On Monday, October 7, 2013, Brady Corporation announced the retirement of Frank M. Jaehnert, who has served as the company’s President and Chief Executive Officer for the last decade. As the search for a new president and CEO begins, CFO Thomas J. Felmer has been named the new interim leader through December 31, 2013. While retaining his chief financial duties, Felmer will also work in executive management as Vice President, helping ensure a smooth transition as the board searches for a new President and CEO.
Felmer’s broad business experience and 25 years with Brady made him the primary candidate to serve as interim leader as new executive management at Brady Corporation. Felmer’s appointment highlights the increased responsibility and trust that CFOs across the nation have been gaining. So aside from preparing for increased responsibility, CFOs should also be ready to serve in an interim should the situation demand it.
Considerations for CFOs Serving in Executive Management
While not every CFO will have the same opportunity as Thomas Felmer to transition a company into new leadership, the reality is that more and more will have to serve in executive management in some capacity. Of course, this can be intimidating, and for good reason! But by understanding how these principles work, you can be sure to take advantage of any executive interim opportunity that arises as a CFO.
- Be an agent for change. Many interim CFOs serving in executive management positions make the mistake of maintaining the status quo or simply filling in the gap. While you don’t necessarily have to implement radical change, be pro-active to help grow the company.
- Be prepared for the unexpected. When serving in an interim position, you must not only allot time for your duties as CFO and as the interim leader, but you should also plan “white space” for the unexpected. You never know how your schedule might change or cave on a whim, so it’s important to be as flexible as possible.
- Be ready to learn. With trends showing that CFOs are the most likely to become the new CEO of a company, this is an incredible opportunity for you to learn and gain experience.
By keeping these considerations in mind, you’ll make the most of any opportunity to serve as an interim in executive management.