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To Be Loved: What Every New CFO Needs to Think About



In the past few months, there have been several new CFO employees and transitions, from Morgan Stanley’s Ruth Porat as Google’s new CFO to Laurence Debroux of JC Decaux, taking up the position at Heineken to Andrew Findlay, Halfords CFO to EasyJet. For these people, and many others at the same level, job shifts often mean changes in the industry, geography, and corporate culture.

What should new CFOs and new teams consider when planning to take these important external steps, often across sectors and regions?

Irrespective of the corporation they leave or join, each new CFO needs the structured support of their new coworkers to understand and adapt to how they work, how individuals interact, and their unique corporate culture.

Many companies do not know that supporting a top manager when entering the company does not end with the recruitment process. The major challenges for new CFOs are building relations with the management team and catching up. This is an even greater challenge for external employees, mainly those from various corporate cultures. More than nine out of ten (91%) of fresh CFOs report that their companies do not have a formal orientation strategy to support them in these transitions.

How can companies guarantee a smooth changeover of their new CFO? Here are four Fs you should consider:

Fit – Improve the IQ of the company: Make sure the new applicant adapts and understands the way the organization works, including the business model, organizational culture, and current skills

Friends – Building Connections: Provide planned support to identify and build relationships with main internal and external stakeholders

Focus – Create clarity in the role: Explain the role’s expectations to the new manager and their direct employees

Future – Modeling the future: Outline strategic priorities and future visions for the financial function at a primary stage

For new CFOs to make a successful transition, their precursors and other company executives must share their associations and define the important relations that must be built beyond apparent candidates. Unlike smaller companies, international companies need their CFOs to be externally focused, almost to act as “mini CEOs.”

With all the shifts, you will surely pave the way to success by spending time understanding the corporate culture and making the right connections from the start.

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