August 10, 2020

Accounting Career Moves: When Faced with a Choice, Do You Go with Prestige or Power?

Let's use Luca Maestri’s move from Xerox to Apple as a discussion starter:

Apple Inc. (AAPL), the world’s most valuable company, has hired Xerox Corp. (XRX) Chief Financial Officer Luca Maestri as its corporate controller. […] “Moving from Xerox to Apple is a step up, even going from CFO to controller,” John Bright, an analyst at Avondale Partners LLC, said in an interview. “Is this a stepping stone? It certainly could be.”
But he was CFO, wasn’t he? Some people would never give up the access, power, and control that a CFO position provides them. Hell, for some organizations, the CFO can be the de facto boss and it can eventually lead to the big chair. 
 
Maestri’s move is certainly a calculated one –- he’s giving up title for a subordinate position at a far more prestigious company and maybe the outside shot at one day becoming the CFO of said prestigious company. In a way he's letting go of ego a bit here by sacrificing the C-suite, but at the same time he's feeding it by ditching a has-been for one of the most successful companies in the history of U.S. business.
 
Similarly, we've seen many, many people (read: KPMG partners) leave their jobs to join PwC, presumably leaving the fast track to the top echelons of the House of Klynveld for lesser roles within a firm that is accepted as the most prestigious in its industry.
 
So if (or when) faced with a similar choice in your career, which way do you go? Will your ambition get the best of you or does playing on the best team mean more? Discuss.
 

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