CFO of the Year Awards 2015
Nearly 500 people packed the Camelback Inn Thursday as the Arizona Chapter of Financial Executives International (FEI) presented the 2015 CFO of the Year Awards.
The CFO of the Year Awards are given to professionals for outstanding performance in their roles as corporate financial stewards and highlights the important roles that financial executives play within Arizona.
Four CFO of the Year Awards were presented.
NONPROFIT COMPANIES: Katherine Mills, senior vice president and CFO, Donor Network of Arizona.
Mills entered the donation community in 1992 with several years of healthcare experience as controller of a large hospital system, a business/accounting degree from ASU and a CPA license. She is responsible for finance, HR and IT. She was charged with transitioning an unprofitable hospital-based department into an independent 501(c)(3) corporation.
Mills played a major role in creating and implementing a successful business model for the financially struggling organ and tissue bank, start-up of a major eye bank and the acquisition and integration of an existing histocompatibility laboratory, which provides testing for organ recipients. Under Mills’ financial leadership in the last year, DNA has reduced costs pertaining to donor hospital charges by 13 percent; ensured a positive operating margin variance that was double the budget ($2.6 million); and increased cash, investments and net assets to $5 million.
PUBLIC COMPANIES: Larry W. Seay, executive vice president and CFO, Meritage Homes.
Seay is a trusted confidant and sounding board for the CEO and other executives. In addition to traditional duties managing accounting and finance, Seay also oversees the company’s IT operations.
Seay’s IT team is working on two projects that will improve efficiency and customer service. The first is an in-house document retention system which will be an accessible company-wide repository for nearly all company documents. The second is an external interface which allows buyers to have an open “portal” to the sales and construction team during the sales, build and closing process.
“The most rewarding aspect of my job is being a part of a senior management team where I am able to contribute sound financial and business advice which helps shape the overall direction and future of the company,” Seay says. “Being on the senior manager team provides me with the avenue to be part of a winning team and company.”
MEDIUM PRIVATE COMPANY: Chris Palmer, CFO, Televerde.
Palmer provides key leadership by setting, communicating and acting on the company’s strategic direction, including product planning and development, business development strategy and leadership for the financial operations. He also directs corporate strategic partnerships, including potential mergers, acquisitions and strategic equity investments.
Palmer’s disciplined financial management process has enabled the the company to expand gross margins from 65 percent to more than 70 percent, adding more than $1.5 million cash flow per year to the business.
“Today’s CFO goes way beyond financials,” Palmer says. “We combine disciplined, will not fail mentality with a unique blend of financial, business, and strategic aptitude; using those skills to diagnose problems, find solutions, and align people to drive positive change and achieve results is the most gratifying aspect of the job.”
LARGE PRIVATE COMPANY: Bryce Hancock, CFO, BeyondTrust.
Hancock has more than 17 years of executive operational experience to his position. Hancock carries global responsibility for the management of company finances, accounting, tax, human resources, legal and risk management, IT and strategic planning and analysis.
Hancock built a successful financial model for BeyondTrust and today, it is experiencing 41 percent profit margins. Hancock helped BeyondTrust reache a deal to be acquired by an affiliate of a private equity firm in late 2014. The deal delivered a gross return on investment for the previous majority owner of more than 500 percent, with approximately 60 percent of that return being generated after Hancock became CFO in 2012.
“The most rewarding aspect is having a meaningful daily impact on the tactical and strategic direction of the company,” Hancock says. “We use data and experience to plan and measure outcomes and there is genuine satisfaction that comes from being an integral part of the business direction.”