937 episodes

CFO THOUGHT LEADER is a podcast featuring firsthand accounts of finance leaders who are driving change within their organizations.
We share the career journey of our spotlighted CFO guest: What do they struggle with? How do they persevere? What makes them successful CFOs? CFO THOUGHT LEADER is all about inspiring finance professionals to take a leadership leap. We know that by hearing about the successes — (and yes, also the failures) — of others, today’s CFOs can more confidently chart their own leadership paths across the enterprise and take inspired action.

CFO THOUGHT LEADER CFO THOUGHT LEADER

    • Business
    • 4.5 • 115 Ratings

CFO THOUGHT LEADER is a podcast featuring firsthand accounts of finance leaders who are driving change within their organizations.
We share the career journey of our spotlighted CFO guest: What do they struggle with? How do they persevere? What makes them successful CFOs? CFO THOUGHT LEADER is all about inspiring finance professionals to take a leadership leap. We know that by hearing about the successes — (and yes, also the failures) — of others, today’s CFOs can more confidently chart their own leadership paths across the enterprise and take inspired action.

    1,001: Building Teams and Breaking Boundaries | Julien Lafouge, CFO, Spendesk

    1,001: Building Teams and Breaking Boundaries | Julien Lafouge, CFO, Spendesk

    Angola might not top the list of destinations to which executives typically flock to build their careers, but for Julien Lafouge, it was the starting point of an extended journey. Back in 2001, Lafouge stepped into a pivotal finance leadership role with Technip, a technology provider to the energy industry. The unconventional geography forced him to develop a keen sense of resilience and adaptability, traits that would become cornerstones of his career.
    Lafouge's journey from the complexities of a country marked by political instabilities to his current role as CFO at Spendesk is a testament to his knack for building teams and uprooting borders. At Spendesk, he faced the task of restructuring the finance organization to support rapid growth. Drawing on his experience, he emphasized simplification and efficiency, and championed ROI through automation and streamlined processes. The approach, Lafouge tells us, reduced the need for additional accountants by 40%, validating the power of efficient teams.
    One of Lafouge’s standout moments came during the COVID-19 pandemic, when he was the CFO of ride-sharing company BlaBlaCar. With global uncertainties looming, he built a resilient financial model that ensured the company's survival. His ability to rally his team and navigate through the crisis was perhaps his career's greatest leadership test. 
    Investing in talent development has always been a key part of Lafouge’s philosophy. He believes in transforming "rough diamonds" into top performers through training and mentorship. This approach not only strengthens the team but also fosters a culture of continuous improvement and resilience.
    Lafouge’s journey has been marked by the pursuit of new experience, whether it’s through leveraging AI for operational improvements or raising customer service standards. His career has centered on building teams and breaking boundaries, as he has continually pushed the envelope to drive financial efficiencies.

    • 1 hr 6 min
    ON LOCATION: Among the Planning Masses at Perform24

    ON LOCATION: Among the Planning Masses at Perform24

    • 36 min
    1000: When Culture Informs Strategy | Tucker Marshall, CFO, J.M. Smucker & Co.

    1000: When Culture Informs Strategy | Tucker Marshall, CFO, J.M. Smucker & Co.

    At just 16, Tucker Marshall unsuccessfully sought a humble beginning at The J. M. Smucker Company—not in the back office but on its lush grounds, hoping to cut grass. Such an early rejection—due to a company policy favoring employees’ families first—did little to deter him. Instead, it left with him an indelible admiration for the company’s culture and its loyalty to its extended family.
    Marshall’s career trajectory—although certainly not linear—has been a master class in preparation and perseverance. Redirecting from his initial pursuit of a career in medicine after having fallen in love with economics, he embarked on a formidable journey down the corridors of finance. Starting in Chicago, he cut his teeth on investment banking and credit analysis at ABN AMRO, now part of Bank of America. This formative period honed his financial acumen, which led him to delve deeper into the intricacies of corporate finance and investment.
    Transitioning into private equity further expanded his horizons, immersing him in the operational dynamics of various industries from steel to automotive. Each role was a building block, enriching his understanding and skill set and preparing him for the strategic financial leadership that would define his later career.
    In 2012, coming full circle, Marshall finally joined Smucker’s, a company that had long stood as a beacon in his community. Rising through the ranks, he became CFO in 2020, at a time when strategic financial leadership had become more crucial than ever. Under his stewardship, Smucker’s finance function evolved beyond traditional roles, emphasizing strategic partnerships across the company, fostering growth, and enhancing shareholder value—principles far from the mind of a young man in the same place who once dreamed of simple summer days spent mowing luscious lawns.

    • 47 min
    999: A Bias For Action | Jason Godley, CFO, Xactly

    999: A Bias For Action | Jason Godley, CFO, Xactly

    On a remote Wyoming cattle ranch, young Jason Godley faced a dire situation: the baler attached to his tractor suddenly caught fire. Alone, with no immediate help and devoid of modern conveniences like cell phones, 12-year-old Jason had to think quickly and act decisively. His decision to drive to a neighbor’s house to use their hose not only extinguished the fire but also preserved the surrounding fields. This incident on the ranch, Godley tells us, instilled a lifelong “bias for action” and an ability for “independent thinking,” themes that would profoundly shape his professional ethos and success.
    Jason’s journey from the plains of Wyoming to the corporate boardrooms of global finance began at PricewaterhouseCoopers, where he dealt with complex international finance and technical accounting in Denver and Paris. The skills cultivated during his youth—swift decision-making and self-reliance—proved invaluable as he navigated diverse business environments and cultures.
    These traits became even more crucial as Jason ascended to the role of CFO at Xactly. Here, his bias for action and independent thinking enabled him to drive strategic initiatives, particularly in improving sales and marketing efficiency. By dissecting and refining operational levers, Jason applied his ranch-learned pragmatism to enhance corporate performance and alignment, demonstrating how foundational experiences can echo through a career, influencing leadership style and business outcomes.

