October 20, 2023 – Executive search firm ON Partners recently recruited Gene Fetisov as the new CFO for LightForce. He steps into this role as LightForce gears up for growth following the announcement of Series D funding. Partner Lenny Vairo spearheaded the assignment for the search firm. “Gene has been a very successful CFO for several high-growth companies in large markets where technology was the key leverage,” said Alfred Griffin, co-founder and CEO. “He has a history of growing companies and taking them public when it serves the business. Gene’s financial experience and ability to solve complex problems quickly will be invaluable to the LightForce team as we continue to expand in the market and support orthodontists who embrace digital orthodontics.”
Mr. Fetisov brings over 25 years of financial leadership expertise to LightForce. He has a track record of not only nurturing the growth of companies but also steering them towards successful IPOs. “His appointment is a strategic move that reaffirms LightForce’s commitment to taking the dental technology industry to new heights,” the company said.
Previously, Mr. Fetisov served as CFO of Semrush. Prior to that, he held the same position with Luxoft and Moscow Exchange. “With Gene’s financial expertise and strategic vision, LightForce is poised to scale its manufacturing capabilities and extend its support to a broader spectrum of customers across the market,” the company said.
“I am truly impressed by the work that LightForce has done,” said Mr. Fetisov. “They have built an impressive company that will continue to grow into the large global dental market, transforming it with personalized product and digital treatment planning. With this latest round of funding, we will be able to focus on scaling our manufacturing and go-to-market functions reaching out to a larger number of customers.”
LightForce is a digital platform providing orthodontists with fully customized, 3D printed tooth-moving tools. Founded in 2015 by Dr. Griffin, along with Dr. Lou Shuman, the company’s mission is to revolutionizing orthodontics through advanced manufacturing and technology.
With a primary focus on technology, consumer, industrial, and the life science sectors, ON Partners recruits C-level and board talent for public and private companies, as well as venture capital and private equity firms. Founded in 2006, the firm’s consultants work from offices in Atlanta; Boston; Chicago; Cleveland; Dallas; Menlo Park, CA; Minneapolis. MN; San Francisco; and New York. ON Partners was named one of the fastest growing search firms this year by Hunt Scanlon Media. The firm is now ranked as one of the 20 largest search firms in the nation.
Mr. Vairo has 25-plus years in retained executive search recruiting CEO, C-level, and senior executives across a range of industry sectors including technology and enterprise, industrial, and life sciences. He has experience in private equity and public companies.
Evolving CFO Roles
Since COVID-19 struck, CFOs are being asked to play an ever-broader role. “The tumultuous environment companies are operating within demand a different skill-set in the CFO chair,” said ON Partners co-president Tim Conti. “CFOs are playing a critical strategic role in companies, not only to pull levers necessary to secure a company’s financial platform, but also to position the company to emerge in a strong competitive positioning in a marketplace where not all will survive. This requires the CFO to lead from the front, be strategic and savvy, to navigate a company through choppy waters. When boards and CEOs do not have confidence that they have this strategic CFO, then they have no choice but to seek out an alternative.”
Financial Services is Booming, CFO Role Continues to Evolve
Despite economic uncertainty and the challenges of finding top talent, the financial sector continues to change and grow. Interviewed by Hunt Scanlon Media, search leaders who specialize in the sector offer their insights on the path forward, the CFO’s responsibilities, and more.
“In times like these, where businesses demand hyper-agility, being a functional specialist isn’t good enough,” said Bryan Buck, partner at ON Partners. “It’s required now that CFOs can see around corners and understand the physical (and digital) trends that are reshaping their world – and then act quickly. They need to think like P&L owners – not like accountants. Regardless of the product or service their company offers, customer expectations have changed. And the CFOs in highest demand right now are the ones who have proven to be nimble and business-focused enough to drive organization’s to where the puck is moving (both organically and inorganically).”
This business environment is also putting more pressure on CFOs. “There’s definitely more need for CFOs to operate with transparency around the realities of the market conditions, how those conditions are impacting the business in the short and long term, and what strategic steps are being taken to address the challenges faced,” said Mr. Conti. “Shareholders understand that market conditions are challenging, and they’ll be more patient in these unique times, but only if they have confidence in the CFO’s leadership and strategy.”
“Yes – and it’s industry-agnostic,” Mr. Buck added. “For public companies specifically, those in negatively impacted sectors are trying to survive the rapid slow down, and maintain various levels of ongoing business operations, while planning and positioning for a potential recovery that could happen within the next few quarters…or the next few years,” he said. “Public finance leaders on the other end of that spectrum are seeing tremendous growth and demand, but they’re also cognizant that current share price reflects Wall Street’s expectation of perfection – leaving no room for quarterly missteps.”
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; and Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media