611: An Acquisitive State of Mind | Jon Nguyen, CFO, Kyriba

Listen to the Episode Below (00:32:59)

Jon Nguyen got his first taste of M&A-related work in the early to mid-2000s when he served as the vice president of finance partner for the auto lending unit of HSBC.

“In consumer lending, you end up doing a lot of portfolio purchases rather than equity ones, but I have become more involved in the execution of deals over the past 8 years,” says Nguyen, who sees the past 8 years as a standout chapter in his career that has allowed him to certify his M&A credentials and exposed the path to the CFO office.

Turn back the clock 8 years, and Nguyen is vice president of finance for Mitchell International, a $600 million software and services business. As the company’s FP&A leader, Nguyen was tasked with supplying key insights to management decision-making behind the sale of Mitchell to KKR in 2013. Meanwhile, 5 years later, Nguyen was once more in the M&A diligence mix when KKR sold Mitchell to Stone Point Capital. Along the way, Nguyen’s M&A resume quickly expanded.

“At Mitchell, we were very acquisitive, and during my tenure there, we acquired 12 to 15 companies,” says Nguyen, who frequently became charged with leading the integration of Mitchell’s latest bounty.

In mid-2018, following the sale of Mitchell to Stone Point, Nguyen joined cloud treasury and finance solutions company Kyriba as senior vice president of FP&A. Roughly a year later, he was named Kyriba’s CFO—a development that came on the heels of Kyriba’s sale to private equity firm BridgePoint. There’s little question that Nguyen’s latest career chapter has a familiar ring to it and is perhaps part of a larger M&A volume that he first started creating 8 years ago.

Says Nguyen: “It’s interesting how life can take you where you belong.” –Jack Sweeney

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Guest: Jon Nguyen

Company: Kyriba

Connect: www.kyriba.com

Headquarters: San Diego, CA

CFOTL: What are your priorities as a finance leader over the next 12 months?

Nguyen: We’re taking proactive action toward making sure that our employees are safe. We ordered a lot of N95 masks and are distributing these to employees. We are shut down through November from a physical office location standpoint. We’re protecting them from an employment standpoint. We’re not trimming people’s bonuses or salaries. Really, all that this means is that both from a finance perspective and from an organizational perspective, we will be ready to hit the ground running—fast—when we come out of this.

That’s our priority for the next 12 months. Again, this is both from a finance perspective and from a people perspective. From a finance standpoint, it’s about making sure that you have access to capital and that you can invest in the right way. I think that all of us are thinking twice about our past investments. Maybe now you come to the same conclusions, but you’re going to think twice about them. You’re going to be a little bit more methodical about some of the investments that you’re making. We’re doing this now. We’re being a little bit more methodical about which direction we’re taking when it comes to technology investments, real estate, and what’s going to happen with this “work from home” environment. We think that this is going to become a little bit more prevalent. We’ve actually adapted very well to it. So, we’re rethinking our real estate strategy.

These times have really been a catalyst for organizations to rethink everything that they’ve done over the past 5 years, because the next 5 years, I think, are going to be quite a bit different from what they were during the previous 5 years. jb