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Arnold Partners’ 2015 Year in Review

Executive Summary

2015 proved to be another very busy and productive year for Arnold Partners. We proudly placed almost as many female executives as male in the last two years. We served seven different industry sectors with our eight completed searches in 2015, and even completed a VP HR search to end the year! The market continued to be strong in 2015, and despite some global headwinds, we expect 2016 to be another year with continued demand for financial talent.

In addition to these 2015 successes, we were named a Top 10 Executive Recruiting firm in Silicon Valley by the Silicon Valley Business Journal for our work in 2014.

Completed Searches 2015

Roblox – Platform/Gaming/Social

Backed by First Round Capital and Altos Ventures, Roblox was seeking a CFO++. Arnold Partners delivered in finding Andy Chmyz to help lead the company in a new phase of growth. A year on, the company is thriving, moving up and to the right.

Cloud Cruiser – SaaS/Cloud

Backed by repeat venture relationship OnSet Ventures, Cloud Cruiser was an early stage company seeking a CFO to work side by side with the CEO to grow the company. With major partnerships with Microsoft and Amazon Web Services, the CEO wanted a sophisticated communicator who could represent Cloud Cruiser to customers, strategic partners and the investment community. We delivered exactly what he was looking for.

Direct Flow Medical – Medical Device

Backed by repeat venture relationship New Leaf Venture Partners, Direct Flow Medical sought a public markets CFO. Located in Santa Rosa, this posed a challenge as the talent pool was not as deep as anyone would have liked. Using our extensive network, we were able to find a slate of candidates and an ultimate winner in David Boyle.

LifeNexus – Healthcare Information Technology

Backed by sophisticated P/E investors, this cutting edge HIT company was seeking a business development-oriented CFO to help negotiate complex contracts with large insurance providers. Arnold Partners delivered a winning candidate but business conditions lead our client to put the search on hold. A win from a delivery standpoint none-the-less.

SI-Bone – Medical Device

Backed by repeat venture relationships Skyline Ventures and OrbiMed, the CEO of SI-Bone knew exactly what he wanted—and Arnold Partners delivered. The company is in a fast growth mode and Laura Francis, whom we placed as CFO, had an immediate impact. The search was a case study in collaboration and coordination, taking just 35 days.

Fractyl Labs – Platform Technology

Backed by repeat venture relationships with Domain Associates and Bessemer Venture Partners, Boston-based Fractyl Labs was another case study in how to have a successful CFO search. The CEO knew exactly what he was looking for and what he was not looking for! After conducting the search on his own, his laser focus on hiring Arnold Partners helped land Lisa Davidson in record time.

Paramit – Specialty Manufacturing

Paramit is a middle market P/E-backed specialty manufacturing company in Morgan Hill. After nine months of

looking on their own, the CEO from Direct Flow, who serves on their Board, suggested Arnold Partners to deliver results. In just a few weeks we had a strong slate of candidates and closed on the winner within just a few months.

Hercules Technology Growth Partners – VP Human Resources – Financial Services

Arnold Partners’ long-time relationship with the CEO at HTGC led him to call for a unique search for us—Vice President of Human Resources. Using our deep relationships we were able to deliver for him on short order. While not our core focus, it is proof that what matters most in search is having long-term relationships with the entire professional community.


Arnold Partners’ 2014 Year in Review

metricCompleted Searches

MetricStream – Software

January started off with MetricStream of Palo Alto naming Jeff Zellmer as CFO. The Co-CEO’s, Shelley Archambeau and Gunjan Sinha were very pleased not only with our process, but with a truly great result.

kinestralKinestral Technologies – Connected Home

February wrapped up with Kinestral Technologies naming Geoff Richardson as CFO. SB Cha, Kinestral’s CEO challenged us to find an outstanding person from the banking world, maybe even Goldman Sachs. So we did! As a result of this process we are now working with Geoff and SB to help them attract an Audit Chair.

rennoviaRennovia – Specialty Chemical

The work for Kinestral led directly to our CFO search for Rennovia a specialty chemical company backed by the same lead investors, Sam Colella (Versant Ventures) and Scott Rocklage (5AM Ventures). “Find us another Geoff” simply were the orders…so we did in attracting Michelle Cheung to join Rennovia, also from Goldman.

intersectintersectENT – Drug/Device

intersectENT was well into their IPO process when we landed Jeri Hilleman for Lisa Earnhardt and the i-ENT team.Their IPO happened in July and they have never looked back. Good to see them doing so well. Our client from three years ago, Nevro, also went public in 2014.

cidaraCidara – Biotech

5AM Ventures came back again, this time for a biotechnology company, Cidara, in San Diego. We have identified the CFO they want to hire, but the actual hire has been put on hold. Put it in the success column!

