Staffing

CFO turnover slows in 2022

Businesses are in search of finance chiefs with deep cash-flow knowledge, a shift in skill-set demand compared to the previous two years.
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· less than 3 min read

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As we stagger toward the end of another year, it’s time to examine the trends of the previous 12 months, namely what really happened with the Don’t Worry Darling cast, which social media site is the best to hand your data over to now, and if CFOs are quitting their jobs en masse.

The jury’s still out on those first two questions, but when it comes to CFOs, many of them seem to be staying put, as there was less turnover for finance chiefs in the Fortune 500 from Q1 until Q3 than there was in 2021, Russell Reynolds, an executive search firm, found.

The search firm projects that while the turnover rate for the first three quarters of 2022 stands at 14% currently, that is bound to rise after Q4 results are crystallized. In 2021, for the same time frame, the number stood slightly higher, at 16%.

And when CFO seats do open up, some in-demand skills have shifted due to what the businesses are facing externally, Linda Barham, a consultant at Russell Reynolds, told CFO Brew. During the height of the pandemic, organizations sought CFOs “who can kind of lead through heavy periods of change. I think as we move into 2023, there’s more of a focus on deep cash-flow analysis,” she said.

In-demand CFOs will be those who can tap into capital markets, how companies can get capital and at what cost (given a high-interest rate environment), as well as those who can position a balance sheet well during a recession, Barham said.

That may present a challenge for the CFOs who are new to the seat—Barham said that 77% of the CFO appointments were first-timers, both for internal promotions as well as external appointments, a higher percentage than in recent years.

A surprising data point that emerged from Russell Reynolds’s research is that of the 48% of the CFOs leaving their roles, but not retiring, 74% of them took a non-finance role within their current organization, meaning that many finance chiefs are moving into CEO roles, president, or division president roles, Barham said.—KT

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