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Hochhauser says completing the IPO and follow-on offerings has been his greatest challenge so far at Ancestry.com. “There are a lot of moving pieces that go along with this type of event,” he says. The IPO was team-led by people with multiple personality types and differing ideas about how the process should move forward.
“I took the time to ensure the team was well calibrated and on track, always looking at their counsel. Additionally, I ensured everyone was on the same page and understood the direction the company was going to take,” he says.
Prior to joining Ancestry.com, Hochhauser held multiple positions at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia Inc. He joined that company in 2000 and served as CFO from 2006 to 2008. From 1996 to 2000, he served as the vice president equity research analyst for Bear, Stearns & Co.
His advice for new CFOs or other financial professionals is to be strategic, focus on the customer and “focus on long-term growth—you may need to make some short-term painful choices.”
Andrew W Limpert
CFO and Board of Directors, Profire Energy, Inc.
Andrew Limpert doesn’t describe himself as a CFO, but as an entrepreneur who is passionate about building new companies. “I enjoy the creative process,” he says. “Profire is a young company in a relative sense, and I am involved in many aspects of the business that many CFOs are not. This gives me the opportunity to play a key role in building an exciting business and defining our future along with our tremendous team.”
Under Limpert’s direction, Profire Energy’s revenues and profits have nearly doubled from 2010 to 2011. The company has also doubled its office and warehouse space, as well as doubled its employees.
International expansion has been key to the company’s growth, with Limpert leading the way. Under his oversight, the company expanded into Texas, Brazil and Canada. Profile Energy recently ranked as the 19th fastest-growing energy company in the nation by IBT.
Limpert says today’s CFOs must strategically manage the company’s growth. “The role of CFO has changed from reactive to proactive,” he says. “Through structure, strategy, prudent risk taking and employment of resources, the CFO should always be looking for ways to add value.”
He adds that a CFO’s primary responsibility is to serve as the guiding influence to advance the company’s sales, product growth and stakeholder’s interest. “Most CFOs track what is happening in the company through accounting and reporting. By contrast, I am focusing on growth initiatives for expanding revenues through adding offices, sales staff, broadening and deepening product line and looking for new markets for our expansion.”
An avid sports fan, Limpert faces challenges by “blocking and tackling” them head on. “I have learned to face challenges—either personal or business—in a similar fashion. If one will focus on the consistent application of long-term fundamentals, eventually the hard work pays off. I call this the ‘blocking and tackling method.’ If people focus on the most meaningful parts of their business (blocking and tackling) overtime, eventually, they will win.”
Limpert is excited to help Profire Energy continue its growth plan. “I look forward to the future with anticipation for new opportunities and horizons,” he says. “One of my practices is to ask the question, ‘What should we be doing as a company?’ and not what can we do. This applies to almost any part of a business strategy but forces one to do the homework and planning to make better choices.”
Christopher A. Black
CFO, Vivint, Inc.
The past few years have been ones of change and challenges for Christopher Black. As the CFO of Vivint, Black has been a part of guiding the company through a difficult economy and a rebranding effort. Vivint has continued to show strong growth through all of those changes.
Black began his finance career in corporate banking and spent more than a decade working on large corporate financing transactions. In 2001, he accepted an offer from a banking client to join its company, Wabash National, where he facilitated a recapitalization and turnaround. He then joined American Commercial Lines as CFO and helped take the company public—the IPO was ranked the second best of the year. For the past two and a half years, Black has been with Vivint.
Black says people continue to expect and demand more of the CFO. The past several years have tested companies financially, and Black says the complexity and volatility of the markets changed the way a CFO thinks about financing their company’s growth and requires more of their time and focus.