accounting, tax, and treasury. Prior to that role, Larson was general manager of Workday Financial Management, where she oversaw the company’s financial management applications.

Rodrigo Brumana was named CFO at Poshmark, Inc. (NASDAQ: POSH), a social marketplace for new and secondhand style, effective Dec. 1. Brumana will join Poshmark from Amazon, where he served as CFO of Amazon Private Brands, managing a team of finance, business intelligence, and analytics professionals located across the Americas, Asia, and Europe. Prior to Amazon, he served as the CFO of OfferUp, a mobile marketplace for online and local transactions. Brumana also led finance and analytics for eBay Americas. He was also previously vice president of finance at RetailMeNot, where he helped execute an initial public offering, held finance executive positions with HP Inc., and began his career in investment banking.

Ravi Chopra was named CFO at Bugcrowd, a crowdsourced cybersecurity platform. Chopra brings over 25 years of finance experience to Bugcrowd. He was previously CFO at SonicWall, a cybersecurity company, which he helped transition into an independent company post divestiture from Dell. Prior to joining SonicWall, Chopra held finance positions at Juniper, Cisco Systems, Deloitte Consulting and Lazard, a financial advisory and asset management firm.

Tucker Dearth was named CFO at Omnipresent, a global employment services partner. In his new role, Dearth will be responsible for the company’s robust global financial operations to better support Omnipresent customers. His experience includes co-founder and COO of CarePod, managing director for First Utility GmBH, and a vice president at Morgan Stanley in London, handling investments in portfolio companies. More recently, Dearth was CFO at Data Guard, a SaaS business focused on privacy and compliance solutions and headquartered in Munich with operations in Europe and the U.K.

Kevin J. Gallagher was named CFO at MindMaze, a digital neuro-therapeutics company. Gallagher joins MindMaze’s executive team with over 25 years of experience in financial leadership. Most recently, he was managing director of banking, capital markets & advisory for the Global Healthcare team at Citigroup, Inc. He previously served in a number of roles at Citigroup, Inc. Prior to this, Gallagher held senior positions on healthcare-specific teams at Thomas Weisel Partners, Medical Capital Advisors, Healthpoint Capital, and UBS Investment Bank.

Nick Grindstaff was named CFO at Orbital Energy Group, Inc. (NASDAQ: OEG), effective Nov. 16, 2021. Grindstaff will replace Daniel Ford, who will remain with the company during a transition period. Grindstaff has more than 20 years of experience in the infrastructure services industry. Most recently, he served as VP of finance and treasurer at Quanta Services, a leading international provider of specialty contracting services.

Holly Grey was named CFO at Exabeam, a cybersecurity company that provides a cloud platform. Grey has more than 25 years of experience leading financial operations. She most recently served as SVP of finance at Forescout Technologies. While there, Grey also led the company through a successful initial public offering. Prior to Forescout, Grey was SVP of finance at Accuray Inc.. Before Accuray, she was VP of finance at Aspect Software.

Elizabeth (Betsy) Horton was named EVP and CFO at S&W Seed Company (Nasdaq: SANW), effective Nov. 15, 2021. Horton succeeds Matthew Szot, who resigned from his position, and will serve as an advisor to the company during the transition. Horton comes to S&W Seed Company from Miller Milling Company, where she served as CFO since 2018. In this position, she oversaw the company’s finance transformation and was also responsible for IT and HR. Prior to Miller Milling, Horton spent 20 years at Cargill where she held numerous finance roles most recently, financial planning and analysis director.

Teri Loxam was named COO and CFO at Kira Pharmaceuticals, a global biotechnology company. Loxam will replace interim CFO Matt Gorman. Loxam joins Kira from SQZ Biotechnologies, where she served as CFO. She previously served as SVP of investor relations and global communications at Merck, VP of investor relations at IMAX supporting the company’s IPO on the Hong Kong exchange, and held senior strategic roles at Bristol-Myers Squibb.


"Good intentions fail when we stop actively listening to the needs of our employees."

—Jennifer Moss, a journalist and author of the book The Burnout Epidemic, told Fortune

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