June 2, 2021 – Chief financial officers 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, especially private equity-backed outfits. To that end, Haddonfield, NJ-based executive recruitment firm True Search recently placed Jose Rodriguez as the new CFO of MikMak. Rhoda Longhenry and Jen Ringoen led the search assignment. “We officially welcome Jose Rodriguez as our new CFO and employee 100,” MikMak said. “Our company has tripled in size since last year with MikMak’ers located across the United States. And we’re still hiring.”
Mr. Rodriguez most recently served as CFO of the EAT Club. Prior to that, he was vice president of finance and accounting for MapR Technologies and before that he held the position of senior director and chief accountant at Silver Spring Networks. Earlier in his career, Mr. Rodriguez gained experience with Ernst & Young.
Executive Recruiters & Talent Leaders
Reveal Market Forecast
The pandemic caused an unprecedented disruption to executive search activity in 2020. Executive recruiters spent the better part of last year resetting expectations in the midst of an unprecedented interruption to their business. But according to recruiting industry leaders interviewed for this report, the search business is turning a significant corner.
We take a critical look back, examine search firm performance, and uncover fresh market opportunities. Leading executive recruiters offer up their viewpoints, and forecasts, for 2021. The good news: optimism reigns. And that means we could be in for one of the biggest growth spurts the executive search sector has enjoyed in years. Here’s our latest thinking. A special thanks to our co-sponsor: N2Growth! Buy your copy today!
MikMak is an E-commerce acceleration platform for multichannel brands. They provide E-commerce analytics and enablement software to help consumer product companies – including grocery, alcohol, and CPG brands – understand and perfect their consumers’ online journey, drive online sales at retailer sites, and optimize their media and marketing spend. Last year, MikMak secured $10 million in funding from Lunch Partners, Madrona Venture Group, Bazaarvoice founder Brett Hurt, Hooklogic founder/CEO Jonathan Opdyke and founding CRO John Roswech, Foursquare CEO David Shim and Kargo CEO Harry Kargman.
Serving the Private and Public Sectors
Working in both the private and public sectors, True Search has offices throughout the U.S. as well as the EMEA and APAC regions. Since the late 1990s, the firm’s founders have refined their search process with a blend of data-centric insights, relationship-building, and experience to produce a methodology that consistently improves hiring decisions and accelerates growth. Its clients include Jet, Work Front and Summit Partners. True Search is a subsidiary of True Platform, a global portfolio of human capital services and products for high-growth tech and tech-enabled organizations.
Ms. Longhenry is partner and head of True’s financial officer’s practice. She has over 18 years of executive search experience and leads True Search’s financial officers’ practice. She works closely with leading venture capital and private equity firms including Andreessen Horowitz, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Kleiner Perkins, Bessemer Venture Partners, Greylock Partners, Accel Partners, NEA and JMI. Clients include GitHub, Asana, Zenefits, PagerDuty, Datastax, Rent the Runway, Machine Zone, The Trade Desk, Cruise Automation, Grand Rounds, MasterClass and General Assembly.
Ms. Ringoen joined True’s San Francisco office in 2018 as one of the first dedicated hires within the firm’s finance practice. As a principal, she specializes in strategic CFO and VP finance searches for West Coast tech businesses. Former clients include Grammarly, Intercom, Samsara, Hinge Health, Podium, Discord and Medium.
Recruiting CFOs for PE Companies
Executive search firm Caldwell recently conducted a survey on the CFO role to fine-tune its understanding of the skills and experiences that define success today for a CFO of a PE-backed portfolio company and, equally importantly, which attributes may sound appealing but are not essential. More than 300 private equity CFOs shared candid responses on their backgrounds and how they landed in their current role. The results provided a clearer picture of who sits in the CFO chair at many PE-backed portfolio companies, and the skills and credentials that are truly impactful in their leadership role.
When asked to describe their previous experience, 10 percent of the participants said, “I was a divisional CFO or No. 2 finance executive in a PE-backed company,” while 20 percent had the same status at a public company. Another 35 percent had been a CFO of a public or private company. And only 34 percent had been CFO of a PE-backed company. So just a third of the CFOs in the Caldwell survey had previously held a PE CFO role.
Among companies with less than $25 million in revenue, only 15 percent of the CFOs had prior experience as CFO of a PE-backed company, while 56 percent of the companies with greater than $500 million revenue hired a CFO with prior experience in a PE CFO role. In the three other revenue categories, the companies hired a CFO with prior PE CFO experience 40 percent of the time, or less. These findings would seem to indicate that hiring a CFO with prior PE CFO experience is a “nice to have,” but not a must-have credential for all companies, said the firm.
Caldwell also asked the CFOs: “What were the key factors in your hiring?” and asked them to check all relevant factors. Among the total population of participants, the No. 1 factor was industry experience, and the second factor was PE experience. Tied for third were a previous successful exit and a prior role as a stand-alone PE CFO.
Looking at the responses by company revenue size, private equity experience was the first or second response in all revenue categories. Likewise, industry experience was first or second in the four lower revenue categories. Among companies with greater than $500 million revenue, however, private equity experience was the top response, selected by 64 percent of the respondents, while a previous successful exit and experience as a stand-alone PE CFO were each chosen by 48 percent of respondents. Only in this largest revenue category did industry experience drop to the fourth answer, tied with public reporting experience. These responses would seem to reflect that among the largest companies, investors are more likely to be anticipating and hiring for an exit via a public offering.
By comparison, among companies with less than $25 million in revenue, public reporting experience was cited as a hiring factor only eight percent of the time, while a previous successful exit was cited by 17 percent of respondents. Across all revenue categories, the CFO had Big Four experience a quarter of the time, or less.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media