June 21, 2021 – The Rail Safety and Standards Board (RSSB), an independent British non-profit company which supports its members to deliver a better, safer railway through its research, standards, and analysis, has retained Russell Reynolds Associates to lead its search for a chief financial officer. RSSB’s new CFO, who will be based in London, will report to the chief executive officer and will have reporting responsibilities to the audit and risk committee as well as the RSSB board, said Russell Reynolds Associates. The individual will also work in close conjunction with fellow executive committee members and oversee procurement, payroll, financial governance and corporate control, and risk and assurance. In addition to being an executive committee member, it is expected that the CFO will join the RSSB board within the first year of joining the company.
Among the responsibilities of the role, the new CFO will focus on strategic planning and implementation, said the search firm. He or she will be expected to work closely with the board and executive committee to create strategic objectives for the organization and ensure their successful implementation. The CFO will also be the right hand to the CEO with full responsibility for leading the finance function and a broad operational remit. The individual will offer constructive challenge and support to drive performance as well as identify and address risks and opportunities for RSSB, effectively manage long-term financial risk and help the organization achieve long-term financial sustainability.
The CFO must also provide finance leadership and delivery. The individual will take primary responsibility for the planning and operation of all the finance activities of RSSB, including accounting, finance governance and corporate control, business planning and performance, risk and assurance, and procurement. He or she will also lead and develop a high-performing finance team, ensuring the team operates to high professional standards and operational best practices.
External engagement and relationship building is also integral to the role. RSSB’s CFO must engage effectively with key stakeholders, including RSSB members, government bodies and senior business directors. Among other duties, the individual must act as an ambassador for RSSB and champion its reputation.
Candidates should be qualified accountants (ACA/ACCA), said Russell Reynolds Associates. Senior finance experience gained across a range of roles and of overseeing multiple functions is also required. Prospects should have experience in managing a full budgeting and forecasting process, along with solid knowledge of finance systems, reporting standards (FRS102) and awareness of U.K. GAAP and IFRS. A track record of improving systems, controls, processes and reporting is also essential.
In addition, those seeking the CFO role should be proficient in the use of technology to deliver strategic financial outcomes, with evidence of innovating around future systems development (e.g., automation, AI, blockchain). Experience in working with a range of funding structures, such as commercial income, membership levies and government grants, is also required. Candidates must have proven ability to lead a high performing team, with experience of mentoring and developing others to improve capability. A track record of managing complex stakeholder relationships and building effective networks internally and externally is necessary.
The Rail Safety and Standards Board, established in 2003, helps the British rail industry collaborate to continuously improve and meet future challenges. It spans the whole railway, including in its membership infrastructure companies, train and freight operators, rolling stock owners and suppliers to the industry. The company provides cross-industry governance for industry decisions and activities in many areas of business improvement, including safety, health and well-being, industry standards, sustainable development and technical interfaces, and cross-system solutions.
Russell Reynolds Associates is a global leadership advisory and search firm. Its 425-plus consultants in 46 offices work with public, private and non-profit organizations across all industries and regions. It is ranked by Hunt Scanlon Media as the third largest search firm in the Americas.
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Russell Reynolds Associates’ public sector, trade and associations practice group serves a wide variety of public sector and not-for-profit organizations, related public bodies, regulators, and government-owned companies. It also fills the executive leadership needs of global charities, healthcare providers and local government and trade associations.
The firm’s consultants have extensive experience with recruiting, developing and advising exceptional board members, CEOs and specific senior functional leadership for non-profit organizations around the world. The firm also conducts in-depth organizational culture assessment and measures the cultural fit of key leadership and candidates in the following areas: arts and culture, global development, higher education, non-profit health and human services, public sector, social justice and advocacy, as well as trade and professional associations.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media