New Opportunity: Vice President of FP&A at Columbia Sportswear

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The Company

As a leader in the global active lifestyle apparel, footwear, accessories and equipment industry, Columbia Sportswear Company has assembled a portfolio of brands dedicated to connecting active people with their passions. In addition to the Columbia brand, Columbia Sportswear Company also owns the Mountain Hardwear, SOREL and prAna brands.

Founded in 1938 as a small hat company in Portland, Oregon, Columbia Sportswear Company today has grown into an industry icon with almost $3 billion in annual sales. As a global company, its brands are now sold in approximately 90 countries.

Company Chairman Gert Boyle has been at the helm for nearly 50 years, and her “Tough Mother” persona helped Columbia grow into the global sportswear brand it is today.

Back in 1938, Gert’s parents were immigrants who fled Nazi Germany and settled in Portland, where they purchased a small hat manufacturer, naming it the Columbia Hat Company after one of their new home’s iconic rivers. This humble beginning marked a newfound freedom and a fresh start for the family. The business eventually passed from Gert’s father to her husband Neal, and then to Gert herself when she went from housewife to executive overnight after Neal’s sudden passing in 1970. Today, Gert’s son Tim Boyle is Columbia Sportswear Company’s longtime President and CEO, and her grandson Joe Boyle serves as Columbia Brand President.

Still based in Portland, Oregon, the company is dedicated to making no-nonsense apparel, footwear and accessories to keep consumers warm, dry, cool and protected — no matter what. Defined by its innovative gear, Pacific Northwest heritage, irreverent spirit and family business ethos, Columbia’s products continue to gain worldwide recognition, enabling them to unlock the outdoors for everyone.

2018 Key Statistics
Revenues: ~$2.8 Billion |  Mkt Cap: ~$6.5B |  Ticker: COLM (Nasdaq)
Employees: ~6000 |  Audit Firm: Deloitte
Global Distribution: Wholesale, Company Owned Retail locations, eCommerce

The Position

The Vice President, Financial Planning and Analysis (FP&A) leads all aspects of Columbia Sportswear Company’s global financial planning and analysis activities with the objective of enabling our business to grow profitably. Engaging with business leaders throughout the Company, this position is responsible for driving the Company’s long-range financial planning, budgeting and forecasting activities as well as management reporting and profitability analysis. The FP&A team plays a critical role advising, influencing and supporting business/financial decisions to drive sustainable and profitable sales growth.

This position engages closely with the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) to inform and advise the senior executive team regarding the Company’s financial performance, financial plans and major investment decisions. Additionally, the position plays a meaningful role supporting preparation and presentation of information for Board meetings and supports preparation of the Company’s earnings releases including financial guidance.

The position manages a group of finance professionals which encompasses corporate, brand, region/channel, supply chain and other finance teams as well as the Company’s enterprise performance management systems team.

This position reports directly to our Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer.

Responsibilities

General Leadership – Provide leadership to the Company’s Global FP&A team which is responsible for supporting our brands, regions/channels and major functional business areas. Develop organizational priorities and goals to drive focus and motivation across the team. Additionally, proactively engage with broader finance leadership team to support cross-functional projects and other activities.

Financial Planning Leadership – Lead the development and execution of the Company’s major financial planning activities including long-range plans, budgets, forecasts (including earnings guidance) and product margin planning. Engage with executive leadership and strategic planning teams to drive connectivity between top-down financial objectives and strategic priorities with bottoms-up financial plans.

Revenue and Inventory Planning – Partner closely with key stakeholders in Planning, Regional Sales (wholesale and retail), Merchandising and others to contribute and influence the development of sales and inventory plans. Actively engage with Supply Chain Operations program leadership to enhance the effectiveness (plan quality and accuracy) of these processes. Participate in executive leadership meetings related to sales and inventory forecasts as well as Sales and Operations Planning (S&OP) which lead to inventory purchase decisions, allocation of inventory between regions/channels and liquidation of excess inventory.

Financial Performance Analysis - Engage with the finance organization worldwide to conduct rigorous analysis of actual and planned financial performance to identify opportunities, risks and underlying business issues. Leverage this information to articulate major themes, business trends, and to proactively address problems and develop action plans. Lead Quarterly Financial Reviews (QFR) with finance leadership team (CFO, CAO, etc.) to understand financial performance, evaluate impact to financial outlook and frame key storylines in preparation for executive updates, Board meetings and earnings calls.

Decision Support – Partner closely with the CFO and other stakeholders to inform and provide insights regarding the Company’s financial performance and financial plans. Leverage this information and influencing skills to support executive decision making including, but not limited to, strategic initiatives / major projects, capital expenditures, real estate investments, personnel related decisions, product margins, inventory purchases, demand creation spending and other forms of investment/spending.

Executive Leadership Support and Board Meetings – Lead the development of financial presentations to support SLT and Board meetings. Leverage analytical and presentation skills to identify and tell key storylines and themes to enable thorough understanding of performance and isolate key issues and decisions.

