Case Study: CFO Appointment
Our client was a global financial services organisation with a reputation for excellence in corporate governance, prudent and consistent executive leadership, and an enviable brand position and global footprint.
Consistent with the wider banking sector however, it faced a number of strategic and operational challenges as a result of the international crisis following the credit crunch. In particular, its North America operations were suffering as a result of an unparalleled level of credit defaults, exacerbated by a risk model which appeared inadequate against a backdrop of rapidly deteriorating economic data. The North America leadership team at that time was ill prepared, resulting in the departure of the regional Chief Executive - who was replaced by a seasoned operator from elsewhere in the Group - and also the Chief Financial Officer who needed to be replaced with an external option.
A local search firm in the US was initially mandated to identify a CFO successor: however, after six months without achieving any tangible results, MWM was asked to conduct a global search to take in the major international centres as well as those in North America. The criteria were demanding: in addition to a world class finance pedigree gained with a leading financial services organisation, the brief required this individual to stand shoulder to shoulder with the newly appointed Chief Executive in order to reassure investor confidence at a time of extreme external scrutiny; this individual was required to provide rapid solutions without the luxury of a standard honeymoon period; have a clear insight and view on the shifting global capital markets landscape; and a strong empathy with the international dimensions of the wider Group which were characterised by a genuine level of scale and complexity.
As well as the US, the search produced candidates drawn from the UK, Continental Europe and Asia. Interviews took place in a number of the key centres globally in order to drive the process forward swiftly and retain the highest degree of consistency. Somewhat remarkably, the successful candidate was located just a few miles down the road from the North American headquarters of the client organisation!
The whole process took two months in total between the initiation of the mandate and the preferred candidate resigning from his previous position.