Chief Financial Officer for Midwestern Seed Company

This Company is a profitable platform company that acquires regional independent seed companies and leverages these brands to go beyond high-yielding products to access new feed and food-ag market opportunities.  The Company retained Kincannon & Reed to recruit a strategic, results-oriented executive to become its next Chief Financial Officer.  Working closely with CEO, the CFO will shape financial and business development opportunities, improve systems and processes, and oversee financial reporting, accounting, cash flow forecasting, and tax-related requirements.  The Company seeks an agile finance executive who intuitively appreciates its strategy for organic and acquisition-driven growth and provides insightful financial guidance to the leadership team and Board. 

The Company

They are a holding company preserving the customer-oriented approach, values, and brand identity of regional independent seed companies. The Company’s approach is to harness the entrepreneurial power and innovation of regional independent seed companies with a laser-like focus on developing seeds that allow farmers in the upper Midwestern states to maximize yields.  It is uniquely positioned to capture growth driven by consumer demand for organic and non-GMO seeds, enhanced by the Company’s in-house breeding capabilities and deep industry expertise.

Today, the Company’s 50 employees generate $40 million in sales through two brands.  The brands are operated as standalone entities with brand presidents and shared back-office services and collaboration on customer service, research, product management and development, marketing, and special downstream contracts.  Both brands select corn, soybean, wheat, and alfalfa products from trait providers and more than 15 different breeding programs.  The Company’s value proposition has attracted savvy ag-food investors.

Position Overview

Reporting to the CEO, the CFO will be a key member of the executive team, responsible for directing all financial aspects of the Company, including its capital structure, investments, and accounting practices, and will assess and optimize the Company’s cash flow and financial stability, making recommendations to the CEO.  Specific responsibilities include:

  • Oversee the preparation and approval of financial reporting materials and performance metrics.
  • Develop recommendations and analysis of commercial terms, structure, and valuation for key business contracts, licensing agreements, and strategic alliances.
  • Lead, support, and align financial aspects of M&A transactions. Coordinate financial due diligence. Guide team in conducting incisive analysis of complex deals from inception to completion.
  • Oversee commercial banking relationships and debt/working capital management activity, including cash flow forecasting, investment evaluation, and compliance with risk management policies.
  • Evaluate systems and process capabilities to assure that the Company structure can absorb strategic growth initiatives to obtain identified synergies.
  • Represent the Company with its private equity shareholders, investment bankers, and other stakeholders.  Interface with Board and shareholders, responsively communicating the Company’s financial performance and forecasts.
  • Employing a collaborative management style, establish a finance team culture characterized by a performance-driven, entrepreneurial spirit.
  • Create strong partnerships across the firm to drive sound financial decisions in support of capital investments, product and services valuations, supply chain execution/cost of goods sold, and sales performance/profitability.

Ideally, the CFO will be based in the upper Midwest, in relative proximity to the Company’s finance team in central Wisconsin.  (Alternatively, the Company will support the new CFO’s relocation to that region.)  Contingent on CFO’s location, the position will require occasional domestic travel, with fluctuations due to transactions (e.g., financing and M&A).

Candidate Profile

The Company seeks an experienced finance leader who will work as a strategic partner with the CEO.  The successful candidate will have a proven record of driving operational excellence in a finance organization, preferably for an agribusiness, food, or related technology firm and in an entrepreneurial, high-growth environment.  He/she will blend strong strategic capabilities with an operational willingness to do the “heavy lifting” required to transition a company through continued growth and the ability to mentor staff, engage outside service providers, and collaborate with peers on the leadership team. Other desired candidate attributes include:

  • Five+ years of financial leadership experience, including a strong background in GAAP, corporate finance, treasury, financial planning, tax strategies, debt management, and compliance (ideally, experience is weighted more finance than accounting).  Undergraduate degree in business, finance, or accounting desired. MBA/CPA a plus.
  • Detailed financial knowledge and insights into the business, including an understanding of the key levers and productivity metrics that impact financial and operating performance. Delivers timely and accurate financial reporting; maintains a consistent cadence of communication to drive effective decision-making.
  • Ability to manage a financial reporting environment with an understanding of best practices in accounting and systems processes. 
  • Desire for tactical “in the trenches” entrepreneurial, hands-on role executing growth of a rapidly scaling company. Ability to work in an ambiguous and rapidly changing environment.
  • Strong communication skills – good listener and ability to articulate complex issues in a concise manner.  High energy, significant intellectual bandwidth, engaging presence, partnership mindset, and impeccable integrity.
  • Proven ability to hire, manage, and motivate team members and create a dynamic environment with productive staff.  Capable of sharing candid feedback framed in a productive, diplomatic manner. 

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