September 20, 2018

CFO Rising Conference

Russian Spy Who Attended CFO Conference Was That Annoying Person You Can’t Shake at Such Events

Donald Howard Heathfield is “Defendant #4” of the eleven alleged Russian spies and it turns out that he was playing pretty true to the part of a go-getter executive looking to network his ass off.

CFO reports that “prodigious networker” Heathfield attended the CFO Rising Conference that was held in Orlando in March and he was well remembered by some of the other attendees. Not only for his persistence (we’re imagining really aggressive handshakes, name tag prominently placed, business cards in a holster) but for his just plain weirdness and his ginormous business card:

“I met him early on in the conference, and he was very persistent in trying to reengage,” recalls John Kahn, CFO of a private-equity-backed portfolio company. “I didn’t reengage with him. He just seemed slightly strange.” Kahn still has Heathfield’s business card, which folds out to twice the size of a normal business card and contains a somewhat inscrutable description of the company’s mission: “Future Map gives leaders a synthetic ‘big picture’ of anticipated future. Future Map helps building proactive collaborative leadership cultures.”

Frankly, the “inscrutable description” doesn’t sound that much different from all the other hustlers out there but whatever. Supposedly this was extra, extra inscrutable, even by business conference standards. Anyhoo, another attendee just found DHH to be flat out annoying:

He started talking to me, and I couldn’t shake him,” says Frank Quigley, CEO of CFO Publishing, who remembers Heathfield approaching him in a hallway outside the meeting rooms and seeking introductions to specific conference speakers and attendees. “There was no doubt in my mind when I saw his photo that I recalled the encounter and the persistence of it, and the vagueness of who he was.”

Obviously Mr Quigley did not have any pre-arranged signals to get him out of bad convos. HUGE MISTAKE.

Back to our Russian friend – if you visit his LinkedIn page you’ll see that he keeps it similarly inscrutable with a past position being, “Partner at Global Partners, Inc.” and specializing in “Comprehensive management of Risks and Uncertainties, Anticipatory Leadership, Building of Future Scenarios, Development and Execution of Future Strategies, Capture of Strategic Opportunities, Global Account Management.”

Considering his use of buzzwords, we’re not surprised at all that he was able to blend in so well. No word on the prevalence of acronyms but despite what people are saying, he was more like them then they could possibly even realized.

Spies Like…Us? [CFO]