June 25, 2012, 1:19 PM — Name: Rick Gilbody
Time with company: 7 months
Education: Bachelor of Science in business administration with a concentration in finance and an MBA from Boston College
Company headquarters: Boston
Countries of operation; U.S., U.K.
Number of employees total: 300-500
Number of employees the CFO oversees: About 20
CFO's areas of responsibility: Finance and administration, including accounting, legal, IT, HR
About the company: Agencyport Software provides Web-based distribution technologies, global policy administration software and business intelligence tools to the insurance industry.
1. Where did you start in finance and what experiences led you to the job you have today?
I started at General Electric in their financial management program, which is a corporate training program for college graduates. Since then, I've had a number of positions in and out of finance. I've always focused on the relationship between finance and operations.
Throughout my career, I've focused primarily on finance. Prior to Agencyport Software, I was at Cognos and eventually transitioned into managing the Americas operations. At IBM, I then spent three and a half years on the sales and operations side of the business.
In this most recent role at Agencyport, I've not only had a chance to really influence the finance function, but also to impact the administration and operations side of the business. I find being involved with both strategic direction and company growth very gratifying.
2. Who was an influential boss for you and what lessons did he or she teach you about management and leadership?
Rob Ashe, the former CEO of Cognos, had an influence on me for a number of reasons. The first was that he also started out in finance and then made the transition to CEO. His trajectory proved the one that I eventually took. He taught me the importance of a company's culture to its success and how you can build a strong organization on trust and relationships, accountability, and employee recognition. You can have great products but if you don't have a strong organization, it's not going to be successful. Rob also taught me how important it is to build a company's culture and try to leverage it as a strategic tool.
3. What are the biggest challenges facing CFOs today?
We all face many challenges but today, and over the last several years, it's the economy and the new regulatory environment that present CFOs with the most obstacles. Every day, CFOs are challenged to stay in compliance with regulations. Since Sarbanes Oxley, however, it's a constant challenge to manage the cost of compliance. And when you layer in the economic environment, that challenge is that much more difficult.
4. What is a good day at work like for you?