ZRG Partners Assists the Government of the District of Columbia with CFO Search

Diane Charness and Tim Ward led the search firm’s efforts in recruiting Glen Lee, former finance director for the city of Seattle, for this key role. “It was important to me that we hire a CFO with strong integrity who was ready, on day one, to build on the District’s financial success,” said Washington, D.C. mayor Muriel Bowser. “I am confident that Glen Lee is the right leader for the job.”

August 10, 2022 – ZRG Partners, a leading search firm backed by private equity firm RFE Investment Partners, recently partnered with the Government of the District of Columbia on the search for the District’s new CFO. Managing directors Diane Charness, global non-profit practice leader, and Tim Ward, of ZRG’s professional and technology services practice, led the search that resulted in Glen Lee’s successful nomination to the position.”

“We’re very pleased to have worked with the District of Columbia in filling this critical role,” said Ms. Charness from her D.C. office. “Cities are working to move beyond the pandemic and plan for futures filled with promise and security for their citizens and businesses. Their CFOs are a critical resource to strategize on such key initiatives. Everyone at ZRG wants to extend their congratulations to Glen and D.C. mayor Muriel Bowser on this nomination in our nation’s capital.”

“It was important to me that we hire a CFO with strong integrity who was ready, on day one, to build on the District’s financial success. I am confident that Glen Lee is the right leader for the job,” said mayor Bowser. “In recent years, I’m proud that the District has achieved many firsts: our first upgrade to a AAA bond rating; our first audit that had zero significant deficiencies or material weaknesses, which we have now maintained for seven years straight; and the District’s first 60-day cash reserve, a milestone we hit right before COVID and that we have been able to maintain throughout the pandemic. Now, we are ready to build on those successes and ensure a strong comeback for D.C. residents and businesses across all eight wards.”

Mr. Lee is a proven leader with several decades of experience who previously served as finance director for the City of Seattle where he was responsible for the city’s accounting, treasury, debt management, risk management, and payroll functions. He also oversaw Seattle’s effort to standardize financial processes and implement new financial and human resource systems. In addition, Mr. Lee managed the tax administration function, and led a coalition of Washington cities that operates a multi-jurisdictional business licensing and tax filing system for Seattle-region taxpayers.

Mr. Lee was first appointed as the city finance director in 2010. Prior to his appointment, he managed the city’s revenue forecasting and budget development functions in the city’s budget office. Mr. Lee has served on several advisory groups including the Association of Washington Cities’ Legislative Fiscal Subcommittee, the Streamlined Tax Mitigation Advisory Committee of the Washington Department of Revenue, and Seattle Public Schools Advisory Committee for Investing in Educational Excellence. Mr. Lee was also an instructor for the Government Finance Officers Association and served on the economics department advisory board for Seattle University.

New Role

As CFO of the nation’s capital, Mr. Lee is responsible for overseeing a $19.5 billion budget. The unique jurisdictional circumstances of the District of Columbia require the ability to effectively manage the financial well-being of a major city while also interacting regularly with Congressional oversight committees and the U.S. Office of Management and Budget. Mr. Lee works closely with the executive branch of the Bowser administration to implement DC’s COVID-19 recovery plan, “A Fair Shot.” The plan makes critical investments for its citizens in affordable housing, academic acceleration, quality childcare, safe and accessible transportation, gun violence reduction, and relief for businesses and residents hit hardest by the economic crisis of the past two years.

Related: Crisis Management: CFOs Confront New Layers of Risk in Pandemic Era

Mr. Lee oversees the District’s financial operations performed by more than 1,700 staff members working in tax and revenue administration; treasury, comptroller, and budget operations; the DC Office of Lottery and Gaming; economic/fiscal analysis and revenue estimation functions; and financial management in all District agencies.

Proven Search Consultants

ZRG, founded in 1999, is a mid-sized global executive search firm and one of the fastest growing in the search industry. It provides a full suite of executive, middle management, and customized search solutions through its offices in North America, Europe, South America, and Asia. The firm finds leaders across a broad spectrum of business markets, including aerospace, consumer, education, healthcare services and solutions, industrial, life sciences, non-profit, private equity and venture capital, and technology.

Ms. Charness specializes in partnering with leading organizations in education, healthcare, government, and those advocating for the arts, research, and sustainability. She serves as a strategic partner to institutions seeking to cross-populate leadership teams who inspire innovation and operational excellence in both the public and private sectors. Having served over 100 non-profit, governmental, and industry clients throughout the U.S. and beyond, Ms. Charness facilitates consensus around organizational design and leadership development, working with boards and leadership on C-suite and senior management talent selection. She’s been recognized as one of the top 40 Education recruiters in the U.S. by Hunt Scanlon Media two years in a row, and as a top 60 non-profit recruiter.

Mr. Ward brings over 20 years of executive search experience to ZRG’s professional and technology services practice where he specializes in placing sales, operations, business development, delivery, and technology executives with industry leading companies. As part of his two decades in executive search, Mr. Ward has also worked extensively within the government contracting industry where he has represented and placed multiple U.S. Government officials and military flag officers as they transition to private sector positions. Examples include placement of two former Defense Information Systems Agency directors, the under secretary for Nuclear Security, a former secretary of Homeland Security, the vice commandant of the U.S. Coast Guard, and the chief information officer for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence.

Recruiting CFOs

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. And there is no let-up in sight.

‘Hunt Scanlon Financial Services Recruiting’ Special Issue

Executive Search Review has released its Financial Services Recruiting special issue newsletter! The profile of modern financial services leaders continues to change amid the sector’s renewed focus on customers for revenue growth, service digitalization, a renewed focus on risk management, and increasing investor and regulatory scrutiny, according to executive recruiters. The COVID-19 crisis has only heightened the need for top talent that has the ability to pivot and steer.  businesses through hard times and onto firm ground. So it is that skilled leaders are being sought throughout financial services and across a myriad of functional

Hunt Scanlon presents its annual roundup of the 60 most prominent executive search firms serving the financial services sector. Click here and enjoy!

The CFO is responsible for the single source of financial truth – from the collection, analysis, and reporting of financial data to strategic and financial planning to risk assessment, management, and mitigation, according to ZRG. “Although the general responsibilities are the same across different industries, there are nuances within certain sectors that are beneficial to stay within,” the firm said. “Of course, certain industries see a lot of flip-flops, for example, regulation-driven financial services and healthcare have a lot in common.”

ZRG categorizes CFOs based on skill-sets, industries, core competencies, and personalities. The firm uses that data in its Z Score process to ensure it fits “the right candidate in the right role at the right location.”

Related: COVID-19 Creating New Pressures for CFOs

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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