2017 Vardis Private Equity CFO Survey

/ OVERVIEW: During October 2017 (following up on its 2016 survey), Vardis contacted the CFOs of 925 North American Private Equity portfolio companies to review job content, differences between private equity and traditional corporate finance roles, compensation and expectations. Those surveyed represent the full spectrum of private equity portfolio companies and investors in size, industry, geography and investment style. We are pleased to share this overview with you.



As in past years, the survey focuses on the role of PE CFO, how it differs from traditional corporate CFOs, how PE firms interact with their portfolio company CFOs, and provides an overview of compensation trends for the CFO function.  Among the highlights of this year’s report:
  • Demand and a tight supply of “PE ready” CFOs is driving significant increases in CFO compensation, particularly in the lower middle market and middle market.  Overall cash compensation is up 10% year over year and the “base case” value of equity grants is up 25% over 2016.  In addition, there is now little to no little difference in compensation between PE CFOs and their public market counterparts. 
  • PE firms continue to look for those who’ve proven they can return value to investors.  Only one-third of those surveyed are first time CFOs and almost half have a successful exit (or two or three) under their belts.
  • PE firm focus on “business partners” and strength in decision support and FP&A place a significant premium on these skills and an expectation among PE CFOs of continued investment in these areas.
  • The role of “PE CFO” has become a career path in and of itself with more CFOs viewing their careers episodically and few relocating to the cities where they work.




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