Case Study

Search Details

Job Title: VP of Finance
Seniority: Executive level
Search Type: Retained search
Job Location: Chicago, IL, USA
Link to job description
Black Buffalo Smokeless Tobacco Alternative

Our Client

Company: Black Buffalo
Company Industry: Alternative Smokeless Tobacco
Company Type: PE-backed company
Client contacts: CEO and Co-founders

Company Description

Our client for this VP of Finance opportunity is a rapidly growing startup with funding well into the eight digits and in the smokeless tobacco alternative industry. They operate using a small team of executives further utilizing numerous partners and vendors.

Search Overview

The finance function had been held by one of the founders up until then, but the company was ready for a dynamic Director to come on board and help support the fast growth of the company. The focus was put on building best practices and dashboards for the company. The right candidate should be an ambitious executive, interested in quickly evolving to a CFO role and motivated by an equity job opportunity.

Search Challenges

The main challenge in the search for this VP of Finance was to find someone who had the experience in supervising finance for production, DTC and wholesale, based in Chicago. In addition, it was expected that the VP of Finance had entrepreneurial experience versus coming strictly from other large obvious tobacco or CPG companies. This key role in a startup environment would act as a real business partner, who would sit down in meetings with sales, marketing, operations to challenge them on their budget and help finding solutions.

Our Executive Search Strategy

– Experience in a startup environment or smaller organizations in other regulated categories (like wine & spirits, cannabis, Pharmaceutical, Cosmetics) or generally speaking CPG or FMCG on the manufacturing side.
– Experience in finance for production + DTC + Wholesale/Retail channels.
– Impeccable work ethics
– Good communication skills
– Very strong Excel skills
– Must have experience with cost accounting, financial forecasting, and “ownership” at the center of the Company’s operations, using numbers to understand the Company intimately
– VP, Director or C-level Executive.

Our Executive Search Process

– Kick off call with the Chief Growth Officer
– Creation of a list of target companies in the Tobacco, Wine & Spirits, Cannabis and other regulated industries.
– Identification of most relevant candidates and creation of a progress report
– Weekly progress calls with the hiring Manager to calibrate the search and discuss the interested profiles and future interviews.

Final Outcome

– “Long-list” of 299 relevant Finance executives
– 12 candidates interviewed by ACCUR’s Managing Partner
– 6 candidates interviewed submitted to the client
– 3 candidates interviewed by the client
– Finalist went through some analytical excercises and tests on manufacturing, operations, et.
– > Final result: the hired candidate comes from big and well known CPG and Wine & Spirits companies, with a solid experience in Financial Analysis and Corporate Strategy & Growth Ventures, as well as omni-channel experience. Excellent academic background, very well spoken with a great attitude and motivation throughout the entire recruitment process.

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