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Back seat or center stage? CFOs and the media
This first report in The Master CFO Series relates to the CFO’s role in communicating with the media.
It is based on a survey conducted with 260 CFOs across EMEIA, as well as insights drawn from interviews with experts in media and communication. The survey was conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit.
CFOs can rarely be accused of seeking the media limelight. When crisis strikes or a major announcement is made, it is the chief executive who is typically expected to take center stage. While CFOs are always on hand at press conferences to run through financial results or answer technical questions, they usually take a back seat when it comes to courting journalists or building a public profile. But, there are signs that this is changing.
Not all CFOs will have a role, or indeed want a role, beyond engaging with the media on the annual or quarterly communication of financial results. However, a significant number are involved in media communication which is broader, both in subject matter - given a widening role and stakeholder expectations for a narrative beyond pure numbers - and channel, given the fragmentation of the media and fierce competition to get the story. But are they getting the support they need to make the most of this expanding role?