- CFO of United Kingdom-based chain DFS Furniture Mike Schmidt is poised to take on the financial helm at retailer B&M European Value Retail. He will be taking over from previous CFO Alex Russo, who was appointed as the retailer’s CEO in May and will be moving into the role next year. Schmidt is also expected to begin his tenure as CFO by the beginning of 2023, according to a Tuesday report by U.K. publication the Evening Standard.
- Schmidt will stay on as DFS’s financial head until the end of the year, according to a statement by the company, both to oversee year-end financial processes and to ensure a smooth transition. The furniture retailer will begin the search for his replacement immediately, it said.
- The CFO swap comes as companies globally increasingly grapple with economic and geopolitical uncertainty as top challenges, leading many to rethink their hiring practices and needs when it comes to filling their top financial seat.
An eight-year veteran of the firm, Schmidt has served as CFO for U.K. furniture retailer DFS for three years beginning in July 2019. He also previously served as the company’s Chief Development Officer for a five-year period and has held executive positions at UBS as well as Nomura. Schmidt also previously worked as an analyst for Citigroup, according to his LinkedIn.
His predecessor Russo was appointed as B&M group CFO in October 2020, and also serves as an executive director for the company. He will be transitioning to the retailer’s top executive seat beginning next year, according to a May report by the Evening Standard, replacing current B&M CEO and co-founder Simon Arora. Arora has acted as the firm’s CEO for 17 years, according to his LinkedIn.
As well as taking over as CFO from Russo, Schmidt will also serve in a board position as executive director, a move that comes as top companies globally seek ways to further incentivize CFOs both new and old as competition to fill the position grows increasingly fierce.
U.S. businesses in particular are facing growing competition as they hunt for finance chiefs, with CFO turnover at S&P 500 companies hitting 18% in 2021 compared to the 15% seen in 2020, The Wall Street Journal reported Monday. Elevating CFOs’ responsibilities or adding on additional titles is one way companies seeking to keep hold of talented financial heads can do so, something that could further broaden the CFO-to-CEO pathway that has become a more common career trajectory over the past couple years.
Clinging onto top financial talent or finding new ways to entice new blood is increasingly becoming top-of-mind for businesses, with a June 8 report by executive search firm Russell Reynolds Associates finding 72% of company leaders cited the availability of key talent or skills as one of the top five threats facing their firms over the next 12 to 18 months. Growing economic uncertainty as well as geopolitical instability were the two factors cited most often as the most pressing threats for company leaders, according to the survey.
B&M did not respond to requests for comment.