September 14, 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.
Ontario-headquartered executive search firm the Verriez Group recently recruited Amy Butler as senior vice-president and chief financial officer for Farm Mutual Re, Canada’s first completely Canadian-owned reinsurance company. Brent Verriez and Paul Verriez led the search.
“We engaged the Verriez Group to conduct a CFO search on our behalf, to identify and assist us in the placement of a qualified CFO in which, in addition to technical capabilities, fit is an absolutely critical factor,” said Steve Smith, president and CEO of Farm Mutual Re. “Paul and Brent identified four very suitable candidates and we are we were able to select and hire the ideal candidate for our operation.”
“We were completely satisfied with the entire process and the end result was that we were able to find the exact person we were looking for,” he said.
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Ms. Butler, who has more than 15 years of experience with Ernst and Young, is noted for her extensive audit, accounting and advisory experience in the financial services and insurance industries. In addition to her roles as EY’s national technical accounting leader for property and casualty insurance accounting under IFRS 17, she was also a representative of EY for the working group in which auditors and the Office of the Superintendent of Financial Institutions meet to discuss accounting, auditing and regulatory issues and solutions arising from the introduction IFRS 17.
“Her skill-sets and industry experience will allow her to help Farm Mutual continue to navigate through the technical challenges of IFRS 17 while also having a focus on providing strategic leadership to both Farm Mutual and its mutual community,” the search firm said.
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Located in Cambridge, Ontario, Farm Mutual Re was formed in 1959 by Mutual Insurance Companies from across Ontario, which provide their members with farm, personal and commercial insurance products.
Verriez is a boutique executive search firm in Toronto and London, Ontario providing human capital services. The firm has specialized in finding CFOs and other senior financial officers since 1985. “Chief financial officers continue to be in high demand, and a shortage of great talent shows no sign of slowing down,” the firm said.
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