Revolving Doors – March 2023

In the last month, I have come across a number of reports talking about the volatility of the Australian economy and conflicting signals about its future prospects.

Despite a slight increase in the unemployment rate to 3.7%, the news of Qantas making a $1.42b interim profit with revenue of $9.9b in the half, and CBA’s record half-year profit of $5.2b has brought some positivity to the market.  On the other hand, The Star Entertainment Group’s loss of $1.3b for the half and talk of the mortgage cliff where a looming rise in repayments, due to fixed-rate mortgages ending, has helped dampened market sentiment.

Given the uncertainty caused by these mixed signals, it is hard to predict how the market will perform in the coming months.  Many decision-makers are struggling to make a commitment, using the mixed signals as a reason for inaction.  The common sentiment seems to be “let’s wait and see”.

In saying that February was a busy month for CFO movements with lots of interesting roles changing hands.  Next month may well provide a clearer indication of the direction the year is heading in. The CFO moves I found of most interest are listed below.

CFOs Becoming CEO

•             Leah Weckert’s appointment as CEO of Coles is a great example of successful succession planning.  Leah has been with Coles since 2011 and served as CFO from March 2018 to February 2022.  Leah will join a prestigious cohort of female CEOs in the country, including Shemara Wikramanayake from Macquarie, Meg O’Neill at Woodside, Vicki Brady at Telstra and Julie Coates at CSR.

•             Following the takeover of aerial imaging software company Nearmap by US private equity giant Thomas BravoAndy Watt who is currently Chief Growth and Operations Officer, but had been CFO previously, becomes CEO.  Rob Newman the previous CEO has resigned.

ASX CFO Moves In

•             Endeavour Group (owners of Dan Murphy’s, BWS, Jimmy Brings) have announced Kate Beattie as Chief Financial Officer, as current CFO, Shane Gannon steps back from executive roles.  Kate was deputy CFO at Endeavour following their demerger from Woolworths.

 •            Kate Denton has been confirmed as the CFO of leading voice communications company Symbio – Kate has been with Symbio since 2015 and had been interim CFO since March 2022 when Chris Lost resigned to take a career break, spending time with family in Europe. Chris is now back in Sydney and looking for his next gig.

•             MA Financial have appointed Giles Boddy as their new Chief Financial Officer.  Giles has held a number of CFO roles, most recently as CFO at Aussie Home Loans.  Giles replaces Graham Lello who will remain in the business to allow a transition.

•             One of Australia’s leading health care companies, Healius have announced Paul Anderson as their new CFO.  Paul had a long career with Network Ten, and most recently worked as CEO in a media start-up company.  Healius’ previous CFO, Maxine Jaquet became CEO.

•             Lithium exploration company Xantippe have appointed Kevin Lynn as their new CFO.  Kevin has joined already and replaces Ranko Matic.

 ASX CFO Moves – Out

•             Penny Diamantakiou, the CFO of Nearmap, has also resigned following the takeover by Thomas Bravo mentioned above.

•             IncentiaPay, who manage technology focused loyalty programs, are in the market for a new CFO.  Current CFO, Ben Newling has resigned.  The current CEO – Ani Chakraborty, will assume the interim CFO role.

Interesting Moves outside the ASX

•             Shane O’Neill has recently joined Smartways Logisitics as CFO.  Smartways are a leading B2B healthcare logistics provider.  

•             Innovative pet food company, Real Pet Food Company have appointed Alexis Poole as their next CFO.  Alexis is moving from Reckitt where she spent over 5 years as the Regional CFO.

•             Alexis’ replacement at Reckitt is an internal promotion.  Nathan Petrie will return to Sydney to be Regional CFO.  Nathan is currently working for Reckitt in Singapore.

•             Mark Leigh, current CFO at University of Technology Sydney is moving to a new role.  Mark will move to leading social purpose organisation – Life without Barriers as Executive Director – Commercial, Technology and People.

•             Experienced senior executive Pete Matruglio has started as interim Chief Financial Officer at University of Technology, Sydney.

•             Leading smart metering business, Intellihub Group have appointed Alastair McKeown as its CFO.  Alastair is currently CFO of Energy Australia and will commence at Intellihub later this month.

•             Integrated financial advisory and accounting business Findex have appointed Lianne Bolton as their new CFO.

•             Following Jonny Harrison’s move from Liquor Marketing Group last month, Anil Menon has been appointed the new CFO.  Anil is moving from network and consolidated buying business Leading Edge Group.

•             Charlie Boyes has seen the light and is moving from Victoria to NSW.  Charlie was deputy CFO of Ausnet in Melbourne but moves to NSW to become CFO of Essential Energy, based in Port Macquarie.

•             Richard Pillinger who recently resigned as CFO at listed building energy management company EP&T Global Limited has joined Licella as their new CFO.  Licella have a technology platform that reduces, recycles and recaptures carbon.

•             Hetal Majithia has recently returned from the UK where she was CFO at Mawson Infrastructure Group and has landed a role as Group CFO at Openmarkets Group – a trading and wealth management fintech.

Author – Colin Kerr

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.