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537: When Every Megawatt Matters | Sharif Metwalli, CFO. Vantage Data Centers

CFO Thought Leader

Release Date: 10/06/2019

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CFO Thought Leader

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CFO Thought Leader

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More Episodes

When Sharif Metwalli decided that the time was right to accept a CFO position with Vantage Data Centers, he was confident that he had found a company that allowed him to check all of the boxes when it came to his finance leader search criteria.

Box #1: Know and respect the management team. Box #2: Know and respect the owner. Box #3: Know the industry and be bullish on the sector.

Says Metwalli: “After 19 years of banking, I wanted to apply my skillset on the corporate side, and an opportunity arose to work for a client that I knew very well.”

As for the nearly two decades that he spent inside the world of investment banking, Metwalli says that he was fortunate to have latched on to opportunities and roles that shielded him—not once, but twice—from the mayhem brought on by economic downturns.

“Back before the dot-com bubble burst, I had started off in a group that was heavily focused on equity and M&A, and I made a proactive effort to move to a different industry group,” explains Metwalli, who may have landed in the bank’s lending business just in the nick of time. “I figured that we’d never get out of the lending business, and I could learn the debt side of the balance sheet. Not only that, but I could become a more well-rounded banker in general.”

Fast-forward seven years, and Metwalli says that he was able to successfully weather the Great Recession because by that time he had developed an expertise in telecom infrastructure. The CFO recalls spending his days burrowing down deep into the wireless space, a realm quickly being populated by spectrum towers and data centers.

“When the banks began to consider who they wanted to keep inside the different industry groups, even though I wasn’t a senior banker at the time, my expertise allowed me to survive and maintain a career,” explains Metwalli, whose expertise around data center infrastructure only continued to grow in the years to come, allowing him to check the boxes with confidence when the opportunity with Vantage Data Centers came along. –Jack Sweeney

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