carbylynCarbylan Therapeutics – Biotech

In July, Carbylan Therapeutics named Michael White as CFO following another successful Arnold Partners search. David Renzi had been a client when he was CEO of Neomend in Orange County. We delivered for him there and once again this year. They are also eying the public markets.

nuvesseNuvesse – Consumer

Speaking of previous clients, Dennis Condon CEO of Nuvesse contacted us to find him the top finance executive for his new company Nuvesse a consumer products company. We did just that, landing Kimberlee Gonzaga in June.

robloxRoblox – Platform/Gaming

In August we kicked off the search for Roblox. After some twists and turns David Baszucki and team were able to name Andy Chmyz CFO++. Everyone is thrilled to move the company forward.

In the Works: Benvenue Medical – & Cloud Cruiser – Enterprise Software

benvenueWe are getting very close to naming a CFO for Benvenue Medical in San Jose and are actively seeking a CFO for Cloud Cruiser in San Jose (Enterprise Software). We have just kicked off a new search in Santa Rosa for Direct Flow Medical which hopes to file an S-1 later in the year.

In Sum

So all in all a very good year! 2015 looks to remain a competitive yet healthy market for CFO talent! Call me with your questions and search needs: Dave Arnold @ 408-205-7373.



CFO Search: Quality vs. Quantity

qualWhat are the most important factors when embarking on a CFO search? More importantly, what are the most important qualities you should look for when hiring a search firm to help you hire a CFO? Three quantitative measures are frequently cited as the most important: time to completion, longevity of the placement, and re-placement rate.  I’ll give you my perspective on these measures based on many years as a CFO search consultant.

CFO search begins with a clear target

The process for a CFO search, or any search for that matter, must begin with a very clear understanding of what you are searching for. Fortunately when it comes to CFOs and Audit Chair Directors, the definitions are usually pretty crisp. Nonetheless, there are critical subtleties in the definitions for CFOs, the culture of each company is different from that of another, and the blind spots of CEOs will differ. These considerations must be weighed and sorted, so at kick-off we have a strong, common understanding of the specific must-haves and nice-to-haves.

Because of our long-time focus on the financial function, helping clients define what is needed in the role is second nature to Arnold Partners. We act as a management consultant specializing in executive search, adding value from day one, even in the pre-search process. The average time it has taken us to complete searches in the last year is just under three months, proof positive that this value creation also has the benefit of saving time as well.

Watch out for too much speed

bestSpeed in search is important to most clients at the onset because some event is pending, or the client realizes that the decision to hire a CFO should have been made months before. Perhaps a budget was blown, or a market shift could have been anticipated if there had been a CFO in the seat.  But moving too fast may result in a hire that doesn’t stick. Then you are back to the drawing board. After digging back into all of the CFO searches I have completed, I am proud to report that the average tenure of the CFOs I have placed is 38 months. This includes a number of placements where the companies ended up getting acquired in fairly short order. Of those companies that have not been acquired and are still in operation, the average tenure is 48 months. These CFOs are sticking in place because time was correctly invested.

So the averages are good, what about the mistakes?

Nothing is more demoralizing and costly than a bad hire. A bad executive hire is even worse. Can you expect success on every search? You can if you choose the right firm. To date, Arnold Partners has a 100% success rate, meaning the CFO was in place for a minimum of a year.  We have been rehired to conduct replacement searches twice – once after the CFO was on the job for three years but developed a health issue, and once because the client moved from Seattle to the Bay Area.  As we guarantee our work for a year, we are proud to say we have not had to employ that guarantee.

In Sum

Every CFO search firm should have a score card on these three measures.  If you like our top marks for quality, speed, and longevity, call me, Dave Arnold at 408-205-7373 or email


Successful CFO Placement for OCZ Technologies

Investors: Public, Stage: Public with significant challenges.

OCZ (Nasdaq: OCZT) is going through major changes. After a CEO succession, a new CFO was also needed. This difficult assignment needed to be handled with tenacity and a deep tap into the local CFO network. The company is now off to a new set of successes.


Auxogyn CFO Placement

Investors: Kleiner Perkins, TPG. Stage: Commercial launch

This ground breaking imaging software company is revolutionizing the IVF market. With a marketing focused CEO, the BOD and CEO needed a strong number two to help support their rapid growth and expected IPO path. We delivered!


CFO for Successfully Placed

Investors, Reid Hoffman, Omidyar Networks, Stage: Rapid Global Growth

The highly regarded Kiva organization had been seeking a CFO for over two years when they turned to Arnold Partners for help. We helped streamline the criteria and process and helped them attract a true winner to support their growth.