- Almost 44% of CFOs at Fortune 500 and S&P 500 companies have been outside hires this year, according to data from executive search firm Crist|Kolder Associates, as reported by The Wall Street Journal. That's up from less than 34% over the previous 10 years.
- Companies are increasingly looking for the kind of skills and strategic background CFOs acquire from other firms and industries, Peter Crist, chairman of the search firm, told the Journal.
- Among recent outside hires among big companies are Brian Newman, just named CFO of United Parcel Service (UPS) after working as finance chief for the Latin American operations of PepsiCo, Tim Stone, new CFO at Ford who previously served as finance chief of Amazon Web Services, and George Davis, new CFO at Intel who came from Qualcomm.
The fresh perspective of outside candidates helps companies move on from entrenched practices because employees are less likely to resist a new CFO that comes in to institute sweeping changes.
UPS, which recently appointed Newman to the CFO position after he left PepsiCo, prompted Amit Mehrotra, a lead analyst at Deutsche Bank USA, to note, "It helps to have new thinking to change the direction of the ship more dramatically."
For a company such as Ford, which is moving heavily into technology, the experience Stone brings from his days at Amazon is significant. Rich Kolpasky, an executive recruiter at Stanton Chase, said by choosing Stone, Ford demonstrated it's looking for the kind of perspective a tech vet can be expected to provide, according to the Journal.
"At Amazon, Tim saw the business model change in a way that most companies have never seen,” Kolpasky said.