October 25, 2017 – Chief financial officers continue to be in high demand. Finding them is keeping many of the nation’s top recruitment operations busier than ever. Recently, Mercury Media enlisted WinterWyman Executive Search to help find its next chief financial officer. Senior vice president and partner Ken Martin is spearheading the search.
The CFO is expected to direct and oversee all of the financial activities of the company and will serve as a strategic business partner to the chief executive officer in driving operational initiatives and business strategy, the recruiters said. The executive will also be responsible for all aspects of financial management, including overseeing the accounting function, the development and management of financial and accounting policies, cash management, reporting, planning, the evaluation of strategic business opportunities, and the evaluation, execution and integration of mergers and acquisitions.
Additionally, the CFO will serve as a primary liaison for all financial matters to the company’s board of directors, investors and lenders. Besides financial management, the CFO will also be integrally involved in leading the company’s technology and operational initiatives across all of its lines of business and offices.
Established in 1989, Mercury Media is the largest independently owned performance marketing agency in the country. It has offices in Boston, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Princeton, and Chicago.
WinterWyman has been advising an expanding client base for more than four decades. The firm supports leading organizations, from start-ups to some of the most recognized global brands. Mr. Martin has both an academic and professional foundation in accounting. In more than 30 years of leading senior-level searches, he has developed in-depth relationships with some of the top finance executives in the U.S. WinterWyman’s assignments have included searches for Akamai, Noble Supply & Logistics, Veson Nautical Corporation, Driscoll’s, Residential Mortgage Services, Gentle Dental, Oxford Immunotec, Endurance International Group and Monster Worldwide, among others.
Mr. Martin recently sat down with Hunt Scanlon Media to discuss what type of leader the New York-based performance agency is seeking. Here’s some excerpts.
Ken, what type of leader is Mercury Media looking for?
Mercury is looking for a strong, proactive financial leader not adverse to being the conductor of change and strategic partner to the CEO. Owned by private equity firm EOS, Mercury is a performance media agency. The ideal CFO will have in-depth financial knowledge along with recent operational involvement or insight and will be able to step in immediately to help the board of directors and the executive leadership team institute change that supports business strategy.
What background and characteristics does the company desire?
Mercury’s CFO will direct and oversee all of the financial activities of the company, serve as a strategic business partner to the chief executive officer and be involved in leading the company’s technology and operational initiatives. He or she must possess:
- A proven track record of helping to drive operational initiatives and business strategy.
- Clear expertise in all aspects of financial management, including overseeing the accounting function, the development and management of financial and accounting policies, cash management, reporting and planning.
- A background in assessing strategic business opportunities, and the evaluation, execution and integration of mergers and acquisitions.
- Experience acting as the primary liaison for all financial matters with boards of directors, investors and lenders and able to help guide them through decision making.
- Current oversight of operational and technology initiatives across multiple business lines and geographies.
Ideally, the leader is a sitting CFO from a mid-sized media or related industry firm, or the second in financial command of a global advertising entity. It’s preferred that he or she have an advanced degree, a background in public accounting and has dealt with business units rolling into a corporate function. They also must possess a true and in-depth knowledge of transactional accounting as well as forecasting, strategy, operations and technology.
How wide of a net will you cast when seeking candidates?
As with all our searches, we’ll cast as wide a net as necessary to find the right candidate. However, the field is fairly narrow as the CFO must be from a media, PR, marketing, advertising or communications-related firm and along with his or her financial acumen, must also have strategic expertise and operational and technology oversight. We’re looking for a very specific background here and expect this to be a national search with particular concentration in New York City, Los Angeles, Boston and other major U.S. hubs.
Any other nuances about the search that you can share?
“Mercury is looking for a strong, proactive financial leader not adverse to being the conductor of change and strategic partner to the CEO.”
Without question, Mercury is looking to hire a true financial operations leader to complement the CEO and help move the agency into their next growth phase. This is an important leadership role for the organization and the opportunity to work very closely with the board of directors and private equity owner. The CEO embraces the opportunity to partner with the CFO to guide and shape the company and increase revenues and profitability for the firm’s next step. In addition to cash compensation, the CFO will receive an equity stake in the company.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Will Schatz, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media