Making the Transition from CFO to CEO

Making the Transition from CFO to CEO

A Market Perspective

Increasingly, CFO’s face a Tsunami of information needs

  • Demands are growing and deadlines are shrinking
  • Heightened market activity requires extra attention
  • Increased regulation means more detailed audit documentation and ridiculous filing deadlines
  • Spending enough time with direct reports and creating the right team beneath the CFO is becoming more of a challenge
  • Increased need to operate at both macro and micro levels
  • Delivering strategy is about driving financial performance - need for more analytical firepower
  • Being robust and independently-minded often means finding yourself between a rock and a hard place

The Key Challenges CFOs face

Everyone wants a piece of the CFO


Where CFOs spend time with the Board


There is an increasing conflict between where CFOs want to spend their time and the actuality

Today's CFO is expected (and aspires) to be a leader

  • 'More than half of European finance chiefs want their next career move to be the step up to CEO'
  • 'A finance/accounting background is still the most frequent route to the top in the UK. In 2006, 38% of CEOs had a finance/accounting background - 45% of those CEOs appointed internally'
  • 'The best and brightest finance executives, especially those with leadership potential, will not be content to spend their career in a transaction-processing factory'
  • 'Without time spent on development by CFOs, there is no way finance and leadership can ever be synonymous'
  • 'The goals associated with CFO Leadership Development are very common across industry and for small or large global enterprises - however the approach to reaching those goals varies dramatically'

CFO & CEO Competencies

CFOs are perceived as good candidates for the CEO role when financial issues are core to strategy

Most CEOs with a CFO background were promoted within the same company


Experience in more than one role and more than one company broadens a CFOs appeal as a CEO candidate

What does the CFO of the future look like?

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