The Replaceable CFO

I’m guessing the CFO of Yahoo isn’t feeling all that secure these days. In reality, no Finance Chief should be.

CFO Roundtable panel discussion
CFO Roundtable panel discussion

Yesterday I spoke at the CFO Roundtable in Boston. In one of my comments, well at least one, I reminded the 170 Finance Chiefs and those on the CFO-track, that job security was an illusion … even for those with their thumbs on the pulse of the company’s finances.

So, the headline on Business Insider grabbed my attention as I caught up with emails this morning. Did you see this?

“Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer: I think about replacing our CFO all the time.”

And the article goes on to say …

Since joining Yahoo as CEO last summer, she’s already replaced the company’s COO, CFO, and chief marketing officer, among others. Even so, Mayer said, “I think about who could be a better COO. I think about who could be a better CFO.

I’m sure she isn’t alone in her “thought experiment,” but really, what was she trying to accomplish by such a callous and thoughtless public comment at the end of a keynote? Humor? I hope for Ken Goldman’s sake that he’s not resting on his Yahoo laurels.

CFOs have always been –only– as good as the bottom-line and happy investors and shareholders. Welcome to the new executive reality. It looks like there’s an addition to that list …  a CEO who is constantly on the lookout for someone who could do your job even better or do it differently..

Please take a lesson from Marissa, and heed my words of caution …

You are the only one truly vested in your career … a career that provides the livelihood to support your family. Being too busy with your job, believing you’re secure because you just landed, harboring some false sense of loyalty to the company, or whatever else you are using as an excuse to not be proactively managing your career is a huge mistake in these volatile times, uncertain economy, and competitive job market. Take the first step today. Contact me or another career coach who works with Chief Financial Officers to begin the process of packaging and positioning yourself while you are still very poachable.

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4 thoughts on “The Replaceable CFO”

  1. Geez, that’s harsh. I don’t know whether you give her points for honesty, or trash her for being so callous with a person’s career. I wonder if Yahoo’s board is constantly looking for a better CEO. If that’s the kind of culture she is creating, why would any employee give his or her heart and soul into the company, as so many of us do?

    • It is harsh. And appalling.

      And since I’m a female, I can ask this question … would we ever hear such a public comment come out of a male CEO’s mouth?


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