Revolving Doors November 2021

By Colin Kerr

There have been some interesting discussions around getting back to the office and vaccination status. I know a few large employers have mandated staff to be vaccinated to return to the office. It will be interesting to see how it plays out when employers start to “suggest” everyone comes back to the office. Some employers are suggesting there will not be an available role if you are not vaccinated.   

For example, I was working on a role where an offer was withdrawn when the candidate mentioned they were unvaccinated. The client was keen to get their team back to the office and working face to face – the office policy would not allow unvaccinated people in the office; therefore, the offer was withdrawn.

When advertising roles on Seek, candidates can now be asked to declare their vaccination status – if you are unvaccinated, your application may not proceed. I think there will be a lot of debate over this issue in the coming months.  

There was a reasonable level of activity across all states in CFO land, NSW leading the way as usual. The move that interested me the most this month was Alison Harrop’s move into the CFO role at Stockland. I think this move refocuses attention back to the gender balance of the CFO role in ASX companies.   

Interestingly Alison’s appointment brings the percentage of female CFOs of ASX 50 companies to 36%. When I looked at this a few years ago, the rate was only 20%. The numbers in the broader ASX index are not so good; 25% of ASX 100 companies have a female CFO; in ASX 200 companies, this drops to 16%.   

New female CFOs appointed to ASX 50 companies this year include Joy Linton at CSL, Michelle Jablko at Transurban, Kate Koch at Seek, Keir Barnes at Dexus (replacing Alison), and Courtenay Smith at Mirvac.  

Still, there is plenty of room for improvement to help boost this gender balance, but great to see impressive female CFO role models in Australia’s most prominent companies.

CFO Appointments – Listed

•             As mentioned earlier (but worth repeating), Alison Harrop will be the new CFO at Stockland.  Alison will start in January 2022 and is replacing Tiernan O’Rourke who moves to Worley.

•             Chad Barton has been appointed to the permanent CFO role at Nuix after being the interim CFO following Stephen Doyle’s sudden departure in June.

•             Newly listed Gold 50 has appointed Sharmila Watson as their new CFO.  It would be great to get Gold 50 into the ASX200 to help the gender balance numbers.

•             Following the announcement last month that CFO Alan Tilley had moved on from Quickstep, they have announced his replacement as Stephen Gaffney.  Stephen is relocating from Brisbane.

•             Armour steel plate manufacturer, Bisalloy, has a new CFO starting next month. Carl Bowdler joins Bisalloy as CFO in November.  Carl most recently was COO of Ricoh Australia.

•             Environmental technology company, Envirosuite is in the market for a new CFO following Matthew Patterson’s resignation.  Envirosuite’s current Head of Finance Michael Hamilton moves into the interim CFO role.

Other CFO Appointments

•             SAP continues its trend of promotions from within with the promotion of ANZ CFO Gina McNamara into the Regional CFO position.  Xuehui Chiu will return to Sydney and take over Gina’s ANZ CFO role.

•             Dan Shakenovsky moves from leading accounting software business, Xero, where he was FD Asia Pacific, to leading retail delivery software business Shippit, as their new CFO.

•             Well known Sydney based CFO Chris Baveystock, will become a Melbourne based CFO following his move from tech2 to Energy Power Systems.

•             Simon Spicer picked a good time to join The Children’s Cancer Institute as CFO.  Next month is a big month for CCI with one of their signature events taking place – CEO Dare to Cure.  Ask all your CEO’s to get involved. Find out more at: CEO Dare to Cure | Children’s Cancer Institute (ccia.org.au).

•             Jonathan Harrison sticks with a sector he loves as he becomes CFO for Liquor Marketing Group.  Jonathan has previously worked for Lion in a number of senior finance roles. Previous CFO (now CEO) Gavin Saunders had effectively been doing both roles over the last few years.

•             Recently acquired by Anchorage and newly named, RailFirst Asset Management (formerly CFCL) have appointed Neil Favager as their new CFO.

•             After over 14 years with Video game producer, Activision, Phil Winfry is taking a well earned break and is being replaced in the Finance Director role by Alexis Woodward.  Alexis is relocating from Toronto where she was working for Campbell.

•             Paul Barnicoat started a new CFO role last week.  Paul is the new CFO of Coal Services – an industry owned organisation focused on health and safety in the coal mining sector.   

•             Australia is getting a new low-cost airline and CFO Lidia Valenzuela will help new venture Bonza take us to new places.

•             Following Accent Group’s purchase of Glue Stores earlier this year, Alex Kathestides the CFO of Glue Stores has moved on and has taken a new role as CFO at Motor Traders Association of NSW.

Companies in the market for permanent CFOs

 As far as I am aware the companies listed in last month’s update have not finalised their permanent CFOs.  If you are aware of any of these roles being filled, please let me know. These include:

•             FINSIA

•             NearMap

•             City Chic

•             TPG Telecom

•             UNSW

•             Transgrid – Not likely to be filled until 2022 as the CEO role is also vacant.

•             Class – There is a takeover in place with HUB24 making a bid so this role will probably stay vacant.


Colin Kerr is a Principal Consultant – Contracting | [axr] Recruitment & Search – a specialist in executive search, selection and contract recruitment. He has joined to build up their interim / contracting business and focus on interim CFO roles and their direct reports. If you know of any recent CFO ‘movers and shakers’ or need any assistance in this area, please get in touch [email protected]

After graduating with a first-class honours degree in Accountancy from the University of Stirling, Colin began his career with PwC in their audit team in London and became a qualified Chartered Accountant. After a secondment to PwC Jakarta for three years, Colin moved to Sydney in 1997 and began his recruitment career with a leading international recruitment firm.

With over 24 years’ experience, Colin is a specialist interim and contracting recruiter within Accounting and Finance. If the role requires a qualified accountant – that is Colin’s area of expertise. He focuses on the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) role and the direct reports (Financial Controller, Finance Manager, Management Accountant, Financial Planning & Analysis), as well as any other finance roles that sit in a corporate head office – tax, internal audit and treasury.