Financial Times

CIMA CFO Forum for CFOs to become CEOs

Chief Financial Officers (CFO) have the makings to become great CEOs, according to Arun Anand the CEO of TGI Infrastructure Ltd of New Delhi.

“Today you can’t be a CFO by just being good at numbers. Today CFOs have to develop many other areas and a CFO is very close to being a CEO. In fact today, there are many CFOs that have become CEOs of companies and this trend is growing,” he said, speaking at the CIMA CFO Forum on Tuesday.

CFOs were advised to come out of the comfort zone, work with the marketing and sales teams and focus on building relationships. The new style of leadership, said Mr Anand, is based on relationship building and not just giving orders.

“A CEO has to be democratic and very patient. He is not an autocratic person that just gives orders. You have to build relationships and build strong teams,” he said.

Building relationships extend all the way down to the shop floor. Getting to know the shop floor workers and gaining their trust and respect, is seen as a must for corporate success.

“You have to understand that the guy on the machine is very, very important. If he goes on leave for one day, your production will suffer. But the CEO can go on leave for 10 days and nothing happens to the company. So the workers are important,” said Mr Anand. Mr Anand says that Asian companies are now expanding across the globe and financial professionals are required to perform a wider role.

“Even back in 2000, we in India would never have thought we could acquire companies in the US and in Europe. But this is already happening. Because for us success comes really hard. So you must be able to step up to the challenge,” he said.

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