Two interesting articles came out this week. I’ve pulled a relevant excerpt from each and added my commentary following each quote.
Turnover among large-company CFOs is outpacing the rate of CEO churn in 2011, for the 17th consecutive year, according to the annual “Volatility Report” by executive recruiting firm Crist|Kolder.
What is missing from the numbers is whether the turnover is voluntary or involuntary.
When the CFO is driving the move, on his terms and timing, to the opportunity he both wants and which is a perfect fit … GREAT! Far-from-great, though, when the move is involuntary and the CFO is caught unprepared, and maybe even off-guard. A move today can take a CFO 9-to-12-to-18 months. Passive positioning is powerful, but you give up that power if you aren’t always ready, willing, prepared, and well-positioned to move on a potential opportunity.
The second article is from FINS, “Companies Promoting CFOs from Within.” While most of the article is focused on the trend of plucking a CFO from within the ranks of the company rather than going externally, I thought this was a telling statement at the end of the article:
Companies want to promote individuals who possess the technical skills of the CFOs but also have the operational skills of a CEO. Hanson’s firm has been hired to fill three or four Fortune 500 CFO spots with individuals who are capable of assuming the CEO role within the next 24 months.
Is the CEO slot your goal? If so, are you poised and visible as a candidate who could assume the CEO role? Technical skills are great, but they will confine you to finance. Proven operational skills (how you used them to deliver bottom-line and strategic impact) as part of the executive management team are critical to showcasing your broader leadership ability.
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