An American specialized Healthcare & Life Sciences Private Equity Firm wanted to invest significantly into a fast-growing Dutch Life Sciences company with operations in Europe and North America. A key condition for the Private Equity firm was to add a strong CFO to the existing Management Team. The CEO of the company had built the company from scratch and together with his Finance Manager and small Finance team he managed to handle all financial / tax matters so far. Why adding a CFO was his comment, all is going well so far, we never had any issues?
This CEO initially didn’t see the added value of bringing a CFO on board. He also never have had the experience working with Private Equity investors and more specifically with American investors which brings in as well another cultural dynamic than working with people from your own country / culture. This Dutch CEO was used to run the business all by himself with his team and he did that so far very well!
We came in through a warm recommendation of a UK M&A Due Diligence Partner, but that didn’t mean at all we already won the search assignment. Actually the CEO said, as he wasn’t convinced adding a CFO to the company, that it was in our disadvantage that we came in through the network of the PE firm. After a long call with the CEO, in which we discussed the impact of bringing in American Private Equity and the impact this could have for leading and managing the company moving forward, as the subsequent face to face meetings with the CEO and the Board Members, we won the trust of the CEO to lead and deliver the search.
The search process went smooth and structured as upfront agreed meeting all the deliverables and milestones. Within 6 weeks we presented 3 strong qualified candidates to the CEO and the Board. Based upon the received CV’s they immediately liked the CV of the candidate with CPA background, Big 4 and relevant sector experience gained with an American Healthcare company and with a Dutch Life Sciences company as Global Finance Manager combined with the fact this candidate lived only 5 km from their office.
As always, we recommended our clients to always interview the person and not the CV. Making assumptions up front is dangerous and can lead to interview bias. People can match on paper, are hired for their skills and sector / functional experience, but it’s the values, the personality, motivation, mindset of a person that determines fit and stick. After the multiple interview rounds, the psychological assessment of RIVIONT, the personality, competencies, motivation and presentation of a very talented RC candidate with senior N-1 management experience as holding controller at a large Dutch bank combined with his experience internationally managing as Group Controller portfolio companies of a PE firm made in the end the difference. This candidate was offered and accepted the CFO position.