June 14, 2021 – Golden, CO-based executive search firm Human Resource Solutions has assisted in the placement of Sam Pauley as chief financial officer for Hunter Communications, a portfolio company of Grain Management LLC. The search was led by R. Woody Daroca. “Sam brings both financial and operational telecommunications experience, which will help us align our business goals and strategies with operations as we move forward with our growth plans,” said Michael Wynschenk, CEO of Hunter Communications. “We are pleased to welcome Sam to our executive team as we plan our expansion throughout 2021 and beyond.”
Mr. Pauley brings more than 14 years of experience as a finance professional to Hunter Communications. He previously served as senior director of finance and controller at Wave Broadband, where he managed accounting, and financial planning and analysis for Washington state operations. Mr. Pauley is a certified public accountant and earned a Bachelor of Science degree with majors in accounting and management and business administration from Western Washington University.
Executive Recruiters & Talent Leaders
Reveal Market Forecast
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“Hunter Communications has an exceptional reputation in the telecommunications industry and I have always thought very highly of them,” said Mr. Pauley. “After meeting with their extraordinary leadership team, it solidified my decision to join and help take Hunter to the next level.”
Hunter Communications provides ultra-high-speed fiber optic broadband internet, data and voice services to business and residential customers in communities throughout southern Oregon and Northern California. With gig speeds, no data caps and competitive pricing, Hunter’s 2,000-plus mile fiber network is nationally recognized for performance and reliability. Hunter Communications was acquired in 2020 by Grain Management.
Human Resource Solutions has a wide-ranging client roster that includes the Fortune 1000, mid-cap, emerging growth, venture funded, growth oriented and private equity-backed turnaround situations. Established in 1992, the firm employs a proven methodology in the execution of engagements for top executive hires, key senior management positions and rare, functional specialists. Its mission is to be experts focused on recruiting executive talent for rapidly growing or rapidly changing companies.
Recruiting CFOs for PE Companies
Executive search firm Caldwell recently conducted a survey on the CFO role to fine-tune its understanding of the skills and experiences that define success today for a CFO of a PE-backed portfolio company and, equally importantly, which attributes may sound appealing but are not essential. More than 300 private equity CFOs shared candid responses on their backgrounds and how they landed in their current role. The results provided a clearer picture of who sits in the CFO chair at many PE-backed portfolio companies, and the skills and credentials that are truly impactful in their leadership role.
When asked to describe their previous experience, 10 percent of the participants said, “I was a divisional CFO or No. 2 finance executive in a PE-backed company,” while 20 percent had the same status at a public company. Another 35 percent had been a CFO of a public or private company. And only 34 percent had been CFO of a PE-backed company. So just a third of the CFOs in the Caldwell survey had previously held a PE CFO role.
Among companies with less than $25 million in revenue, only 15 percent of the CFOs had prior experience as CFO of a PE-backed company, while 56 percent of the companies with greater than $500 million revenue hired a CFO with prior experience in a PE CFO role. In the three other revenue categories, the companies hired a CFO with prior PE CFO experience 40 percent of the time, or less. These findings would seem to indicate that hiring a CFO with prior PE CFO experience is a “nice to have,” but not a must-have credential for all companies, said the firm.
Caldwell also asked the CFOs: “What were the key factors in your hiring?” and asked them to check all relevant factors. Among the total population of participants, the No. 1 factor was industry experience, and the second factor was PE experience. Tied for third were a previous successful exit and a prior role as a stand-alone PE CFO.
Looking at the responses by company revenue size, private equity experience was the first or second response in all revenue categories. Likewise, industry experience was first or second in the four lower revenue categories. Among companies with greater than $500 million revenue, however, private equity experience was the top response, selected by 64 percent of the respondents, while a previous successful exit and experience as a stand-alone PE CFO were each chosen by 48 percent of respondents. Only in this largest revenue category did industry experience drop to the fourth answer, tied with public reporting experience. These responses would seem to reflect that among the largest companies, investors are more likely to be anticipating and hiring for an exit via a public offering.
By comparison, among companies with less than $25 million in revenue, public reporting experience was cited as a hiring factor only eight percent of the time, while a previous successful exit was cited by 17 percent of respondents. Across all revenue categories, the CFO had Big Four experience a quarter of the time, or less.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media