The CFO 411: Looking for a Leader When Everything Is Upended

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Being a strategic leader in a time of tranquility is tough enough, but whoever assumes the soon-to-be-vacant CFO seat at Intel will have to deal with a workforce deeply shaken by a massive restructuring and widespread layoffs. The status quo was also tested in the larger economy this week, as the emerging markets rally and U.S. stocks began trending toward recent highs. Those unexpected fluctuations signal that a recession—once assumed to be unavoidable—may not loom large after all.

4 need-to-know headlines

1. Amid cuts, Intel CFO assumes operational role

Intel announced that it will lay off 11% of its workforce—nearly 12,000 people—in a strategic effort to focus less on the PC market and more on cloud computing and the Internet of Things. News of the restructuring has left the tech sector reeling. And for finance professionals, another job announcement is raising eyebrows: Stacy Smith, who has been with Intel for nearly three decades and in the role of CFO since 2007, will move over to an operational role, as head of Intel’s sales, manufacturing and operations. That leaves the $55 billion semiconductor company searching for a new CFO. May we suggest finding one well-versed in change management? (via USAToday.com and WSJ.com [log-in required])

2. Stock markets signal sunnier outlook

Attention may be fixed firmly on the global economic slowdown, but the U.S. stock market’s recent rally is a sign that a national recession may be avoided. And it’s not just the U.S. markets that are signaling optimism. Central banks in emerging markets—including Turkey, Hungary, Taiwan, India and Indonesia—have lowered interest rates in the past few months, in an effort to counter soft economic growth. Local stock and bond markets responded with a sharp rally: The MSCI Emerging Markets stock index has surged 6.6% year-to-date over the past two months. (via Nasdaq.com)

3. SEC may revamp financial disclosure rules

Are the rules that govern what financial information corporations must disclose in quarterly and annual reports in need of a rethink? The SEC seems to think so. The commission released a 341-page “concept release” that details the many questions it would have to consider in order update the disclosure rules, many of which haven’t seen a refresh since the 1960s. Chairperson Mary Jo White explained in a statement that the SEC must balance investors, who show an increasingly insatiable appetite for information, with companies, which don’t want to be burdened with unnecessary disclosures. (via WSJ.com [log-in required])

4. The tax haven crackdown heard round the world

Tax evaders may be an increasingly rare breed, thanks to a wave of new policies introduced on the heels of the so-called “Panama Papers” revelation. G-20 officials announced Friday that they intend to penalize tax haven countries that don’t comply with new efforts to increase information-sharing between countries and close loopholes that allow for tax evasion. And U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew released a statement that the U.S. is working on a requirement that banks disclose the beneficial owners of new accounts held by companies. (via Bloomberg.com)

The stat: 55%

The percent of risk management leaders who recorded increased profit margins, compared with only 43% of executives with the weakest risk management capabilities, according to a new PwC global survey. Though volatility and uncertainty both seem to be rising in the marketplace, company systems to manage and mitigate risk don’t appear to be keeping pace. But executives who are best able to align risk management to the business’s strategic goals are driving both growth and profit margins, the survey found. (via Pwc.com)

Sound bite of the week

“We are really focused on building a business that can grow consistently year after year.” —Chad Dickerson, Etsy’s chief executive. The online marketplace, which is also an Adaptive Insights customer, aims for “sustainable growth” rather than sales surges that might be short-lived. This year, the online marketplace celebrated the one-year anniversary of its IPO. (via CFO.com)

 

4 Top Stories + 1 Key Statistic + 1 Industry Quote = The CFO 411
The CFO 411 is our weekly news roundup that brings you top headlines, data points, and sound bites to keep you in the know. Follow our updates on LinkedIn for more finance must-reads.

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