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600: Charting Your Course to Survive and Thrive | Amir Jafari, CFO, Reputation.com

CFO Thought Leader

Release Date: 05/24/2020

615: Validating Your Proof Points for Investors  | Jeff Epstein, (CFO Emeritus) Oracle, DoubleClick, King World show art 615: Validating Your Proof Points for Investors | Jeff Epstein, (CFO Emeritus) Oracle, DoubleClick, King World

CFO Thought Leader

In the mid-1990s, when Jeff Epstein was busy satisfying the M&A appetites of media clients for First Boston, one of his smaller, but more boisterous clients asked him to join the firm as its CFO.   “It was the type of situation where if they had gone to a recruiter, I would never have made the resume cut because I had never been a CFO and I had never even worked for a CFO,” explains Epstein, who was 32 when he entered the lively entrepreneurial realm known as King World Productions. A one-time family-owned company, King World had seen its stature grow inside New York’s...

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614: In Pursuit of Data's Deep Impact | Matt Borowiecki, CFO, Biofourmis show art 614: In Pursuit of Data's Deep Impact | Matt Borowiecki, CFO, Biofourmis

CFO Thought Leader

When asked what led him to open his latest career chapter as CFO of Biofourmis, Matt Borowiecki quickly mentions the 2018 sale of MassMutual Asia Ltd. to Yunfeng FG. After helping to piece together a string of strategic plays for MassMutual, Borowiecki was instrumental in effecting the Yunfeng FG deal, which was a standout for him personally as well as one that many industry analysts at the time deemed transformational for company. Having helped to spearhead the transaction, Borowiecki was subsequently asked to relocate to Hong Kong and lead international strategy and corporate development for...

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613: Helping Others Get the Big Picture | Anders Fohlin, CFO, Medius show art 613: Helping Others Get the Big Picture | Anders Fohlin, CFO, Medius

CFO Thought Leader

Early in his finance career, Anders Fohlin discovered that he could ratchet up his capacity to consume information and problem-solve simply by drawing pictures. However, what had originated more as a personal observation would eventually evolve to something more as he discovered that his visuals could serve others.   “I started to regularly draw processes on white boards and paper to make things very visual for everybody and help others to get the full picture,” explains Fohlin, whose knack for creating visuals and goal of making things more visible “for everybody” led him to...

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612:  The Rewards of Customer Insight  | David Wells, CFO, ENDRA Life Sciences show art 612: The Rewards of Customer Insight | David Wells, CFO, ENDRA Life Sciences

CFO Thought Leader

Back in the mid-1990s, David Wells was a financial analyst for a Bay Area supply chain management company that boasted an impressive list of Silicon Valley marquee customers. Counted among their clients was a large chip maker whose customer relationship upkeep had over time become Wells’s responsibility. Because this was a coveted customer, Wells always sought to be highly responsive to any of the chip maker’s requests for information, but he increasingly found his company’s pricing model out of step with the customer’s needs. “There was a lot of confusion and a lot frustration over...

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611:  An Acquisitive State of Mind  |  Jon Nguyen, CFO, Kyriba show art 611: An Acquisitive State of Mind | Jon Nguyen, CFO, Kyriba

CFO Thought Leader

Jon Nguyen got his first taste of M&A-related work in the early to mid-2000s when he served as the finance partner for the auto lending unit of HSBC. “In consumer lending, you end up doing a lot of portfolio purchases rather than equity ones, but I have become more involved in the execution of deals over the past 8 years,” says Nguyen, who, distinguishes the past 8 years as a standout chapter -one that has allowed him to certify his M&A credentials and enter the CFO office at Kyriba. Turn back the clock 8 years, and Nguyen is vice president of finance for Mitchell International, a...

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610:  Getting a Read on Economic Recovery | Michael Borreca, CFO, LYNX Franchising show art 610: Getting a Read on Economic Recovery | Michael Borreca, CFO, LYNX Franchising

CFO Thought Leader

Finance leaders who remain skeptical of the prospects for economic recovery inside the 2020 calendar year may want to consult LYNX Franchising CFO Michael Borreca. “I don’t think that it’s going to take us to 2021 to get back to March sales levels,” says Borreca, who doesn’t hesitate to credit three nontraditional metrics for influencing his current thinking on the subject. The first is the volume of disinfectant currently being purchased by franchisees of JAN-PRO—owned by LYNX—which boast of being  the largest commercial cleaning franchiser in the country, with over 8,000...

