A recent article caught my attention on this subject from The Sydney Morning Herald by Malcolm Maiden titled “Fegan exits Telstra after CFO snub” .
The article discusses Telstra’s recent appointment of their new CFO, Andy Penn. Mr. Penn, former chief executive at AXA Asia Pacific, was hired after a through CFO Search, from both inside and outside of the organization. It also discusses how Paul Fegan, an executive at the company, has left following the hiring of Mr. Penn, seemingly, as the article implies, due to Mr. Fegan being snubbed for the CFO role which he thought he was going to be appointed to.
While this story takes place in Australia, it is a common one in the United States and around the world. As executives jockey for position to move up the corporate pyramid, the closer one gets to the top of the pyramid, the greater the opportunity is for an executive to be ‘snubbed’.
Does it make sense to perform a CFO Search outside a company when there is a strong talent pool inside the company? Absolutely. If a company wants to hire the best for their very senior roles, not considering “outsiders” in the nomination process does the company a disservice. Hiring the best CFO is a strategic choice. In making these strategic choices, there will be winners and there will be losers.
Are the losers really losers? No. Strong financial executives who build their reputation and their brand can take their experience elsewhere and provide another company with top-notch leadership.
Does using an executive search firm help? Definitely. When faced with a difficult decision to hire the best CFO, using a search firm not only allows a company access to the best CFOs for consideration, it also provides the company with objective process and guidance to help make the best hiring decision possible for this very important role.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish all my readers a very Happy Holiday season and a Happy & Successful 2012!