Ignite Search Partners Finds CFO for Rockwell Medical

November 5, 2018 – CFOs continue to be in high demand. Finding them is keeping many of the nation’s top recruitment operations busier than ever.

In recent months, search firms of all varieties have placed CFOs at various companies.

Greenwich, Conn-based executive recruiting firm Ignite Search Partners recently recruited Angus Smith as the new chief financial officer of NASDAQ-traded Rockwell Medical Inc. in Wixom, MI. He will join the company at the end of the month.

“After conducting a thorough search process, we are very pleased to announce Angus’ appointment as CFO of Rockwell Medical,” said Stuart Paul, president and CEO of Rockwell Medical. “Angus’ deep financial expertise, along with his background advising specialty pharmaceutical and healthcare companies, are a great fit for Rockwell Medical.”

“He brings a diverse knowledge base to the CFO role given his experience with debt and equity financings, mergers and acquisitions, licensing agreements, joint ventures and strategic partnerships,” said Mr. Paul. “We are confident he will be an asset to our leadership team as we continue our work to drive financial and operational performance for the benefit of our shareholders.”

Proven Experience

Mr. Smith joins Rockwell Medical from Pernix Therapeutics, a specialty pharmaceutical company focused on the acquisition, development and commercialization of prescription drugs, where he serves as senior vice president, chief business officer and principal financial officer. Previously, he served as vice president of business development and strategic planning, and as VP, M&A and corporate finance. Prior to Pernix, Mr. Smith worked in healthcare investment banking, most recently serving as a director in the healthcare investment banking group at Cantor Fitzgerald. During his nearly decade-long investment banking tenure, Mr. Smith focused on providing strategic and financial advice to specialty pharmaceutical and healthcare companies.

In his new role, Mr. Smith will be responsible for overseeing all financial operations and investor relations activities for Rockwell Medical. “I look forward to drawing on my background and working with Stuart and the entire Rockwell Medical team to achieve results for our shareholders,” he said.

Rockwell Medical is a biopharmaceutical company targeting end-stage renal disease and chronic kidney disease. Its exclusive renal drug therapies support disease management initiatives to improve the quality of life and care of dialysis patients and are intended to deliver safe and effective therapy, while decreasing drug administration costs and improving patient convenience.

The Recruiters

Ignite Search Partners was launched by founder and managing partner Jodie Emery almost two years ago. Ms. Emery is described as a relationship-driven executive search leader with strong ties to the investment and healthcare communities. She has more than 20 years of operating experience including start-ups, restructuring, mergers and acquisitions and IPOs in multiple CEO roles.

Prior to Ignite Search Partners, Ms. Emery led Caldwell’s private equity practice, executing searches for both funds and portfolio companies, assisting with talent assessment, and managing executive level and board of directors searches for life sciences and healthcare services companies across the spectrum. She was previously a partner at both Heidrick & Struggles and Korn Ferry.

Modern Day CFO

A recent report by Stanton Chase International found that the CFO role continues to evolve at an escalating pace. As the job expands to include more non-traditional financial accountabilities, CFOs recognize that they must develop new skills to lead.


Transitioning CFOs Seen Fast Tracking to CEO
La Quinta’s naming of Keith Cline as company president and chief executive officer is the latest in a running catalog of completed CEO searches that have resulted in the winning candidate coming from the CFO slot. Korn Ferry took on the search last fall after Wayne Goldberg stepped down from the post last September.


“With technology increasingly shaping and disrupting corporate strategy and the way organizations operate, CFOs must remain poised for more change ahead, and be prepared to quickly and continuously innovate to keep pace with digital transformation,” Stanton Chase said.

The report found that technology, and the unique opportunities it offers, presents new challenges and demands for CFOs. Among them, CFOs must take on a greater role in attracting, developing and retaining top tech-savvy leadership talent that can leverage new technologies within their organizations, allowing them to focus on developing and driving corporate strategy to remain competitive.

The tide has clearly turned, and the CFO’s focus has irrevocably shifted from “traditional” finance responsibilities to finding ways that finance can add measurable business value. “Technology is both a driver and an enabler of this shift,” the report said.

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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