Welcome to the first blog post in our CFO Stories series, where we interview successful CFOs and finance leaders about their unique career paths.
Whether you're an aspiring CFO, a seasoned financial professional, or simply someone fascinated by the world of finance, this series promises to provide valuable insights and practical advice to help you in your own journey.
First to take center stage is none other than Daniel Echeverri, Executive Director of FP&A at Warner Bros Discovery and the previous CFO of Renault Mexico.
Daniel's story is one of determination, resilience, and innovative thinking. It's about harnessing the opportunities that come your way, creating value in unexpected places, and always pushing the boundaries to stay ahead of the game.
Keep reading as we unravel Daniel Echeverri's CFO story - a tale of leading, learning, and leveling up in the world of finance.
My educational background has significantly impacted my success as a CFO. As a Mechatronic Engineer, I have a deep understanding of processes and systems, and how to strive for optimal efficiency.
Working in a manufacturing plant early on in my career helped me understand how value is created in a company. And, my educational pursuits in finance, business excellence, and mergers and acquisitions have provided me with the necessary knowledge and skills to lead financial organizations effectively.
Continued education and modern CFOs
Continued education is vital for modern CFOs, especially in areas like developing high-performance teams and learning about new technologies for finance.
CFOs must stay up-to-date with the latest trends and technologies in finance to ensure their organizations remain competitive and meet the evolving needs of the business.
My career path leading up to my current CFO position has been varied, starting in logistics and transport costs before working with distributors and dealers. I served as the Chief of Staff for LATAM before becoming a CFO.
The pivotal roles and experiences that shaped my journey include working with cross-functional teams, developing strategies that align with the overall business objectives, and leading finance transformations.
As I progressed in my career, the main challenge I faced was learning to depend on my team and peers rather than solely on myself. It was important to learn how to develop together while growing as an organization.
Through effective mentorship and by continuously learning and helping others, I overcame these challenges and developed the necessary skills to lead successful finance teams.
Networking and mentorship
Mentorship has been a critical aspect of my journey to becoming a CFO. Choosing the right mentors and understanding which feedback is beneficial is crucial.
Networking should be the result of overperforming in your assignments and helping others to achieve common goals.
Skills and qualities
The specific skills or qualities that were crucial to my success in obtaining the CFO role include:
- Having common sense
- Being a team player
- Striving to overperform
- Being curious
- Continuously learning
- Helping others
The changing role of a CFO
The role of a CFO has evolved significantly since I first began my career in finance. It's no longer perceived as just a bookkeeper but is now a key player in driving digital transformation and acting as a business partner for every area of the company.
As a CFO, I have adapted to these changes by continuously staying curious and learning how to work effectively with other departments while implementing new technologies that drive the company’s growth.
Keeping up with industry trends
To stay current with industry trends, regulatory changes, and emerging technologies in the finance world, I regularly join courses offered by universities and companies. I also network with my peers and attend finance conferences to learn from thought leaders and industry experts.
Advice for aspiring CFOs
My advice to aspiring CFOs who are looking to follow in my footsteps is to understand themselves as leaders and create a strategy that aligns with their personal vision and values. It is essential to continuously learn, stay curious, and build strong relationships with their teams and key stakeholders.
Key characteristics of a successful CFO
The key traits of a successful CFO in today’s business environment include being a business partner to the CEO and every area of the company, overperforming through the financial teams by implementing new technologies and driving digital transformation that contributes to the organization’s growth and success.
Collaborating with key stakeholders
To foster a healthy and productive relationship with the CEO, board of directors, and other key stakeholders, CFOs must create a full confidence environment with their partners.
This involves always speaking the truth and understanding and supporting the CEO’s and board’s strategy, which is a good beginning for a long and healthy relationship.
Leveraging digital transformation
Leveraging digital transformation and innovative technologies is essential to improving a company’s financial performance and efficiency.
CFOs must encourage and allow their teams to use different technologies in their daily activities and provide the necessary training to use them effectively.
Digital and finance transformation leader, Daniel Echeverri, is an Engineer from the Antioquia School of Engineering. He holds a Master’s degree in Finance from the EM Strasbourg Business School, as well as an MBA from the School of Administration, Finance and Technological Institute (EAFIT) in Colombia.
He also has a master’s degree in Business Excellence from HEC Montréal and studied Mergers and Acquisitions at the Stanford University Graduate School of Business and participated in the Singularity Executive Program.
Daniel began his career in the automotive industry in 2011 when he joined Renault in Colombia where he occupied different positions in logistics, transport, and finance.
Echeverri also served as Executive Secretary for the Americas in Brazil for the brand from 2018 to January 2020, the month in which he expatriated to take over the Financial Direction of the subsidiary in Mexico. In 2023, he begins his journey in the entertainment industry as Executive Director of FP&A for Warner Bros Discovery in Mexico.
Take the first step on your road to the C-Suite.👇
Download the 'Journey to CFO' eBook for more tips and advice to help you progress on your journey to the C-Suite.
What’s in this eBook?
- The secrets of the CFO role: Get the inside scoop on the essential traits and skills needed to lead at the highest level.
- Explore the intricacies of educational backgrounds and professional qualifications, and learn how to strategically leverage your expertise to ascend the ranks.
- Navigate the competitive job market and ace the interview process with insider tips and expert guidance.
- Developing essential CFO skills: Master the skills that every successful CFO needs in their arsenal.
- Developing an action plan: Forge a strategic path toward your goal with a clear, actionable plan.