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The career of the predestined to the CEO

The chief financial officer or the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is perceived to be in the group hierarchy, as a number two next to the boss, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO). The CFO is his right-Hand man, first mate and Co-Pilot. It seemed of little surprise, as in December 2018, Andreas Müller, currently chief financial officer of the industrial group Georg Fischer, the CEO and successor of Yves Serra was appointed. But such a case is rather rare.

In large Swiss companies, such as those summarized in the Swiss Leader Index (SLI), former Finance chiefs who have made it to the boss's chair, the big exception. Just Nestlé-Chef Mark Schneider, Tidjane Thiam, Credit Suisse and David Arnott from the software vendor Temenos has shifted from a CFO Position into the CEO Job. Schneider and Thiam at their previous employers, Fresenius, or Prudential.

career stations, the CEO of the SLI

table to enlarge

The majority of the President of the group, arm held in front of the Top-Job of a function as a division or a divisional Manager, regions or countries - in - chief. Also striking: At the top of the thirty most important public companies is not a single woman. You are missing quite surprised little. The former financial heads are so scarce, however. "It's about the implementation of a growth strategy, the CFO at a disadvantage, because he has no direct access to market and customer relationships," says Rafael Paravicini, a Partner at personnel consultants Heidrick & Struggles.

the corporate structure Also plays a role. It is a portfolio company that is made up of individual units – such as Georg Fischer, steered the group from a small company Headquarters. The Operating is carried out in the divisions. "Here is a former CFO who has the financial overview of ideal, as the boss of the group particularly well," says Guido Schilling, boss of the eponymous recruitment specialists. In an integrated group, a "strategic designers from the line" with market - and profit responsibility have an advantage, he notes.

in addition to their distance from markets CFO candidates also have other disadvantages. "The chief financial officer is in addition to the long-term planning, day-to-day business in a short-term quarters oriented environment. He is also tied to more General and has fewer opportunities to be creative," Zehnder says Clemens Hoegl, a Partner at Egon. "From a CFO, you don't expect too much optimism. He has less ways to define visions or commercial objectives."

There are, however, situations, the Finance chiefs play in the hands of: "Is the company in a Turnaround, the CFO is in a strong position to take the helm," says Rafael Paravicini. This constellation was given in the case of the private Bank EFG, as Giorgio Pradelli was 2018 CEO.

Former CFO at the helm

image to enlarge

There are exceptions. With Marco Gadola at Straumann, and Dieter Weisskopf at Lindt & Sprüngli, two former CFO were appointed in high-growth, successful businesses to the group's boss. Nevertheless, the following applies: the CFO, in six out of ten cases, a candidate that comes from the companies themselves, and well versed.

promotions to the position of CEO

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Even rarer, as the former CFO of women are to be found in the Topjob. That they do not occur in the SLI, as CEO, is no coincidence: The women are missing also in the business lines. And their share is not larger, but smaller.

According to Schilling's Report, were called in 2018, with a share of 8 percent, significantly less women than in the previous year (21 per cent). The proportion of women in the Executive boards of the hundred largest Swiss companies dropped from 8 to 7 per cent. Nearly 60 percent have no women on the Board. "The Pool of qualified managers is much to small to be able to vacant Jobs a priority to GL - or CEO-level women occupy," says shilling, you have to fight for every profile. His biggest concern in addition to school, Day-care facilities and child care the social climate in Switzerland is: "women, for a Topjob in the economy, will not be applauded, rather the opposite," says the HR professional. Interventions he sees but skeptical: "the CEO or GL-to want to Post with women occupy, would be pure political Zwängerei."

percentage of women in the group hierarchy

image to enlarge

in Spite of everything, the long-term prospects for women, as CFO, to be more for the Topjob taken into account, are not bad. The women are, however, still need a lot of patience. "You are on the Come up, showing the statistics. However, it could take fifteen to eighteen years for their presence at the top level, to substantially and sustainably perceptible," says shilling.

Also, the Finance managers may hope. Thanks to the progressive digitalization of our financial processes will be used to expand the scope of duties of the CFO, says Rafael Paravicini. The head of Finance will always be more for all value-enhancing measures in companies. In the last few years, CFO, were made often also for Central functions such as IT, legal services, or staff responsible. "Finance Directors will be sought for the CEO Job," predicts Clemens Hoegl. The CFO would develop more and more to strategic partners of the group leaders. And to be a real Co-pilot for the CEO.

(financial and economic)

Created: 31.01.2019, 19:38 PM

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