Monday, December 01, 2008

They're Having Some Fun Now

It's probably not a surprise economic pressures are weighing on the shoulders of chief financial officers, leading to unusually high turnover - but continued demand. Gordon Grand, head of CFO recruiting at Russell Reynolds Associates, calls CFO "the least secure job in America." Research by another search firm, Crist|Kolder Associates, bears that out: Nearly 20 percent of CFOs at the Fortune 500 and S&P 500 left their jobs in 2007, up from about 14 percent in 2006, says The Wall Street Journal.

Adding to the long-cited reasons for increasing pressures on CFOs – Sarbanes-Oxley and related responsibilities – are new challenges, like handling the credit crisis and a tanking economy.

When they leave, though, CFOs have options. "The surge in CFO turnover puts a premium on finance veterans," the Journal notes.
As demand for CFOs rises, so does pay. The median compensation for finance chiefs in the S&P 500 rose 5.2% to $2.9 million last year, including salary, bonuses, the value of equity grants and other compensation. The increase was bigger than the 1.3% jump in CEO compensation, according to data tracker Equilar Inc., of Redwood Shores, Calif.
That's the good news. On the flip side:
Some experts expect the high turnover to continue amid the slowing economy and depressed stock market. CFOs "will absolutely bear the brunt and, in some cases, take the fall," says George Herrmann of Right Management, a unit of Manpower Inc. "All of that stuff has really made the job, in a nutshell, less fun than it used to be."

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