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CFOs becoming preferred choice for CEOs: Survey

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The Economic Times
12th July, 2019 18:13 IST

With CFOs increasingly spending their time in multi-tasking like strategic leadership, policies, stakeholder management, and even on technologies an increasing number of promoters want them to lead their companies as CEOs, finds a survey.

The trend of CFOs being considered for the role of CEOs has seen an upward shift in the country of late, because of thier ability to speak the language of business on one hand and interpret the numbers on the other, says the global advisory and executive search firm Stellar Search.

The report is based on a qualitative survey of both offline and online among CFOs, CEOs and board members of companies across healthcare, life sciences, consumer, realty, education and industrial sectors.

According to the survey as many as 41 percent of CFOs spend more time on priorities such as strategic leadership, performance management, policy regulation, stakeholder management, corporate communications, digital technologies like big data and analytics and not just on finance and as a result an increasing number of promoters want them to lead their companies as CEOs today, says the survey.

The role of the CFO in an organisation has evolved from mere number-crunching to the co-driver of corporate strategy focusing on long-term growth and they are now increasingly acting as partners of the CEOs by supporting them in strategic decision-making along with demonstrating finance leadership, notes the survey.

"In India, promoters are quite comfortable with the idea of the CFO acting as the de-facto CEO. But not so among the MNCs, who still hold onto the conventional paradigms of succession planning," says the report.

However, there are several bottlenecks in the areas of CFOs' skill-sets, experience and culture that remain to be addressed to facilitate this transition, the report notes. Skill-sets such as effective interpersonal skills, lack of broader vision, culture of the organization and limited holistic experience all act as roadblocks in their moving up the ladder, it says.

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