Haas Helps CFOs Navigate Rocky Economy

The Haas School is hosting two events in coming weeks for chief financial officers that will provide forums for diving deeply into the unique problems CFOs face in the uncertain economy.

The first event is the San Francisco CFO Executive Summit May 19 at the W Hotel, where the Haas School's Center for Executive Education will host about 250 top financial executives on the West Coast. The invitation-only, day-long event is designed for companies with more than $1 billion in annual revenue.

During the event, CFOs will explore challenges they face in today’s uncertain economy. Participants from Haas include former Dean Laura Tyson, currently a professor at Haas and co-chair of the summit's governing body; and alumnus John Riccitiello, BS 81, CEO of video game maker Electronic Arts, who will give a morning keynote titled "The 'Burning Platform' – Fostering a Culture of Change."

The governing body of CFOs helped drive the content of the summit, which was organized and will be moderated by Solomon Darwin, executive director of the Haas School's Center for Innovative Financial Technology. In addition to Tyson, governing body co-chairs include Kathy Lancaster, CFO of Kaiser Permanente; Sharon McCollam, COO and CFO of Williams-Sonoma; Tim Morse, CFO of Yahoo!; and Stacy Smith, CFO of Intel.

"The Haas School is excited to host such an impressive roster of finance executives," says Dean Rich Lyons. "We look forward to strengthening our relationships with them as we help them navigate during these volatile times.”

The agenda covers the economic outlook for 2011 and beyond, improving communication with key investors, strengthening the balance sheet, growing the company in a challenging economy, learning from past economic failure, and predicting Wall Street’s future. Darwin interviewed CFOs from around the country to develop the summit's content.

"This summit is one of the most valuable networking events of the year for CFOs," says Williams-Sonoma's McCollam. "The agenda is set by the nation's most influential CFOs specifically for CFOs to share knowledge about everything from investment strategies to finding available capital to long-term financial planning."

Similar summits are planned in Houston, Dallas, Atlanta and Chicago this year. The summits are facilitated by Evanta, an event management company that organizes conferences for C-suite executives.

Later in July Haas will host a more intimate event called the CFO Roundtable with seven finance executives at San Jose-based Adobe Systems. The discussion topic will be "Open Business Models."

The CFO Roundtables, organized quarterly by the Haas School's Center for Executive Education, are deliberately kept small to create a deeper discussion. They were started several years ago under the direction of former Dean Tom Campbell.

The previous CFO Roundtable held in April featured a discussion on open innovation with executives from such companies as Clorox, Sybase, Gap, PG&E, and Vodafone.

For more information about the CFO Executive Summit, visit evanta.com/CFO/summit/overview.php?i=SFO.