How do you define excellence in finance? Given the dramatic ways the finance function has changed and the significant ways CFOs are contributing to their companies, this proposition is trickier than ever. For starters, an excellent CFO must demonstrate a thorough command of the traditional finance disciplines. But that no longer suffices. These days, finance executives must also display leadership ability, creativity, and a broad understanding of the business.
In structuring the CFO Excellence Awards, CFO magazine and Arthur Andersen LLP convened a panel of judges consisting of Paul R. Charron, CEO of Liz Claiborne Inc.; Douglas McCorkindale, president of Gannett Co.; Nell Minow, principal of LENS Inc.; Michael E. Murphy, vice-chairman (retired) of Sara Lee Corp.; Thomas J. Neff, chairman of SpencerStuart U.S.; Jerome B. York, vice chairman of Tracinda Corp.; and Julia Homer, editor of CFO. From a pool of 39 finalists (selected from 118 applicants) in 10 categories, the judges were asked to identify the individuals who had made the most significant contribution to their companies. Choosing from this group of outstanding finance executives was difficult, but in the end the judges selected 9 who exemplify the highest levels of achievement in finance.
The winners are: