October 4, 2022 – Spencer Stuart has been selected by meal-kit delivery services company Blue Apron Holdings to lead its search for a new chief financial officer. Randy Greben has notified the company that he has accepted a position at another company and plans to resign from his role, effective Oct. 17.
Spencer Stuart recruited Mr. Greben into the CFO role with Blue Apron in January 2021. “Randy has helped drive growth in new business operations across different sales channels, while also implementing strategies to efficiently manage business operations,” said Linda Findley Kozlowski, president and CEO of Blue Apron. “Randy has played an important role at Blue Apron as we developed our new strategy to pursue growth alongside a path to profitability. I’d like to thank him for his contributions on behalf of everybody at Blue Apron. We wish him the very best in his future endeavors.”
Blue Apron appointed Mitchell Cohen to serve as interim CFO, effective following Mr. Greben’s departure. With over 30 years of financial, operations and general business experience, Mr. Cohen is a highly experienced CFO with a wealth of experience across a number of industries as well as public and private organizations.
“Mitch will be an asset to Blue Apron during this transitional period given his extensive public company experience, and understanding of subscription and E-commerce models,” said Ms. Findley. “As we continue to balance growth, our planned path to profitability and managing through inflationary periods, Mitch’s decades of experience can help us continue to execute the Next Course strategy outlined earlier this year.”
Blue Apron is an ingredient-and-recipe meal kit service which exclusively operates in the U.S. The weekly boxes contain ingredients along with suggested recipes that must be cooked by hand by the customer using the pre-ordered ingredients. The company, which is based in New York, was founded in 2012.
Spencer Stuart has conducted more than 1,200 senior-level finance searches over the past 24 months for clients that include Fortune 500, FTSE 100, DAX 30, and HS 100 companies, as well as private equity firms and their portfolio companies, emerging companies, and non-profit organizations. The firm has experience finding finance leaders in a variety of capacities, including chief financial officer, accounting, audit, controls, corporate development, financial planning and analysis, investor relations, risk, tax, and treasury.
CFO Confidence Crisis
Few roles are as important as the chief financial officer at most companies, 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.
Indeed, according to one Korn Ferry study, 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. Currently, 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 owed in part to CFOs feeling that their firms’ leadership development programs have failed to keep up with the rapidly changing role of 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 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