While the jump from controller to CFO may seem like a natural progression, a report from management consultancy Korn/Ferry International suggests that while controllers may posses the technical expertise to gain access to the CFO suite, their leadership skills may be lacking. The study, titled "Navigating the Uncertain Road from Controller to CFO: The Leadership Imperative," said that controllers with designs on the C-suite need to move beyond financial expertise to become "participative leaders." "Controllers can become more attractive CFO candidates by developing a critical set of behavioral skills that characterize the most successful CFOs," said Charles B. Eldridge, co-leader of Korn/Ferry's financial officers practice and co-author of the report. Other key findings of the report include: * Some 33 percent of all CFOs who had been promoted to their jobs came from the post of controller. Treasurers ran a distant second place at 19 percent. * In organizations that recruited their CFO from outside, only four percent of external hires were controllers, while 58 percent were already corporate or divisional CFOs elsewhere. * CFOs focus on "people" issues, as well as on financial ones, while controllers, by contrast, tend to be more task-focused and less inclined to build consensus. To prepare the report, Korn/Ferry's financial officers practice conducted a detailed analysis of the 2006 Fortune 500, examining trends related to the hiring and promotion of their CFOs.
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