Eric Shander is getting a boatload of new responsibilities and a much higher profile as well as a $65,000 pay bump as he moves to Red Hat’s chief financial officer from chief accounting officer. In an in-depth Q&A, Shander talks about his new job and why he left IBM where he had followed in the footsteps of his father. (He also worked at Lenovo, by the way.)

Earlier this week, Red Hat made the CFO title official for Shander, 48. He had been named interim CFO in January after the departure of Frank Frank Calderoni who resigned to become CEO of a Silicon Valley startup. According to an SEC filing, Raleigh-based Red Hat said the world’s top Open Source Linux developer and services provider would boost Shander’s pay to $450,000 from $385,000. He’s also eligible for a 40 percent bonus.

But Shander says there are many reasons other than pay for taking the job.

Our Q&A:

  • Congratulations on the promotion. Why did you decide to accept it?

Thank you, I am humbled and honored by the opportunity to serve Red Hat in this critical capacity.

This truly is a dream job for me, Red Hat has a very special culture which makes it an exciting place to work with very talented people and we have a great product portfolio which is resonating well in the market as evidenced by our continued growth..60 quarters in a row of revenue growth!

For me personally, I have spent the majority of my career in the tech sector, and to be with a company as Innovative and exciting as Red Hat is an honor.

  • What are the major differences between chief accounting officer and the CFO position?

The CAO role is primarily focused on executing the daily operational activities to ensure we deliver high quality financial results that are in compliance with all of the relevant Technical Accounting Standards. As the CAO, I spent a lot of my time with our team running the daily financial operations and advising the business on how to account for complex transactions.

The CFO role has a more broad and strategic responsibility to partner across all the functions in Red Hat to ensure we are properly investing in the right areas that will enable us to continue our growth while identifying areas that can be more efficient.

Said a bit differently, this role has accountability to ensure we invest in the areas that will create business value for our customers, our shareholders, and our associates.

Another very important area for the CFO role is to articulate our business and financial strategy to our investors, which is something new to me personally, and I have really enjoyed this part of the job!

  • What challenges have you had to overcome in the interim CFO job? Was that a stretch, and how did you manage the move? CEO Jim Whitehurst must have been pleased since he promoted you.

If you go back to the end of December last year, we had just announced our Q3 results and we also had announced that our CFO, Frank Calderoni, was leaving. Right after the holidays, Jim and I went on a road tour to meet with many of our key investors to share with them what was happening and reassure them that our business strategy remained the same and that we would get back on track.

The reason I share this is, for me personally, investor relations was not something I had done a lot of in my past and here I was faced with meeting many of our investors for the first time and trying to earn their trust and confidence.

This taught me quickly how important it is to be visible and available, and we have a great set of investors that trusted us. I’m proud to say the team did a great job delivering a very strong Q4 and finish to our fiscal year.

Part Two: Why Shander left IBM for Red Hat after reading Jim Whitehurst’s book “The Open Organization.”

BIO: Eric Shander

As Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Eric Shander is responsible for leading the global finance organization for Red Hat Inc., the world’s leading provider of open source solutions. He most recently served as Red Hat’s acting CFO, and vice president and chief accounting officer. Since joining Red Hat in 2015, Shander has helped build a world-class finance operation. Shander came to Red Hat with more than 25 years of financial, operational, and business leadership experience at global software and technology companies, including IBM and Lenovo.

At IBM, Shander held several key roles in the company’s finance and operations organizations, including serving as the company’s vice president of Americas IT infrastructure delivery from 2011-2015, leading an organization comprised of more than 22,000 IT professionals. Prior to that he ran IBM’s Finance and Accounting Global Process Services division from 2008-2011.

Prior to that, he ran IBM’s Finance and Accounting Global Process Services division from 2008-2011. Shander rejoined IBM in 2008 from Lenovo, where he was the company’s vice president and chief accountant. At Lenovo, he led the formation of the global CFO function immediately after the company acquired IBM’s PC business in 2005. Prior to Lenovo, Shander spent nearly 15 years at IBM, where he held a variety of finance and accounting roles.

Source: Red Hat