Why being a CFO can suck

On the firing of Draft/FCB CFO Bob Oates:

Apparently Bob had the nerve to suggest that while laying off a 150 people, it might be good PR to cut down on such things as the cases of “Effen – Effen” and the new leopard skin seat covers for Howard’s Aston.

You’re somewhat conservative, and you’re signing the financial statements. You’d like to be “one of the boys,” but you must be careful not to act like them or you’ll freak out your investors. You generally receive the least equity of the C-level group. Everyone who can’t count past ten fingers questions every single thing you do, and with a healthy dose of (usually misdirected) incredulity and skepticism.

You’re often the first to get sacked when the trouble arises, particular trouble caused by disagreements over how to prudently spend money. It’s a business, and you’re the one empowered with guarding the purse strings. Only it’s someone else’s purse, and others are always trying to snatch it.

Mr. Oates should expect all levels of personal attack going forward. Someone may say he’s mentally incompetent, prone to substance abuse, or that he was stealing. If he’s lucky, he just “lacked vision” or “wanted to spend more time with his family.” None of the above is the likely scenario, but “the best chance for the company’s survival just walked out the door” is.

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