Washington DC Area CFOs Discuss Uncertain Economy During UVA Darden CFO Roundtables

By Laura Hennessey Martens

Summarizing the discussion among CFOs from leading companies in the Washington, D.C., region during recent Strategic CFO Roundtable forums, the University of Virginia Darden School of Business has released its latest Views From the C-Suite report.

Convened by the Darden School on 10 September 2015 and 7 January 2016 at Sands Capital Management in Arlington, Virginia, the CFOs discussed topics including the United States economy, proxy advisory firms and shareholder activism. Meeting discussions indicated a clear downturn in the CFOs’ economic outlook between the September and January sessions, based upon roundtable surveys and a comparative national study administered to attendees.

According to one CFO, “The election and all the uncertainty around that is driving a lot of angst. Certainly, the international situation is driving a lot of angst. It feels like it’s not getting better.” The executive added, “Also, there are industries that, since the recession, have not seen any sort of really strong resurgence of their core business.”

For the first time since the founding of the Darden Strategic CFO Roundtable in 2009, the survey revealed an optimism level lower than 50 percent.

The next quarterly Strategic CFO Roundtable will convene in May 2016, during which the CFOs will be polled again to assess whether their outlook on the economy has changed.

In addition to evaluating the U.S. economy and the performance of their own businesses, the CFOs conduct in-depth discussions on top-of-mind topics, such as the impact of regulatory and political trends on financial and corporate strategy.

Roundtable members are CFOs at publicly traded and private companies from the Washington, D.C., region, representing industries such as aerospace and defense, financial services, media, professional services, retail, and technology.

In 2009, Darden Professor Kenneth Eades and Jane-Scott Cantus, principal member of ILEX Leadership Associates LLC, established the Strategic CFO Roundtable. In 2013, the Strategic CFO Roundtable was adopted as an important initiative of the Darden School.

North America, C-Suite
About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business prepares responsible global leaders through unparalleled transformational learning experiences. Darden’s graduate degree programs (MBA, MSBA and Ph.D.) and Executive Education & Lifelong Learning programs offered by the Darden School Foundation set the stage for a lifetime of career advancement and impact. Darden’s top-ranked faculty, renowned for teaching excellence, inspires and shapes modern business leadership worldwide through research, thought leadership and business publishing. Darden has Grounds in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the Washington, D.C., area and a global community that includes 18,000 alumni in 90 countries. 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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