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609:  Minding Your Financial Ps and Qs | Matt Ellis, CFO, Verizon show art 609: Minding Your Financial Ps and Qs | Matt Ellis, CFO, Verizon

CFO Thought Leader

It’s a story that Verizon CFO Matt Ellis seems to enjoy telling and one that he has undoubtedly related more than once before.  One evening while in high school, Ellis was working at the fish counter of a local supermarket when he received some feedback from the store manager. Earlier in the day, the man had asked Ellis to clean a number of shelves beside the counter, but Ellis had soon become busy with fish patrons and hadn’t able to complete the task. More than 30 years later, Ellis easily retrieves the store manager’s words: “I’m not disappointed that you didn’t get it...

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608: Opening the Acquisition Chapter | Jody Cire, CFO, AllCloud show art 608: Opening the Acquisition Chapter | Jody Cire, CFO, AllCloud

CFO Thought Leader

When the Sarbanes–Oxley Act was enacted 18 years ago, it required the Securities and Exchange Commission to create regulations to define how companies should comply with it—a mandate that would end up impacting the careers of finance professionals well into the future. CFO Jody Cire was one such professional. Back in 2010, Cire found himself in Boulder, Colorado, after having been relocated from a role in Germany as KPMG’s lead audit manager for SAP AG. In light of his recent large enterprise experience, KPMG had been eager to assign Cire stateside in order to scratch the Sarbox...

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607: Exercising Discipline to Expose Trend Lines | Angiras Koorapaty, CFO, Reversing Labs show art 607: Exercising Discipline to Expose Trend Lines | Angiras Koorapaty, CFO, Reversing Labs

CFO Thought Leader

When a new CEO is recruited to lead a company, it’s not uncommon for the incumbent CFO to be replaced. However, there are certain network-savvy CFOs who are able to muster enough influence with their boards to easily discourage incoming CEOs from implementing their displacement as part of sweeping the C-suite clean. Angiras Koorapaty was not one of these well-connected CFOs. Or at least he wasn’t about 20 years ago, when he found himself forfeiting a finance leadership position to a newly arrived CEO’s CFO pick. “This was a pivotal moment for me at the time, and it led me to do some...

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606: Leveraging the Value of Culture | Will Costolnick, CFO, Hire Dynamics show art 606: Leveraging the Value of Culture | Will Costolnick, CFO, Hire Dynamics

CFO Thought Leader

Years from now, when Will Costolnick thinks back to the start of his CFO career, he will likely count the 12 months that preceded his appointment as CFO of Hire Dynamics as part of the same chapter, for—not unlike many of his CFO peers—Costolnick first found his footing at his new employer by slipping into a vice president of finance role for a year or two. In Costolnick’s case, the interim role lasted 12 months, or just long enough for Hire Dynamics to reformulate its management ranks and expand its C-suite. Still, Costolnick hit the ground running by using his interim credentials to...

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When Amir Jafari looks back and reflects on his path to the CFO office, he includes two character traits that have arguably long distinguished finance leaders from other functional leaders. 

“We in finance have high levels of accountability and integrity, and these are the things that we’re able to then transpose in terms of what we do and how we are able to lead as CFOs,” explains Jafari, who says that it was his ability to “transpose” these traits during a recent career chapter at ServiceNow that allowed him to ultimately gain the leadership experience required to step into a CFO role at Reputation.com.  

“I landed at ServiceNow as their corporate controller, but the biggest twist in my entire life—and one that I think ultimately helped me to prepare for a CFO role—is that I had a chance to be the general manager of a business unit,” explains Jafari, who notes that his GM tour of duty was rooted in the creation of two applications that ultimately evolved into a business unit.

“Being able to lead a product management team, an engineering team, a design and go-to-market team is very different from my past assignments and has really helped to round out the core elements of what we do in traditional finance,” comments Jafari.

While there’s little doubt that Jafari’s ascent into leadership roles was aided by more than accountability and integrity, he credits his finance career track for helping to preserve and nourish these traits along the way, allowing him to more confidently assume leadership roles when opportunities arrived. –Jack Sweeney