What makes an award-winning board? This CFO says its leadership and culture
This week, Fortune released its Modern Board 25 list that features the most innovative boards of directors among S&P 500 companies. Marie Myers, CFO at HP Inc., is on the board of F5, a Seattle-based cyber security and application delivery firm, which earned the No. 1 spot on the list.
Myers isn’t on HP’s board of directors, which earned the No. 7 spot, but as CFO, she regularly interacts with the board. The Modern Board’s ranking is based on criteria including the expertise, independence, diversity, and tenure of board membership. Myers shares with me her perspective on why both boards work so well.
Courtesy of HP
“I believe leadership and culture are what make F5 and its board so effective, and those traits are what first drew me to joining its board,” says Myers, who joined in January 2019. “CEO Francois Locoh-Donou is a phenomenal leader, as is Alan Higginson, the chairman of the board. Together they have built a board that reflects the company F5 aims to be. It’s not just what it does, but also how it does it.”
She continues, “F5’s human-first and high-performing culture fosters inclusivity and purpose among employees and the board. A lot of companies strive to be inclusive, but at F5 it happens naturally.”
There’s also a high degree of collaboration between the board and the leadership team, and chemistry is a factor, Myers says. “Chemistry is why the board and leadership come together organically outside of the normal schedule of board meetings to discuss evolving situations and tackle complex business matters,” she says.
A combination of her experience, “passion for digital transformation,” and financial acumen, have all been especially useful in the director role, Myers explains. “Similarly, having the opportunity to participate in several large-scale transformations in my career provides a great foundation to navigate the broader environment at the board level,” she says.
‘CFOs need to be knowledgeable about all aspects of the business’
Myers, who has nearly 25 years of experience at HP, became the tech giant’s acting CFO in 2020 and was named CFO in 2021. Before being named CFO, Myers served as HP’s chief transformation officer, where she led the company’s IT and Transformation organizations.
“I’ve always been proud of the fact that HP’s board is one of the most diverse in the technology industry,” Myers says. “There is a broad mix of gender, age, ethnicity, and experience. This brings diversity of thought to every discussion and challenge the board and our company faces.” There’s chemistry among HP’s board and leadership team, as well, she says.
Any advice for CFOs when forging a relationship with the board? “The role of the CFO is evolving beyond traditional finance and accounting boundaries,” Myers explains. “For example, leveraging data and analytics to become more strategic advisors and partners to the business. This is also true of CFO interactions with the board.”
She continues, “I think it’s important to establish a direct and collaborative relationship with board members. Today’s CFOs need to be knowledgeable about all aspects of the business, have a broad and informed view of the company, and share their unique insights with the board, not just financials.”
Her most important advice: “Above all, CFOs need to communicate with transparency and always act with integrity to build trust and credibility with the board,” Myers says.
Enjoy your weekend, and have a Happy Mother’s Day. See you on Monday.
Gallup released a report on Thursday regarding Americans’ perceptions of the best long-term investment, and gold is perceived to have more value than stocks. Real estate came in first as the best bet for a long-term investment (34%). This is down from last year’s record-high of 45%. “Higher interest rates over the past year have cooled the housing market, dampening consumer exuberance about real estate as an investment,” according to Gallup.
The perception that gold is best increased from 15% in 2022 to 26% today. As a result, gold has overtaken stocks for second position. This year, fewer Americans (18%) than in 2022 (24%) see stocks or mutual funds as the best investment due to U.S. stock indices failing to gain ground over the past year. Today’s preference for stocks is on the low end of the 17% to 27% range of Americans choosing it since 2011, the research found. The latest poll was conducted April 3-25.
Here are a few Fortune weekend reads:
“The next CEO of Twitter, replacing Elon Musk, could be this NBC ad executive—or one of these other high-powered woman execs” by Andrea Guzman and Kylie Robison
“Former FTX chief compliance officer cooperating in crypto lawsuit against Tom Brady, Shaq and celebrity promoters” by Shawn Tully
“Jamie Dimon says he won’t be buying any more failed banks: ‘It’s a lot of work’” by Will Daniel
“Doing an art activity for just 20 minutes can help you live longer. Here are easy ways to add it into your day” by Alexa Mikhail
Here’s a list of some notable moves this week:
Cathy R. Smith was named CFO at Nordstrom, Inc. (NYSE: JWN), effective May 29. Smith joins Nordstrom from Bright Health Group, where she has served as chief financial and administrative officer since 2020. Before Bright Health, Smith worked as the CFO for Target Corporation for five years. During that time, Target achieved double-digit revenue and EPS growth. Before Target, Smith served as CFO for public companies Express Scripts, Walmart International, Gamestop, Centex, Kennametal, Textron, and Raytheon.
