14th June 2023
Talent Insights for a Global Finance Function
The CFO of an Australian ASX50 company presented us with a problem to be solved. The Deputy CFO (DCFO) was viewed as a flight risk. The DCFO had assumed a lot of other functions in the structure historically, and consequently 90% of the CFO’s headcount now sat under that role. The CFO was unsure if this was the ideal structure and needed to know if there was a better way to organise their function, regardless of whether the DCFO stayed or not.
In addition to the issue of the Finance team structure, our CFO client advised us that they felt that some of the key Divisional CFOs who supported the business units were also not up to task (feedback was mixed from the business unit leaders). So, in addition to understanding options on structure, they needed to know whether the people in those roles were of the right background and level compared to the market.
The CFO had multiple problems to solve but primarily, they needed a solution that could both inform their organisation structure, but also be actionable to create a potential pool of talent and manage the succession risk scenario. By the same token, they also needed to benchmark the current Divisional CFOs with the rest of the market. A well designed and executed Competitor Insights project from Generator Talent could perhaps be the silver bullet that could tell them how others set up their functions, but also create a pool of talent that could be utilised or benchmarked against.
Our approach was to design a research project that would generate the three-fold insights our CFO client needed; to restructure their organisation with insights gained from similar, global competitors; to create a pool of external DCFO level candidates who could be activated in the situation of the incumbent exiting; and to benchmark the current stock of Divisional CFOs against their peers in the market.
We researched and created the Finance Organisational charts of two domestic ASX companies as well as three overseas peers in their industry, in the USA and Europe. This allowed us to draw direct comparisons to our clients’ structure, and to trends and best practice from an organisational design perspective. We mapped, profiled and engaged with 150 Deputy CFO level candidates across 115 companies and created a ready to move Talent Pool of internationally experienced, qualified and interested candidates if our client needed to activate them for options down the path. In addition, we profiled and assessed Divisional CFO’s across a targeted list of competitor companies in our research to provide benchmarks and insights into whether he had the right people in the key value-creating roles in their current Finance team.
The solution was presented in a 100-page confidential report that we presented to our CFO client and the Divisional HR Director.
Our Competitor Insights project verified that our CFO client did have an irregular structure, with the wrong functions reporting to sub-optimal leaders. It also informed that an opportunity existed to upgrade some existing Divisional CFOs, particularly compared to the level of experience and capability inherent in their competitor organisations.
The client then restructured their finance division, with reference to the insights from our project, replaced their DCFO (after he had resigned) with a better aligned (internal) candidate who they had begun to position for the role and developed new role expectations and talent capability levels for the critical Divisional CFO’s roles moving forward. Once the new role profiles were agreed, we approached several of the overseas candidates we had mapped for their most critical Divisional CFO role, which resulted in a successful hire of an outstanding candidate from a global peer organisation based in the UK, saving the client substantial additional search fees.
The client was effusive in recognising the work we did as being pivotal to providing them with the succession assurance that they had a strong internal option should the DCFO leave, the right structure to move forward with should that occur, and a successful hire for their new and more robust Divisional CFO roles. We’ve since continued to work on other similar projects with this client, solving a range of leadership succession problems.
Talk with us if you have a talent or succession problem that we can solve for you.