When Checkout.com CFO Céline Dufétel tells us that her career decision-making has been driven not so much by titles or status but by an inner push to acquire the next level of skills or types of skills, we can’t help but note a mysterious coincidence.
It seems that a former McKinsey & Company partner had just shared the exact same thought with us word for word. Moreover, so, too, had a former CFO of T. Rowe Price. Of course, there’s a sound explanation for this concurrence, and—much like with the solution to an Agatha Christie mystery—the answer is perhaps best read out loud: “The former McKinseyite, the former T. Rowe CFO, and Checkout.com’s CFO are the same person.”Read More
For Dufétel, the path to the CFO office at Checkout.com began at McKinsey, where 10 years ago she was the leader of the consulting firm’s North American Asset Management practice. Two years earlier, Dufétel had been named a McKinsey partner, a prestigious milestone for an up-and-comer who would ultimately spend 10 years at the firm.
“Being a consultant, not only did you have to come in with a good strategy answer for your client, but also you had to convince them that it was the right answer for them,” comments Dufétel, who credits the strategy house with strengthening her “influencing skills.”
Dufétel left the strategy house in 2014 to serve as global head of marketing for investment management firm Neuberger Berman—a 3-year stint that ultimately allowed her to switch tracks.
“Leaving McKinsey to take on a much more operational role was very informative, and it was helpful for making certain that I was in tune operationally and would be able to execute well,” remarks Dufétel, who exited Neuberger after an executive search consultant had gauged her interest in a CFO position with asset management T. Rowe Price.
At T. Rowe, Dufétel also acquired COO responsibilities before ending a 4-year CFO tenure there in order to be named CFO and COO of Checkout.com.
And so it goes inside the time-bending career of Céline Dufétel, whose resume no doubt stress-tested the selection criteria for more than one “40 Under 40” list. (she appeared on Fortune’s back in 2020). –Jack Sweeney
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CFOTL: Tell us about Checkout.com … what does this company do, and what are its offerings today?
Dufétel: We’re a global fintech. We’re focused on digital payments. Our mission is to enable businesses and their communities to thrive in the digital economy. How do we this? We provide access to global payments to a variety of different segments. We work with fintechs, we work with e-commerce, we work in services as well. We primarily focus on enterprise clients for whom we abstract the complexity of payments. It’s all about the simplicity of integrating with us, our access to many geographies, and then, of course, the performance of our solutions. In payments, it’s about giving great acceptance rates for those payments to our clients. We also are very focused on providing best-in-class service and having true partnerships with our clients.Read More
We work with very sophisticated organizations, large enterprise organizations, and we’re here to solve their problems. We compete with some incumbent organizations such as Worldpay and banks, as well as with the new generation of players such as Adia. As a CFO myself, I like to help CFOs and their payments organization drive bottom-line impact and drive growth in their organization by giving them opportunities to expand to new geographies, accept new payment methods, and have great performance of their payments, which ultimately impacts their bottom line. Of course, we also try to give them great access to data for their own processes.
I’ve brought quite a few leaders into the organization. In joining Guillaume Pousaz, our founder and CEO, on this adventure, my role in many ways has been to help the organization to mature and be ready to take on the kind of scale and complexity that we’re now taking on. The organization has grown incredibly fast. I like to remind all of my colleagues who think of us as a tech organization that we’re a fintech and also in financial services, so there’s a lot of regulation, a lot of complexity. There are things like FX risk. Essentially, as a finance organization, we’re very much part of the product because we move money around the world in many currencies and millions and millions of transactions. My role is to help to create the right set of controls and processes and right structure to help us to scale these products for our clients. I have brought additional talent into the organization to help me to achieve this. jb
“Focus on building trust and relationships to accelerate your ability to influence the business and drive change.”
– Céline Dufétel, CFO & COO, Checkout.com