CFO Spotlight: Charles Altshuler, Globe Metals & Mining (ASX:GBE)

It takes a special kind of CFO to admit that aside from handling capital raising and investor relations, that he also takes care of the company Twitter account.

But Perth-based CFO Charles Altshuler openly admits that his new role has required him to look outside of his current skillset when starting in a new role six months ago. “I’ve had to learn quite a few new skills on the fly,” he says.

And there’s no one else in the office he can tap on the shoulder, either. Altshuler works alone. In fact, he’s the sole employee working for Globe Metals and Mining in all of Australia. “The rest of my colleagues are based in South Africa and Malawi, so I’m it here,” he says.

Even though he can live anywhere in the world to handle the CFO role, he’s based in Perth and works alone. When he needs connections, there are plenty just outside his front door given that Perth is the mining capital of Australia.

And while he admits it’s not always been easy given he hasn’t got an army of colleagues around him, he’s highly experienced finance leader, having worked in the finance sector for nearly two decades, and is beginning to make inroads in the local mining sector.

“It’s much easier to visit other people in the mining sector and have those meetings face-to-face in Perth and go back and strategise what’s required when you’re on the ground in the nation’s mining capital. It’s all about building these relationships which are stronger in person than remote,” he says.

Altshuler is responsible for handling everything from capital raising, ASX reporting, everyday accounting transactions to complex company structures, stakeholder engagement and investor relations, which has required him to build new skillsets that go way beyond finance. “I’m handling company relations right through to marketing, and I look after LinkedIn marketing and take care of the Twitter account,” he says.

But the baptism of fire has fit well with his glass-half full approach to accounting. “The best advice I can give other CFOs wearing many hats is to be prepared to learn new things and to step outside of your comfort zone,” he says.

Altshuler works for Globe Metals and Mining, which is an African-focused resources company with a project in Malawi.

In March, Globe announced that it entered into an agreement with the Malawian government for the development of a project that aims to facilitate the introduction of the fourth niobium mine in the world.

It will be the first such mine in production in the last 50 years, and the first of its kind in Africa. “There’s a real buzz in the air at Globe right now,” Altshuler says.

“While the company has been around for years, it’s moving into the new stage of mining , and the challenge has been acceptance as we navigate this new territory,” he says.

Globe, which is an ASX-listed company, may have its operations based in Malawi, but maintains an office in Australia specifically to learn what it can from the local mining investor community about mining projects, with five other ASX mining companies also based in Perth with mines in Malawi.

However, he admits that working remotely has been a huge challenge that has taken some getting used to since he started in the role six months ago.

The Perth mining sector is a close-knit community and attending industry events is all part of the job. “Networking just isn’t something you can do remotely. You don’t realise how important it is to have industry connections until you work remotely, either,” he says.

Altshuler has nearly decades’ experience as a chartered accountant and holds an Australian MBA, along with advanced management qualifications from Stanford University. He’s particularly experienced in capital raises, mergers and acquisitions, post-merger synergies and cost reduction projects.

Prior to starting with Globe, he was the CFO of Bod Australia, the CFO and head of supply at AusCann Group Holdings and the CFO of One Stop Warehouse. He’s also held senior positions in finance and supply at Blackmores and another mining company Anglo American, which is the third largely export metallurgical coal producer operating in open cut and underground mining. “I understand how to raise capital in different markets, and have had plenty of experience in mining, so it’s not new territory for me,” he says. 

He arrived in Australia in 2016 and enrolled in Torrens University to gain his Masters of Business Administration, which opened new doors.

Globe company CEO Grant Hudson is based in Malawi, where he’s focused on government relations, while he focuses on industry connections here in Australia.

He admits that finance was a natural fit from an early age, studying in South Africa to become a Chartered Accountant before gaining work in an audit firm as a trainee accountant.