Recruiters See Expanding Hunt for Super Breed CFOs

January 29, 2016 – According to recent research, about one fifth of companies now change their CFOs annually, thereby creating a constricting market for financial officers talent — with the best candidates often considering multiple opportunities at any one time.

Tightening talent pipelines are wreaking havoc for hiring companies by edging up CFO pay packages, according to recruiters, making the hunt for top-flight financial specialists one of the more lucrative areas for headhunters.

Cynthia Heckscher, a managing director for Diversified Search, said that increased competition throughout the sector is forcing up a super breed CFO, with competencies far exceeding those seen on standard job spec sheets. Not surprisingly, she said, many of these up-and-coming finance executives are on a CEO pathway as well.

“To find such senior finance executives, we look beyond the ‘usual and customary,'” said Ms. Heckscher, whose search practice focuses on senior executive and clinician searches for healthcare systems, academic medical centers, managed care organizations and specialty hospitals nationwide.

“We now seek leaders with strategic and visioning skills; highly collaborative and mentoring leadership styles; track records of establishing partnerships; and demonstrated entrepreneurial orientation,” she said, adding: “We also look for runway and diversity in gender, ethnicity, and in thought.”


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One such visionary leader Ms. Heckscher placed recently is Daniel Morissette as chief financial officer of Dignity Health, the fifth largest health system in the nation and the largest hospital provider in California.

Mr. Morissette will have oversight of financial affairs and other corporate operations activities, accounting, financial reporting, revenue cycle, treasury, financial planning, project financing, and capital planning.

He was previously CFO at Stanford Health Care in Palo Alto, where he was responsible for leading growth initiatives and developing care management ventures and partnerships, while guiding the company’s financial operations. Additionally, he established an international presence for Stanford Health Care with business activity and sites in China, Hong Kong, and United Arab Emirates. Earlier in his career, he held senior level finance positions with University of Toledo, Medical University of Ohio in Toledo, The Chicago Medical School, and PricewaterhouseCoopers.

“Dan Morissette is a highly accomplished executive with deep expertise in financial management, operational leadership, growth, and investment strategies,” said Lloyd H. Dean, president and chief executive officer of Dignity. “His proven track record in fiscal leadership and detailed knowledge of the healthcare marketplace will be a true asset to the organization.”

In this search, said Ms. Heckscher, communication, strategic, entrepreneurial and visioning skills were essential boxes to check; so, too, was a demonstrated track record in collaborating with colleagues and developing values-based partnerships.

“A spirit of innovation was a driving theme” in this search, said Ms. Heckscher. “In our mind, all of this represented an expanded approach to what has historically been more of a traditional way to seek out and assess CFO’s, both in terms of sourcing strategy and preferred competencies.”

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief, Hunt Scanlon Media

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