Hot Job Market, Strong Demand for CFOs Strain Due Diligence

The sudden departure of Moderna Of Inc.

The newly hired CFO sheds light on the challenges companies and employers are facing in a tight job market in which candidates often have more than one competitive offer. , forcing hiring managers to make quick decisions.

Jorge Gomez, who started as Moderna’s chief financial officer on Monday, departed on Tuesday, effective immediately, the Cambridge, Mass., company said. He was recruited from dental supplies manufacturer Dentsply Sirona Inc.

last month to take over David Meline, who plans to retire after about two years as CFO at Moderna. On Tuesday, Dentsply revealed an ongoing financial investigation into a number of issues, including financial statements.

Mr. Meline will continue as CFO while Moderna looks for a long-term replacement for Mr. Gomez.

Jorge Gomez, who left as CFO of Moderna the day after he started.


Photo:

Dentsply Sirona Inc.

According to employers, the pandemic and the ensuing economic recovery last year increased demand for finance executives, prompting many companies to seek new leaders for the finance department. their. Revenue for CFOs at companies in the S&P 500 rose to 18 percent last year, up from 15 percent in 2020 and 14 percent in 2019, according to Russell Reynolds Associates, an executive search firm. .

“There is pressure on us to accelerate this process and we need to keep that pressure to a minimum,” said Peter Crist, president of Crist Kolder Associates, an executive search firm. “Management of expectations is our biggest challenge.” Crist Kolder was not involved in the search for Moderna’s chief financial officer.

Recruiters say that intense competition for talent is causing some managers to shorten the hiring process and potentially prioritize candidates they already know. That can lead to companies cutting back on the due diligence process and looking at potential problems with candidates.

Mr. Meline and Mr. Gomez both work at General Motors Co.

from 1996 to 2005, during which time Mr. Meline, who began at the Detroit-based automaker in 1986, was the country’s chief financial officer and then the regional chief financial officer. area.

Mr. Gomez has held various executive and management positions at GM during that time. While he left at the end of 2005 to become assistant treasurer at Cardinal Health Inc.,

Mr. Meline in 2008 joined 3M Co. to become the company’s chief financial officer.

At Cardinal Health, Mr. Gomez rose through the ranks and became CFO in 2018. He also met Don Casey, who was the company’s chief medical officer and left in 2018 to take the position of director. CEO of Dentsply Sirona. Mr. Gomez was hired as CFO of Dentsply in 2019.

On April 19, Dentsply fired Mr. Casey shortly after the company announced Mr. Gomez was leaving the company on April 11. That same day he was appointed as Moderna’s new chief financial officer. Mr. Gomez’s departure from Dentsply takes effect May 6.

In response to a request for comment, Moderna pointed to its press release on Gomez’s departure, which did not address questions about the company’s hiring process for the CFO position. The company added that it became aware of the internal investigation on Tuesday through Dentsply’s public filing.

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Dentsply Sirona fired its chief executive shortly after the company announced Mr. Gomez’s departure.


Photo:

Pavlo Gonchar / Zuma Press

Mr. Gomez, Mr. Meline and Mr. Casey did not respond to requests for comment. Dentsply, which was asked for comment, consulted public records and the company’s earnings call this week, which provided limited information about the investigation.

Companies and recruitment agencies often conduct a thorough vetting of potential hires, including reviewing public information about candidates, legal records, and court records. Oftentimes, risk assessment and investigation firms like Kroll LLC will help with those tasks.

At Stanton Chase, a recruitment agency was not involved in the recruitment of Mr. Gomez, said Cathy Logue, head of finance.

Josh Wimberley, founder of executive recruiting firm LeadChange LLC, which was not involved in the search for the chief financial officer at Moderna, says it can be difficult to get a full picture of a candidate from recruiters. their current.

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Cathy Logue, head of practice finance at Stanton Chase.


Photo:

Stanton Chase

Sitting CFOs may be more restricted in the information they can share, subject only to non-disclosure agreements and other regulations that prohibit them from passing on details about things like investigations internal or future earnings, employers said.

Don McMurchy, managing director at professional services firm RSR Partners, which was not involved in Moderna’s search for chief financial officer, said an internal probe at a public company could be difficult. difficult to find information. Mr. McMurchy said that while it was possible Gomez was asked to clarify any issues prior to his appointment at Moderna, he would be limited in what he could share about a public company. other.

There are signs of trouble at Dentsply, said Peter Thies, president and co-founder of executive consulting firm The River Group LLC. Between the time Moderna announced the hiring of Mr. Gomez in April and his appointment as chief financial officer this week, the director of Dentsply has been ousted and at least two law firms – Ademi LLP and Pomerantz LLP – have submitted public warning said it was looking into the possibility of securities fraud at Dentsply.

“What it looked like from the outside, those events happened and they just let Gomez get on with the job,” Mr. Thies said. “For me, having him start and finish a day later, the reputation of a company is worse than saying that Mr. Gomez won’t start his term as CFO because of an investigation. investigation is taking place”.

Write letter for Nina Trentmann at Nina.Trentmann@wsj.com and Jennifer Williams-Alvarez at jennifer.williams-alvarez@wsj.com

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https://www.wsj.com/articles/hot-job-market-strong-demand-for-cfos-strain-due-diligence-11652317296?mod=pls_whats_news_us_business_f Hot Job Market, Strong Demand for CFOs Strain Due Diligence

Edmund DeMarche

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