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CFOs must prepare as the threat of cyberattacks grows

June 24, 2022, 10:37 AM UTC

Good morning,

It was a special night in Atlanta amid a discussion of potential cyberattacks.

The first in-person gathering of Fortune’s CFO Collaborative, in partnership with Workday and sponsored by Deloitte, took place on Wednesday at Miller Union in Atlanta. For more than a year, finance chiefs have participated in a series of virtual gatherings where we’ve been discussing their evolving role and the increasing range of topics that now fall under their purview. But this time, our CFO Collaborative group met face-to-face, enhancing the connections we’ve made virtually. The CFOs represented a wide range of industries, including oil and gas, retail, law, tech, and local governments.

Guest speaker cybersecurity expert Clint Watts certainly gave us a lot to discuss. Watts, a research fellow at Foreign Policy Research Institute, is a former FBI agent and U.S Army officer. He also testified in front of the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence regarding Russian interference in the 2016 election. Fortune CEO Alan Murray asked Watts about Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, its global implications, and his outlook on cyberattacks. When Russia reaches the point where it can no longer be successful in taking Ukrainian territory, “how do they bring the U.S. and the West to the negotiating table?” Watts said. “Cyber is a great option to do that,” he said. 

The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency has urged CEOs to prepare for potential cyberattacks. And the agency is continuing to spread the message.

“As we in the cyber world are well aware, the prospect of cyberattacks here at home—whether by Russia or other malign state and non-state actors—will not dissipate anytime soon,” Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency Director Jen Easterly and National Cyber Director Chris Inglis wrote in a June 6 op-ed for CyberScoop. It raises “the important question: When will we be able to put our shields down? In today’s complex, dynamic, and dangerous cyberthreat environment, the answer is that our shields will likely be up for the foreseeable future,” they wrote.

As CFOs are primarily the leaders that companies rely on to mitigate risk, the threat of cyberattacks certainly falls under their purview. And that means effective collaboration with IT and the CIO. According to recent research by Workday and Deloitte, a progressive CIO, defined as detail-oriented and more likely than the average IT leader to identify strategic tasks, view a strategic partnership with the CFO as key to succeeding in the role.

No question, there was far too much to cover in one night. However, we’re continuing these in-person CFO Collaboratives in Chicago, Dallas, and San Francisco. I’ll keep you posted.

Have a great weekend. See you on Monday.

Sheryl Estrada

Big deal

A survey by Personal Capital, an online financial advisor, conducted by The Harris Poll and released on June 23 found that American consumers are concerned about rising inflation (85%) and a potential recession (74%) impacting their financial stability. If prices continue to increase, overall, consumers surveyed said they plan to cut back on daily expenses, including spending on entertainment (41%), dining out (40%), travel (40%), gas (34%), convenience services (34%) and wellness (24%). The survey also found women are more likely than men to say they’re cutting back across all top spending categories, according to the report. The findings are based on a survey of approximately 2,000 U.S. adults.

Going deeper

In case you missed it, here’s what was featured in CFO Daily this week:

7 of the biggest ‘free agent’ C-suite leaders on the job market right now

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Some notable moves this week:

Michelle “Chelle” F. Adams was named CFO and treasurer at SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. (NYSE: SEAS), a theme park and entertainment company, effective June 17. Adams served as the CFO of The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. She was also previously the partner-in-charge of the Hospitality and Gaming Industry Group at RubinBrown LLP and a manager at Deloitte & Touche LLP. Adams replaces Elizabeth Castro Gulacsy, who previously announced her intention to retire from SeaWorld as CFO. 

Julie C. Albrecht was named EVP and CFO at JELD-WEN Holding, Inc. (NYSE:JELD), a global manufacturer of building products, effective July 18. Albrecht will replace EVP and acting CFO David Guernsey who will transition into another leadership role. She joins JELD-WEN from Sonoco, a global sustainable packaging company, where she has served as CFO since March 2019. Before Sonoco, Albrecht served as vice president, finance, investor relations and treasurer for Esterline Technologies Corporation (acquired by TransDigm in 2019). Earlier, Albrecht held leadership positions at United Technologies, Goodrich and Coltec Industries.

Pamela Boone was named CFO at Cambridge Associates, a global investment firm. Boone joins Cambridge Associates with more than 30 years of experience in leadership roles across global capital markets, operations, financial reporting, controllership, accounting and auditing. Prior to joining Cambridge Associates, Boone spent nearly two decades at State Street, where she held various roles.

Ron Blaustein was named SVP and CFO at Underwriters Laboratories Inc., a global safety science company. Blaustein comes to Underwriters Laboratories from the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, where he served as SVP and CFO since 2014. He was named CFO of the Year in 2019 by Financial Executives International. Blaustein first joined Lurie Children’s hospital in 1997 after beginning his career at PwC.

Blaine Davis, CFO at Protara Therapeutics, Inc. (Nasdaq: TARA), a clinical-stage company developing therapies for the treatment of cancer and rare diseases, will be leaving the company to pursue other opportunities. Davis’ last day will be July 15, 2022. “Davis’ departure is not related to Protara’s operations, financial reporting or controls,” Protara said in a statement. “As of March 31, 2022, the company had cash, cash equivalents and investments of $119M expected to fund operations into mid-2024.”

Henry Dubois was promoted to CFO at BlackSky Technology Inc. (NYSE: BKSY). Dubois joined BlackSky as chief development officer in August 2021 after having served as an advisor to the company’s board since September 2018. Dubois succeeds Johan Broekhuysen, who stepped down from his role as CFO on June 9. Before joining BlackSky, Dubois was the CFO at GeoEye, Inc. 

Anselm Wong was named EVP and CFO at Janus International Group, Inc. (NYSE: JBI), a provider of access control technologies for self-storage and other commercial and industrial sectors, effective July 1. Wong will bring his 25 years of experience in finance leadership and strategy roles. He joins Janus from General Electric, where he served as CFO of GE Digital. Wong previously served as VP and deputy CFO at Resideo Technologies. Before that, he served in finance leadership roles at Honeywell.


“We hope to basically get to around a billion people in the metaverse doing hundreds of dollars of commerce, each buying digital goods, digital content, different things to express themselves."

—Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg on how the metaverse could be a big part of the company's business in the second half of the decade, as told to CNBC

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