Clients´ views

CFO – Operational Management and Corporate Finance in a Global Context

With comprehensive experience of both operational and financial management in industry, as well as specific expertise in the area of corporate finance, gained during an earlier career in investment banking, I began looking for a new challenge as a CFO. My assignment at that time, as CFO of a business division situated abroad, that I had acquired for a German corporation, was completed and there were no other interesting opportunities for me within the corporate group. As my previous, very internationally oriented, career had taken me to the UK, Germany and the US, I was seeking to continue working in an international environment.

KONITZER & TAFEL gave me excellent advice and support during the whole process, from leaving my previous employer on amicable terms, to starting in my new role. My case was new and special for KONITZER & TAFEL as I was looking both in German speaking countries and the UK. Hence, my project was conducted in close cooperation with Manchester Square Partners, who are engaged in much the same way advising senior executives on changes in their careers.

This new type of international project turned out to be a most rewarding experience for all three involved parties, which could only improve the results for me. The two advisors were always well coordinated and I was able to profit from the different practices and perspectives in the two very different markets.

Even though I am based in London, it was no problem for me work closely and efficiently with my advisor in Germany. We had regular meetings in London or Germany and could also work very effectively using TeamViewer and telephone conferences.

My success was based on having made the right preparations in a systematic way, starting with upgrading my CV for the two target markets and improving my Linkedin profile, to targeting the relevant search firms and making good use of my private network.

Besides these necessary preparations, it was even more important for me to clarify my personal objectives and profile. A detailed 360 degree feedback process employed by the UK advisor helped enormously to obtain an understanding of how friendly disposed third parties would see my strengths and weaknesses.

During the whole process, the support I received in preparing and following-up meetings, including interview training, was very important to me. My advisor also helped me with the 'judgment calls' on whether I should continue to pursue certain offers, or if I should withdraw from a process.

In the end I had two very different options to choose from, where the decision was not at all easy but had to be made quickly over a weekend.  My advisor also helped in this critical and difficult situation.

Every career change is fraught with ups and downs along the way, when seemingly certain opportunities fail to come through and difficult decisions have to be made. My advisor also helped me in such situations with both personal empathy and professional objectivity.

In the end, I am now working as CFO of a very international company owned by a top tier European private equity investor, where a stock market flotation as exit strategy is pending, and where I can add significant value with my particular experience of such transactions and associated transformation within the company.