James “Jay” Saccaro was named VP and CFO at GE HealthCare (Nasdaq: GEHC), effective June 1. Saccaro succeeds Helmut Zodl who is remaining with the company to lead special projects regarding separation from GE. Saccaro joins GE HealthCare from Baxter International, where he has been serving as EVP and CFO since 2015. Before rejoining Baxter, he was SVP and CFO at Hill-Rom Corporation.
Todd Tuckner was named Group CFO at UBS. Tuckner will take on the role at the close of the acquisition of Credit Suisse. Having joined UBS in 2004, Tuckner is currently CFO and head of business performance and risk management for Global Wealth Management. Tuckner will succeed Sarah Youngwood, who has decided to leave the firm after the transaction closes. Youngwood joined UBS in 2022.
Kapil Agrawal was named CFO at Outschool, an education platform that offers a variety of small-group classes online. Agrawal brings experience in finance and international expansion. Most recently, he served as interim CFO at Poshmark. He was also pivotal in improving Poshmark’s gross margins, unit economics, and profitability. Before Poshmark, Agrawal served as global head of pricing at Uber Technologies, and head of business strategy at Capital One.
Gayle Jardine was named interim CFO at Coda Octopus Group, Inc. (Nasdaq: CODA), a real-time 3D/4D/5D and 6D imaging sonar technology company, effective May 4. The company’s CFO, Nathan Parker, has departed from his role, effective May 3. Jardine joined Coda Octopus Group as its European director of finance in 2015. Before that, she was the owner and director of Pentland Accounting Limited. Jardine also previously served as the operations and finance manager for Wireless Fibre Systems.
Howard Fu was promoted to CFO and treasurer at Procore Technologies, Inc. (NYSE: PCOR), a global provider of construction management software, effective May 8. After four years as CFO and treasurer at Procore, Paul Lyandres is stepping into the newly-created president. Fu most recently served as SVP of finance at Procore for two years. Previously, Fu served as VP of financial planning and analysis at DocuSign. Before that, he led the sales finance and M&A finance teams at Salesforce.
Marcus Glover was named EVP and CFO at Bally’s Corporation (NYSE: BALY). Bobby Lavan, Bally’s current CFO, will be leaving the company to pursue another opportunity. Most recently, Glover served as chief strategy officer for QPSI LLC, a supply chain solutions and contract packaging company. Before that, he served as president and COO of the Borgata Hotel, Casino & Spa, and president and COO of the Beau Rivage Resort & Casino. Glover was also a senior executive with Caesars Entertainment in various positions, including SVP and general manager for the Horseshoe Casino and Thistledown Racino, assistant general manager at Harrah’s/Caesars Entertainment St. Louis, Mo., and VP of operations at Harrah’s/Caesars Entertainment in Biloxi, Miss.
Gary W. Ferrera was named EVP and CFO at Driven Brands Holdings Inc. (Nasdaq: DRVN), an automotive services company, effective May 10. Ferrera succeeds Tiffany Mason. Most recently, Ferrera served as the CFO of Skillsoft Corporation, an educational software company. Before Skillsoft, he spent four years as the CFO of Cardtronics, PLC, an owner/operator of ATMs. He also served as CFO at DigitalGlobe, Inc., Intrawest Resorts Holdings, Inc., Great Wolf Resorts, Inc., National CineMedia, Inc., and Unity Media.
“Sadly, the Great Resignation is not over for mothers. The fact that a significant percentage of mothers are leaving the workforce or changing jobs due to the lack of affordable childcare and the need to stay at home with their children is concerning.”
—Jill Koziol, Motherly CEO and cofounder, told Fortune in an interview. Motherly’s recent State of Motherhood report surveyed nearly 10,000 mothers. Eighteen percent of mothers changed jobs or completely left the workforce this past year; 28% said they wanted to stay home with the kids, and 15% said they didn’t have childcare options, the research found. For 64% of at-home moms, flexible work schedules would get them to return to the workforce. And 52% said affordable childcare would.