Quarterly Earnings Release Support – Engage closely with the CFO and Director of Investor Relations to provide reporting, analysis and financial guidance for quarterly earnings releases and conference calls. Anticipate information needs and investor questions to conduct and prepare supporting analysis. Participate in earnings release drafting sessions to contribute to the development of the earnings release, CFO commentary and CEO script. Provide support during quarterly earnings release conference call and engage in post-earnings call discussions with investment analysts.

Management Reporting and Profitability Analysis – Enhance the Company’s management reporting and profitability analysis capabilities including, but not limited to, sales and profitability performance by brand, region and channel. Leverage this information to effectively inform leadership and to influence investment decision making.

Finance & Enterprise Data and Analytics – Lead the evolution of data and analytics within the Finance function and contribute to broader enterprise data and analytics efforts (engaging with Enterprise Analytics Team). Develop a vision and plan of execution to establish a team/resources and to align on purpose and focus of finance data and analytics.

Enterprise Performance Management – Provide oversight and guidance to the Company’s Enterprise Performance Management team who is responsible for developing and maintaining systems which support financial reporting, management reporting, financial planning, operational planning and other similar business processes. Assist team in defining priorities, determining resource allocation and supporting business stakeholders.

Scenario and Contingency Planning – Develop and maintain financial scenario models and assessments of business risks and opportunities in order to inform executive management, anticipate changes in business/financial performance and consider contingency plans.

Manager and Coach – Provides leadership of FP&A team through a combination of empowerment and coaching with the objective of encouraging staff development and elevating team performance. Maintaining a highly motivated and engaged team is a key success factor.

Culture & People

  • Strong leadership with the ability to shape and drive global strategic agendas, and effectively communicate and influence outcomes in a highly cross-functional and complex organizational environment.
  • Possess the agility to engage at the senior executive level, translate abstract concepts into defined objectives.
  • Provide leadership and mentorship to team of professionals.
  • Create vision and define objectives for team, providing opportunities for individual and team development, cross-training, and learning.
  • Proven ability to drive for results, fostering a culture of relentless improvement.
  • Develop strong working relationships across functions within the company, acting as a trusted business partner and advisor to the leadership team.
  • Dependable advocate for Columbia Sportswear Company, the Finance Department, and your team.

Job Scope

Job consists of highly complex and varied work situations. Incumbent has leadership responsibility for a team of professionals and interacts with Senior Management and Executive Management on a regular basis. Position is responsible for setting priorities for self and staff under the overall vision and leadership of the Chief Financial Officer. Position seeks guidance of Chief Financial Officer and other executives, as appropriate, to align expectations and set priorities. Duties are performed independently with minimal supervision and work is verified by results. Position has high visibility due to direct exposure to Senior and Executive Management and potential impact to profitability. Errors in judgment or work performance could result in insufficient profitability for Columbia Sportswear Company.

Interpersonal Contacts

Contacts are normally made with others inside the organization. On a project basis, position may also interact with external vendors.  Internal contacts include various cross-functional business partners, leadership across Columbia Sportswear Company functions, and Executive management. Interactions tend to focus on information exchange, problem solving, explanation, discussion and interpretations. Contacts regularly contain highly confidential/sensitive information. Incumbent regularly initiates contacts on his/her own with frequent e-mail communications and regular face-to-face interaction.

Specific Job Skills

Possesses superior business and financial acumen and ability to effectively support and influence executive-level decision making. Proven ability to lead cross-functional teams and provide project management support. Demonstrated ability to complete quantitative and qualitative analysis and financial models. Advanced problem-solving skills with the ability to identify potential and/or existing issues, evaluate available options and recommend corrective action. Excellent written and oral communication skills including presentation delivery. Superior interpersonal skills and ability to work cross-functionally. Demonstrated ability to manage multiple projects at once.

Requirements

  • Bachelor’s degree in accounting, finance or related field required. MBA or advanced degree is highly preferred.
  • Minimum of 10 years of leadership experience in corporate finance, financial planning & analysis and related fields
  • 10+ years of management and leadership experience at the director and/or executive levels developing a finance function in a rapid growth and changing business environment is required.
  • Knowledge of current and emerging trends and developments within the FP&A field and corresponding impact on business operations.
  • Leadership and strategic management skills to develop, coach, and direct the performance of a team to achieve goals and objectives.
  • Executive presence with which to interact and influence at all levels of the organization.
  • Skills and ability to clearly and concisely communicate verbally and in writing to convey complex concepts clearly and logically.
  • Critical thinking and analytical skills, including the capacity to identify, assess and prioritize competing interests and needs.
  • Skill and ability to strategically execute within a fast-paced, deadline-oriented and complex environment.
  • Ability to maintain confidentiality and maintain appropriate discretion.

Interest in leaning more?

180one is a retained search firm and has been engaged by Columbia Sportswear Company to manage this search. If interested in learning more about the opportunity, please contact Matt Oltmann at 180one.


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