January 24, 2020 – Executive recruiting firm Crist|Kolder has been selected by HanesBrands in Winston-Salem, NC, to lead a comprehensive search for a new chief financial officer. Barry Hytinen left the company in November and current chief accounting officer and controller M. Scott Lewis is serving as interim CFO while the search is underway.
In its CFO search, HanesBrands is considering both internal and external candidates with significant experience and accomplishments in global strategy, finance, capital management and operations support. “Crist|Kolder Associates specializes in corporate executive leadership searches, assessments and recruiting,” said HanesBrands. “The firm has successfully assisted in the CFO searches for some of the largest U.S.-based public companies.”
“We have a very strong global finance organization,” said Gerald W. Evans, CEO of HanesBrands. “Scott is an accomplished finance professional well versed with our company and strategies. He will provide essential leadership during this transition.”
HanesBrands is a socially responsible leading marketer of everyday basic innerwear and active wear apparel in the Americas, Europe, Australia and Asia-Pacific under some of the world’s strongest apparel brands, including Hanes, Champion, Bonds, Maidenform, DIM, Bali, Playtex, Bras N Things, Nur Die/Nur Der, Alternative, L’eggs, JMS/Just My Size, Lovable, Wonderbra, Berlei and Gear for Sports.
Crist|Kolder Associates focuses on CEO, CFO, COO, board of director and succession search for a broad range of industries. The firm has filled line management and board positions for more than 100 clients relying on what it calls “the intellectual capital” of its senior partners and professional team.
CFO Confidence Crisis
At most companies, few roles are as important as chief financial officer. But the CFOs today who are thinking about tomorrow are growing nervous about a key talent issue: They worry that no one else in the company can assume their role.
According to one Korn Ferry report, 81 percent of CFOs surveyed say they want to groom the next CFO internally, but don’t believe that there’s a viable candidate in-house. Today, about half of new roles are filled internally.
“The current CFO is the one charged with identifying and developing that talent, and since they know best the skills required to meet what’s coming, they are realizing the internal bench isn’t fully prepared,” said Bryan Proctor, senior client partner and global financial officers practice lead at Korn Ferry.
As CFOs Gain in Stature, Succession Plans to Replace Them Falter
As with all things in the business world, the role of a CFO has evolved over the past 10 years. Gone are the days of the CFO being the top accountant focused on the timely and accurate recording of transactions to generate a set of financial…
The lack of confidence is partly because CFOs feel that their firms’ leadership development programs have failed to keep up with the rapidly changing role of the CFO, Korn Ferry said. Core functions such as finance and accounting are increasingly being combined under one role, with CFOs citing a lack of resources or skills and career development opportunities as reasons for the merging. Korn Ferry surveyed more than 700 CFOs worldwide, asking them about their own internal talent pipelines. The top two abilities CFOs feel their direct reports need to develop are “leadership skills and executive presence” and “strategic thinking.”
“The tapestry of skills and experiences CFOs of today and tomorrow need are vastly different than what was needed in the past,” said John Petzold, senior client partner and CXO optimization lead at Korn Ferry. “The reason subfunctions are merging is because the focus is less on a role or person and more about the capabilities that need to be covered by a set of individuals.”
In essence, the CFO function is being deconstructed for optimization, according to Korn Ferry. Leaders are breaking down necessary functions based on their organization’s strategy and identifying people with a combination of those skills and piecing them together to get the right set of talent to execute against that plan. Core financial functions such as taxes, capital allocation and M&A still need to be done accurately and in compliance with regulations, of course. But experts say the CFO role is becoming more about adapting and deploying talent in the most efficient manner possible.
“The leadership profile of the future CFO is less about tactical, direct experience, and more about learning agility, adaptability, and big-picture global perspective,” said Mr. Proctor. “That kind of nimbleness and ability to pivot isn’t naturally ingrained in the typical CPA.”
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media