    • 51 min
    998: Margins, Metrics, and Payments | Lawrence Herman, CFO, Dwolla

    998: Margins, Metrics, and Payments | Lawrence Herman, CFO, Dwolla

    Lawrence Herman’s path to becoming a CFO unfolded through a series of experiences that changed his understanding of the finance world, beginning with his initial role at Goldman Sachs. Here, in the crucible of intense market dynamics, Herman cut his teeth on complex financial models, where the rigor of long hours refined his capacity to handle pressure and complexity—a foundational skill for any leader.
    Following his stint at Goldman Sachs, Herman transitioned to Prudential Securities, diving into the intricate world of mergers and acquisitions. This move wasn’t just a change of address: It was a strategic step into a role that demanded a deep understanding of corporate strategies and the foresight to see beyond numbers. It was here that Herman began to interact closely with C-suite executives, gaining insights into decision-making at the highest levels and learning the art of negotiation and strategic thinking.
    Herman’s career trajectory continued through various financial institutions, including EY and Morgan Stanley, each role offering him new lenses through which to view the business world. His expertise deepened in areas such as consulting and transaction advisory, where he navigated diverse challenges and crafted solutions that drove business growth and efficiency.
    As the CFO at Dwolla, Herman leverages his vast experience to guide the company through the evolving landscape of digital payments. His strategic focus on optimizing operations and integrating innovative technologies like AI reflects a commitment not just to manage finances but also to anticipate and shape future financial landscapes.
    Each career phase has taught Herman valuable lessons in resilience, adaptability, and foresight—qualities that define his role as a CFO today. 

    • 35 min
    997: From Reaction to Action: Capturing Insight for Growth | Daniel Bisgeier, CFO, Constellation

    997: From Reaction to Action: Capturing Insight for Growth | Daniel Bisgeier, CFO, Constellation

    When faced with unprecedented challenges, the true mettle of a leader is tested. Daniel Bisgeier, a seasoned CFO, exemplifies how continuous improvement and strategic decisiveness pave the way for corporate resilience and growth. Reflecting on his career, Bisgeier notes that significant progress often doesn't come in bursts but through "persistent effort over time and constant refinement."
    A poignant illustration of Bisgeier's strategic agility occurred during his tenure at MediaMath, amid the tumultuous onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. The crisis had abruptly shifted the demand environment, straining the company's working capital due to misaligned payment arrangements. Recognizing the urgent need for liquidity, Bisgeier spearheaded a proactive initiative to renegotiate payment terms with vendors and clients alike. This strategic move was not just about navigating a crisis but transforming it into an opportunity for more sustainable operations.
    "We had to make sure we had backup plans," Bisgeier recalls, underscoring the necessity of adaptability in financial strategy. By directly addressing the liquidity constraints with calculated adjustments, his team not only navigated the immediate financial tumult but also positioned the company for stronger financial health post-crisis.
    This career chapter speaks to Bisgeier's philosophy that impactful leadership in finance goes beyond maintaining the status quo—it involves anticipating changes, embracing challenges, and crafting solutions that ensure long-term sustainability. From his days as an analyst at Goldman Sachs to his current role at Constellation, Bisgeier tells us his career journey reveals a commitment to readiness where as a leader he IS ready to act when it counts the most.

    • 48 min

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5
115 Ratings

115 Ratings

Santos-L-Halper ,

Relatable and applicable

This podcast truly marries useful finance tips and insights with human stories about finance professionals. It’s such a great mix of information any company can apply today and the characters and personal stories behind that info. The combination makes each episode memorable and valuable.

JJBird! ,

Good information, obnoxious host

It’s hard to listen to the host, especially the advertisements. His tone is incredibly obnoxious that I cringe at times. Still good material to listen to if you’re in accounting or finance.

321 Capt ,

Super informative and thought provoking

I have an MBA and I really enjoy this show. Jack asks probing questions that get into the mind of his guest. I feel like I’m a fly on the wall listening to a couple of intelligent movers and shakers sharing their most important business secrets. This show is a must-listen for anyone who aspires to be a leader in the business world.

Top Podcasts In Business

Money Rehab with Nicole Lapin
Money News Network
The Ramsey Show
Ramsey Network
REAL AF with Andy Frisella
Andy Frisella #100to0
Planet Money
NPR
Habits and Hustle
Jen Cohen and Habit Nest
The Prof G Pod with Scott Galloway
Vox Media Podcast Network

You Might Also Like

CFO Weekly
Personiv
Accounting Best Practices with Steve Bragg
Steve Bragg
Inside the Strategy Room
McKinsey & Company
The McKinsey Podcast
McKinsey & Company
Masters of Scale
WaitWhat
HBR On Strategy
Harvard Business Review

More by Middle Market Executive