CFO Turnover

According to data by Korn Ferry International’s financial-officer practice …

“Between 2010 and 2011, a CFO was almost three times as likely to leave a company when a new chief executive was hired from outside, rather than promoted internally.”

I’ll let the Wall Street Journal speak to the specifics of those numbers … and I’ll talk about what every wise Finance Chief should take away from the numbers.


At the risk of beating a dead horse, there are a few realities that come with losing a job.

To busy working to think about your career?
To busy working to think about your career?

You can be completely blindsided. Yes, even those who deal with the corporation’s finances can get hit from left field. Working one day, unemployed the next. It happens. And it has the potential to be devastating on so many levels when / if it does happen.

You’ve lost the power of passive positioning. There are none so loved and desired as those Finance Executives and Chief Financial Officers who are gainfully employed and seemingly happy and content. You are no different from a skill set perspective than while you were employed, but you are now wearing the black mark of unemployment … and that’s just an additional challenge to overcome in a journey that is already very challenging.

Network? What network? Remember how you were so busy working your job that you didn’t have time to network? Well, now you have all the time in the world. The problem is … your network knows exactly what you need and what it is unable to deliver (a job) most of the time.

Time is of the essence, I’ll just throw a resume together. Big mistake. You know the old cliche “you get one chance to make a first impression”? Yes, it applies to your job search. It is not only difficult to rebound and reposition yourself from that first impression, but it takes some time to figure out what it is about you that is marketable … what a company would be willing to pay, and pay well to get. If you don’t know those things, your resume won’t matter.

The latest statistics from the 20th annual Execunet Job Market Intelligence Report, senior executives are taking an average of 5.7 months to transition. Realistically, plan on 9 months.

Don’t get blindsided. Long before you want to move into a new position, at least move in the direction of being prepared for the next great opportunity!

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