Revolving Doors > June 2023

Having experienced a significant decline in activity last month, I am pleased to report a substantial rebound in CFO activity for this month. May 2023 has seen the highest level of activity so far this year. In fact May 2023 stands as the second highest level of CFO monthly activity observed over the past three years.

Looking at the year-to-date figures, there has been a 12% increase in CFO movements compared to the same period in 2022.

I think there is still some mixed messages in the economy. Unemployment levels have seen a slight increase, reaching 3.7% while the looming threat of another interest rate rise has continued to generate a level of uncertainly in the market. Whilst headline inflation has climbed this month to 6.8%, the ABS underlying inflation (which excludes volatile areas) has fallen to 6.3%.

One crucial factor to monitor is wage increases, which are often regarded as a key indicator of future developments. Although there has been talk of a wage price spiral, the data has yet to reflect such a phenomenon. As always, the situation calls for a wait-and-see approach, there is no crystal ball to predict the future with certainty.

During May 2023 I found the following CFO moves of most interest:

ASX CFO Moves In

•             Software business Bravura Solutions has appointed Neil Montford as their new CFO. For the past 11 years Neil was in senior finance roles for Fidelity International.

•             Global market leader in data for the AI sector Appen, have appointed Helen Johnson as their new CFO. Helen replaces Kevin Levine, who has been CFO for over 7 years. Helen will be based in Appen’s offices in North America.

ASX CFO Moves – Out

•             Insurance Group Australia (IAG) have announced its CFO, Michelle McPherson will retire at the end of the year. A search is underway to find her replacement.

 •            Healthcare technology business Nanosonics are in the market for a new CFO following the resignation of longstanding CFO McGregor Grant. McGregor has been in the role for 12 years.

•             Also in the Healthcare Technology sector Elizabeth Harvey, CFO of Cleanspace Respirators has resigned. Elizabeth has been with the business for over 5 years – through the listing of the business.

•             As AMP continues to simplify and streamline its business, Peter Fredricson has made the decision to retire as CFO. AMP will consolidate a couple of roles and have announced Blair Vernon as the new CFO (he also holds the role of Group Executive Transformation).

•             Karl Pechmann, the CFO of Medical Devices business OncoSil, has resigned. Karl has a new role at another ASX business. Karl’s role will not be replaced internally – the CFO role and Company Secretary role will be outsourced.

•             SaS business Bridge Ltd have announced that their CFO, Daniel Wan has resigned. The business is now in the market for a new CFO and a new CEO.

CFO’s moving in to CEO Roles

•             The biggest news in the market this month is the move at Qantas, with current CFO Vanessa Hudson being appointed to replace Alan Joyce as CEO. Vanessa will become CEO in November – I am yet to hear who will take the CFO role at Qantas.

•             Power generation and energy storage company Genex Power have appointed current CFO Craig Francis as the company’s new CEO. A search is underway for a new CFO.

Interesting Moves outside the ASX

•             John “Harry” Butler has returned to Security business Certis Australia as interim CFO. Harry had been CFO back in 2021. Harry replaces Renee Duffy who has resigned from the business.

•             In February I mentioned Mark Leigh had left UTS and Peter Matruglio had been appointed interim. I can now announce that Belinda Johnson is the new CFO at UTS. Belinda is joining from St Vincent’s Health Australia where she was Deputy CFO.

•             Following a six month break travelling overseas, Chris Last has landed a new role back in Australia. Chris is the new GM Corporate Services / CFO at Relationships Australia.

•             After over 14 years with ASX listed Integrated Research, Peter Adams has changed sectors and is off to West HQ as their new CFO. West HQ is a large entertainment venue based in Western Sydney.

•             Hearing device business Demant have a new Head of Finance for their ANZ business. Lawrence Collins has been promoted internally into the role. Lawrence has risen rapidly after moving to Australia in 2019.

•             After over 13 years with Frucor as Finance Director, Stephen Hill has landed a new role with supply chain experts Martin Brower. Stephen has joined Martin Brower as their new Finance Director for ANZ.

•             Alan “Larry” Fonseca has a new role. Alan has joined building materials business Civilmart as their new CFO. Alan had been CFO and Director of Operations at Facilities First before it was purchased by Serco.

•             Amongst many changes we are seeing at Lion is the appointment of Triston King as interim CFO. Triston is moving internally; he has been with Lion for over 13 years. Tristan is replacing Stephanie Nixon.

•             Southern Cross Care (Home Care, Retirement Living and Residential Aged Care specialist) are in the market for a new CFO following Simon Officer’s decision to resign.

•             Furniture group King Living have a new CFO. Chris Hoskins joins as CFO of the group and is coming from vitamins manufacturer Nature’s Care.

•             James Nicholias has been appointed CFO of Aidacare. He was previously CFO at Bingo Industries and Scott’s Refrigerated Logistics.

•             Experienced CFO Steve McDonald has landed a new role. After 5 years with JPL Group (Prouds / Goldmark), Steve joins Alquemie Group as their Group CFO. Alquemie are a retail and consumer investment platform – currently supporting Lego, Pumpkin Patch and others.

•             The Fred Hollows Foundation are advertising for a new Finance Director. Graham Putt the current Finance Director is moving internally.

About the author – Colin Kerr, AXR  

With over 25 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.