News and insights | Interim CFO in Special Situations

Interim CFO in Special Situations

April 2022

The pressures on a CFO intensify during special situations, whether it is an acquisition or divestment or in times of distress.

Based on our extensive experience working alongside or providing interim C-suite executives, here are five factors to consider, together with the usual skills and experiences expected, when looking to fill an interim CFO role in a special situation.

  • An interim CFO hire is primarily there to fill a gap between long term hires but the situation(s) facing the company still need to be tackled in a timely and competent manner.
  • A candidate must have the skills and experience to deal with stressful and pressured situations, with competing stakeholder demands, to ensure the successful implementation of an acquisition / divestment or the survival of the company as a whole.
  • There is no guarantee that the perfect candidate is available and has all the required skills and experience. It can often become a compromise between competency, cost and availability.
  • Whilst some options might appear more costly in the short term, they could be the difference between success and failure in the medium to long term.
  • An interim CFO is reliant upon the existing finance function which may have limited time, bandwidth and skills to tackle the situation.
  • Some situations may therefore require more than one person, an interim CFO team perhaps, to provide the option to flex resources up and down to deal with situations effectively and efficiently as they evolve.

  • Some situations are more complex than others, either requiring a specific or broad skill set.
  • The interim hire either needs to have the required experience, or access to them. This is more challenging for a single interim CFO hire who would need to rely on their network as opposed to a firm, with an in-house, broad set of competencies in special situations, which could be drawn upon at short notice.

  • The number of stakeholders and frequency of information requests increases significantly during special situations.
  • The pressure on the CFO and the finance function intensifies requiring someone (or a team) with experience to manage, prioritise and decide what (and how) to provide information in a way that instils stakeholder support and confidence, whilst remaining practically deliverable from the business'

As part of our Value Delivery service line, THM Partners assist investors in protecting and unlocking value in special situations, which have included taking interim executive roles (Chairman, CEO, CFO) with remuneration aligned to investor return.

Here are a few of our selected credentials where we provided an interim CFO:

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