Quick Take: Estée Lauder CFO Tracey Travis

A fashionable CFO shares advice for aspiring finance chiefs.
Kate O'SullivanAugust 20, 2012

Name: Tracey Travis
Title: CFO
Company: Estée Lauder Cos.

[Editor’s note: Travis starts at Estée Lauder today, August 20, having moved over from Ralph Lauren, where she had been CFO since 2005.]

What is your best piece of advice for aspiring CFOs?
Seek out operational financial support roles to key function or business leaders that allow you to demonstrate your technical finance and accounting skills as well as your ability to support business or functional objectives. Additionally, seek out opportunities for special short-term projects in addition to your core finance role that allow you to both learn more about the organization and demonstrate your capabilities to a broader audience within the company. And strive to develop strong partnerships with both corporate and divisional leadership at your company.

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What do you like best about your role as CFO?
The CFO role, next to the CEO role, provides the broadest overview of business performance across the company and can be tremendously valuable in helping business leaders achieve their objectives by providing additional insight and focus on resource allocation and returns as well as key business drivers of performance.

What is the most challenging part of your job?
Time! Calendar pressures due to multiple meeting requests.

What do you consider to be a critical skill for success in the CFO role?
First, the ability to prioritize and focus on the needs of the organization. Second, the ability to build and develop a talented team of finance and accounting professionals that can both support enhanced business performance and insight and meet all of the compliance, reporting, and control responsibilities of the finance function.