June 3, 2022 – ZRG Partners, a leading search firm backed by private equity firm RFE Investment Partners, has recruited John Karnes as the new chief financial officer of Quarterhill Inc. in Toronto. He will replace interim CFO Steve Thompson, the CFO of Quarterhill subsidiary Wi-LAN Inc. Managing director Kevin Anderson led the assignment. Mr. Karnes will be based in Dallas.
“John’s skills and experience are an excellent fit for Quarterhill at this stage in our evolution,” said Bret Kidd, CEO of Quarterhill. “His strategic leadership, extensive capital markets experience and lengthy M&A track record combined with the requisite focus on disciplined planning, execution and compliance are well suited to help drive our ITS growth plans. Further, he brings a foundation in technology and SaaS along with a keen understanding of customer service in complex, project-based relationships, which are both well-suited to our current business as well as to new growth opportunities we are pursuing.”
Mr. Karnes is an experienced technology executive with more than 20 years spent in CFO roles within both publicly traded and private equity enterprises. He has extensive experience in CFO roles with public companies listed on the NYSE and NASDAQ, including Mariner Energy, The Houston Exploration Company, CyberCash Inc., and KiOR Inc., where he led during periods of transformation characterized by acquisition and integration, while ensuring regulatory compliance and operational efficiency.
Most recently, Mr. Karnes was CFO of Ontellus, a leading U.S. SaaS health record exchange network connecting over 190,000 national physician groups and hospital systems to some of the country’s largest insurance carriers. Previously, he was CFO at Vertafore, a SaaS provider to the insurance industry with more than $500 million in revenue, and Alert Logic, a national leader in cybersecurity. Mr. Karnes began his career as an attorney with Kirkland & Ellis LLP where he specialized in securities offerings and compliance, as well as M&A.
Quarterhill is a growth-oriented public company in the intellectual property and intelligent transportation system (ITS) industries, pursuing an acquisition strategy that capitalizes on attractive trends in ITS and its adjacent markets. Its wholly owned subsidiaries are WiLAN and International Road Dynamics. Quarterhill was founded in 1992 as a wireless technology company.
Proven Search Firm
ZRG, founded in 1999, is a progressive 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.
Mr. Anderson, a managing director in ZRG’s Dallas office, is a member of the global technology practice. His focus is in the communications, software and hardware industries within private equity portfolio companies. Mr. Anderson specializes in board-driven executive searches, including board directors, CEOs, CFOs and other C-suite executives, as well as private equity investment professionals and operating partners. While his search experience spans a range of technology sectors, Mr. Anderson’s core expertise is in communications, hardware and software. He has over 25 years of experience in senior-level executive search.
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.
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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 skillsets, 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.”
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media