February 20, 2012, 8:04 AM — Name: Jon Pedersen Sr.
Time with company: 4 months
Education: Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Connecticut; MBA from Columbia Business School
Company headquarters: New York City
Revenue: About $20 million (annualized based on 2011 third-quarter revenue)
Number of countries: Worldwide sales but physical presence only in U.S.
Number of employees total: About 35
CFO's areas of responsibility: All financial, investor and management reporting functions
About the company: Snap Interactive provides online dating and social networking applications for social networking websites and mobile platforms. Its flagship brand, AreYouInterested.com, is one of the largest social dating applications on the Internet.
1. Where did you start in finance and what experiences led you to the job you have today?
I started my career as an accountant with Price Waterhouse LLP in Stamford, Connecticut. The lure of Wall Street was powerful and after two years with Price Waterhouse, I spent 10 years in banking (split between Goldman Sachs and WestLB) where the main lesson I learned is high-level financial professionals need to be skilled in both the technical accounting and broader finance aspects of the businesses they run. As I progressed through my career and gained increased responsibility, the operational finance challenges I faced were often more critical than what I saw on the accounting side, even though my experience was primarily in accounting / controlling. Ultimately, at the CFO level you need to be conversant in accounting, finance and operations.
2. Who was an influential boss for you and what lessons did they teach you about management and leadership?
I've been fortunate to work for some very talented people during the course of my career, and because I've worked at a diverse set of companies, each experience was vastly different. But I'd like to single out Steve Macri, whom I worked for at Warner Music Group. I worked for Steve at Price Waterhouse and he brought me to WMG in 2005 to serve as his number two. Over the six years we worked together, I learned a great deal about how to manage and lead large and diverse groups of people over multiple geographies, but most importantly I learned how to manage up, which is a critical skill at the senior management level.
3. What are the biggest challenges facing CFOs today?