October 20, 2023 – Warren, NJ-based executive search firm BrainWorks has assisted in the recruitment of Catherine O’Brien as the new CFO of RightCrowd. Todd Shiner, VP, partner – accounting and finance, private equity PortCo. search for BrainWorks, and his team led the search for RightCrowd. Ms. O’Brien has experience in partnering with private equity firms, conducting M&A transactions, leading growth strategies, and has gone through a number of successful exits. She has been in the SaaS space for 15 years and has managed recurring revenue models ranging from $25 million to $150 million. Ms. O’Brien is a CPA who started her career in public accounting with BDO Seidman. She spent almost 10 years with Janus Capital where she managed all aspects of worldwide accounting operations for this $1.1 billion publicly-held mutual fund company.
Ms. O’Brien entered the SaaS arena in 2008 where she ran the accounting department for Global Healthcare Exchange, completing acquisitive transactions and positioned the company to exit with Thoma Bravo. She has experience in building a solid finance and accounting department, securing funding, managing debt, and leading M&A strategies.
Founded in 2004, RightCrowd, is a PE backed (Bloom Equity Partners) emerging global provider of safety, security and compliance solutions that manage the access and presence of people for some of the world’s largest companies. With offices in the United States, Canada, Belgium, Philippines and Australia, their PIAM solutions have empowered businesses to redefine access risk and physical identity and access management.
Since 1991, BrainWorks has been providing executive recruiting services in the practice areas of private equity, consumer products, decision sciences and analytics, market research, and relationship marketing. The firm focuses on the recruiting needs of C-level and sub C-level management specifically within private equity and Fortune companies.
BrainWorks practice areas include the following: Accounting & finance, accounting & finance – interim, analytics, data science & data governance, commodities technology & trading, consumer products, CRM & direct marketing, cybersecurity, data & data insights, eCommerce, digital media & entertainment, financial technology, go-to-market search – private equity/insurance and financial services, human resources, legal, market research & consumer insights, medical device, real estate, infrastructure and private investments, sales and marketing, supply chain & operations, and technology.
Mr. Shiner has been in the recruitment and search industry for over 20 years representing executives across all industries. Him and his team have extensive relationships with proven CFO’s in the private equity arena. “This was a very niche role in that they were targeting emerging company CFO’s with the experience of scaling PE backed SaaS platforms,” Mr. Shiner said. “To add to the complexity was the industry vertical of physical identity services.”
Mr. Shiner has established clients ranging from the Fortune 50 to emerging private equity-backed companies across the United States. He has helped clients through M&A transactions, IPOs, capital raising, divestitures, and business transformation, technical project and ERP system integration initiatives.
The Market for CFOs
The market for senior finance executives remains candidate-centric and brisk, according to Andy Miller, CEO of BrainWorks. “While public discussion of macroeconomic conditions continues to hint at inflation and recession, finance professionals remain fully employed and heavily engaged,” he said. “Among the finance executives, CFOs and business unit financial officers remain in high demand, both to provide oversight for portfolio companies in the PE space and to engage newly created business units by expanding public companies. Tax talent has been in demand for many years and is increasingly scarce. Global and complex tax guidance and leadership, including managers, directors, and analysts remain essential in the proliferation of business strategies. Also engaged at high volume over the last 12 months are controllers, analysts, and FP&A professionals.”
The Evolving Role of the CFO
Given the speed at which market conditions, business strategies, and operational structures have changed in recent years, businesses are more aware than ever of the crucial role the chief financial officer plays in shaping and driving a company’s strategic direction. A just-released report by BoardEx of “The Role of the CFO 2022” examines more than 1,400 CFOs who lead major publicly traded companies across 16 countries around the world. Let’s take a closer look.
At the sector level, geopolitical uncertainty, legislative uncertainty, and uncertainty regarding interest rates, inflation, and the potential for recession create sector-level challenges. While forecasting is fraught with uncertainty, BrainWorks believes that inflation has peaked and that recession is largely a lagging story at this point. “Given the degree of uncertainty in the world, any assessment of what financial services will face in the future is at best educated guessing,” said Mr. Miller. “That said, the challenge of securing top talent, the sufficiency of talent in the marketplace, the rate of change between currencies, tax implications of selected business strategies and the proper filing of documents in support of such strategies, accurate forecasting, analytics, and planning will all remain needful in the sector.”
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; and Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media