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IPO VIEW-Searching for a CFO ahead of an IPO

By Nicole Maestri
NEW YORK, Aug 26 (Reuters) - The hiring of a new chief financial officer can be a telltale sign that a company is headed toward an initial public offering.

That was the case earlier this month when clothing retailer J. Crew Group Inc. said that James Scully, a former Saks Inc. (SKS.N: Quote, Profile, Research) executive, would become its CFO. Less than one hour after making that announcement, the company's filing for a $200 million IPO showed up with securities regulators.

Charles Eldridge, who heads the financial officers practice at executive search firm Korn/Ferry International, said that bringing in a seasoned CFO can give an IPO added credibility.

"What companies like is somebody who is known to 'The Street'," he said. "If Wall Street investors and analysts already have a base of knowledge around the individual ... they know they can trust the person, respect the person. It begins to put a nice little shine around the package."

Companies often look for a CFO six to nine months before going public when they decide they need a new executive, Eldridge said.

Corliss Nelson is now CFO of Celanese Corp. (CE.N: Quote, Profile, Research). He joined the chemical maker in November, shortly ahead of its January IPO.

Nelson, who had been CFO of privately held JM Family Enterprises and Ryder System Inc. (R.N: Quote, Profile, Research), said it was his time at those companies, his capital markets experience and his relationships with the Street and the credit ratings agencies that helped land him the job.

Continued ...
Stock Market News and Investment Information | Reuters.com

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