Executive recruiters are of the opinion that Uber Technologies Inc. may find it quite difficult to find a candidate possessing the necessary financial skills that would make them suitable to be their next chief financial officer. It was announced by the ride-sharing service that Gautam Gupta, their current head of finance, is leaving the company for a startup in July. According to a report by the Wall Street Journal, Uber has already begun its search for a new CFO who has experience working with a public company as they are considering the option of an initial public offering. Since 2015, Uber has been without CFO when an advisory role had been taken up by Brent Callinicos. He had then gone on to join a transportation startup the next year.
The position of head of finance was given to Mr. Gupta under Mr. Callinicos, but he hadn’t been upgraded to the position of CFO. Experts have said that there is a lack of chief financial officers of publicly traded companies, especially the kind Uber is going to need. They want someone who can manage budgets and simultaneously prepare for the possibility of an initial public offering. They want someone with a background in a disruptive and fast-moving company and finding someone like that is easier said than done.
Furthermore, Uber is also searching for its first chief operating officer and their search for a CFO is going to be complicated or even a tad influenced by the other one. Currently, the ride-hailing service is busy interviewing candidates for the position of their first chief operating officer and their list include people from companies like Walt Disney Co. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. Uber’s chief executive, Travis Kalanick said in early March that he needed help for managing the company. The company is relatively young and this statement underlines the need for some operating experience.
Furthermore, this year, more than a dozen executives and top managers have left the company. Uber has stated that they want someone well-experienced and seasoned for the position of COO and this can give the company more leeway in finding someone for the CFO position. For instance, if they have a seasoned COO, a good CFO doesn’t have to have experience for taking a company public as someone like Goldman Sachs can be hired for this purpose. However, the problem is that the position of chief operating officer is declining whereas there is an expansion in the responsibilities of CFOs.
Only one fourth of the technology companies have a COO at this time and they are the least likely sector to do so, along with industrials. When filling the spot of the CFO, Uber may have to accept some trade-offs. Obviously, the candidate has to have seen some scale and size, but finding someone with a background in a disruptive company such as Uber may be tough. This is because not many large companies have been disruptive and finding a CFO suitable for them may be too steep a challenge for Uber.