Washington-Area CFOs React to Federal Reserve Policies, Discuss Acquisition Strategy at UVA Darden Event

28 October 2013

Chief financial officers from publicly traded companies are less upbeat about the economy than their counterparts in private companies.

A new report, “Views From the C-Suite,” reveals clear differences in optimism about the economy between publicly traded and private company CFOs. The September survey included in the report sees public company CFOs forecasting a longer time for employment recovery than the private company CFOs. Nevertheless, the averages reveal that Washington-area CFOs view the economy more positively than their counterparts in the rest of the country.

“Given the situation with the federal government and the number of stakeholders that publicly traded companies must engage with, it is understandable to see this dip in optimism from public CFOs,” said Kenneth M. Eades, Paul Tudor Jones Research Professor of Business Administration at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business.

This sentiment surfaced when CFOs from leading companies in the Washington, D.C., region gathered to discuss, debate and share best practices on enhancing the strategic role of the CFO at the 12th Strategic CFO Roundtable held recently at the offices of Sands Capital Management in Arlington, Virginia.

The session was convened on 26 September 2013, shortly after Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke announced the continuation of the quantitative easing (QE) program, specifically the purchasing of $85 billion in Treasury and mortgage bonds each month. The influence of the Federal Reserve upon the economy was frequently touched upon during the roundtable. Most CFOs in attendance agreed that the return of the QE program is good for the current market.

Innovation and talent management through acquisitions was a strong point of discussion. The role of acquisitions as a way to add talent as well as physical assets and customers spurred a number of stories around the table regarding good and bad experiences with the management of acquired companies.

In 2009, Eades and Jane-Scott Cantus, principal member, ILEX Leadership Associates LLC established the Strategic CFO Roundtable. In 2013, the Strategic CFO Roundtable was adopted as an important initiative of a newly launched Darden Institute for Business in Society (IBiS).

The roundtable members are CFOs at leading publicly traded and private companies representative of the Washington, D.C., metropolitan regional industries, including aerospace/defense, financial services, media, professional services and technology. The Strategic CFO Roundtable meets quarterly to discuss their responsibilities in asserting influence in the C-Suite and board room and on corporate strategy, as well as the impact of financial and corporate strategies on the workforce, shareholders, the national economy and society as a whole.

About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business delivers the world’s best business education experience to prepare entrepreneurial, global and responsible leaders through its MBA, Ph.D., MSBA and Executive Education programs. Darden’s top-ranked faculty is renowned for teaching excellence and advances practical business knowledge through research. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.


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Darden School of Business
University of Virginia