SelectQuote latest to tap interim exec for permanent CFO

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diving letter:

  • Ryan Clement, SVP of financial planning and analysis at life insurance company SelectQuote, is now serving as CFO after serving as interim chief financial officer for several months, the company announced on Wednesday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
  • The move was effective February 10, according to the filing. Clement, 42, joined the Overland Park, Kan.-based company in January 2022 and was appointed interim in May following the departure of the company’s former chief financial officer, Raffaele Sadun.
  • SelectQuote is one of several companies to have recently secured an in-house candidate to fill their gap in finance leadership on an interim basis – following food supplier Cargill in promoting the chosen interim to the role on a permanent basis. Cargill graduate Joanne Knight will become the company’s chief financial officer effective immediately after serving as acting CFO for about a month, the company said Monday.

Dive insight:

Clement will receive an annual base salary of $375,000 for his role as chief financial officer, as well as an annual target bonus opportunity equal to 50% of that base salary, according to the document filed Wednesday. He will also receive a one-time cash bonus of US$200,000 “upon the company achieving certain strategic goals” that will not be paid out if the goals are not met.

Before joining SelectQuote, Clement was CFO of logistics software company Sifted, formerly VeriShip, and also held senior finance roles at other companies including independent investment advisor Financial Engines and The Mutual Fund Store, according to his LinkedIn profile.

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SelectQuote is one of several companies that has recently sought financial leadership; Alongside Cargill, footwear retailer Foot Locker recently announced that it had appointed Robert Higginbotham, its SVP of investor relations and financial planning and analysis, as interim CFO effective March 1 following the departure of its current chief financial officer.

Interim leadership can offer several benefits to companies looking to weather a difficult economic environment, and there is always a chance that this interim position will be a permanent fit. Preference for an internal candidate means that the manager already has a good understanding of the company’s needs.

It’s definitely easier for companies to “promote from the inside out, and they should be celebrated for having an internal bank to do that — provided the person is qualified,” said Shawn Cole, president of the boutique executive search firm Cowen Partners, in an email response to questions.

“There’s a shortage of qualified CFOs, and I think we’re going to see more internal promotions for lack of talent and time,” said Cole. “It’s a great opportunity for younger leaders to rise to the challenge and become the leaders of the next generation.”

Clements’ appointment follows strong second-quarter earnings for the life insurance company reported in early February, with Clements noting on the conference call that the company is in a “significantly stronger position than it was a year ago,” he said.

The company reported revenue of $319.2 million for its second quarter, compared to revenue of $194.2 million for its second quarter in the prior fiscal year, according to earnings figures released Feb. 7. SelectQuote has also now updated its full year guidance for fiscal 2023 and expects revenue in a range of $910 million to $960 million compared to the $890 million to $960 million the company had forecast in the first quarter.

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