A publicly held U.S. solar energy company required a Chief Financial Officer (CFO), with the potential to become a successor to the CEO, to help execute an expanded strategic plan involving the development of significant partnerships with utility firms.
Having built a $1.5 billion business manufacturing and installing photovoltaic units, this solar energy company developed a plan to expand by partnering with utility firms to build large energy farms and sell power directly into the grid. The company originally was a spin-off from a technology company, which meant few of the senior team had direct utility experience— a gap the board wanted to remedy.
When Russell Reynolds Associates was asked to conduct the search for a new CFO, we assembled a global team that included consultants with technology, energy, financial officer and executive assessment expertise. Collaborating across networks, market knowledge and resources, the team produced a final slate of candidates with the required technical and leadership competencies who also possessed the personality and charisma necessary to fit into the company's entrepreneurial, iconoclastic culture.
After an extensive, structured interview process, the board selected the highly regarded CFO of a major regional utility who had previously served as general manager of one of the solar energy firm's business units—experience that also made him a potential candidate to succeed the CEO.