When 21-year PwC veteran Mark McCaffrey decided that it was time to open his post-PwC career, he briefed the firm’s U.S leadership about his plans, diligently outlined 24 months of departure prep, and set aside an extra helping of patience.
Two weeks later, he had a CFO job offer from publicly traded Internet domain company GoDaddy.
“At the time, I thought that I’d have a couple of years to figure out what my next step was going to be,” recalls McCaffrey, whose 2021 CFO appointment was notable not just for the speed with which McCaffrey landed the role but also for the substance behind the match that was made.
From the outset, McCaffrey knew that feeling a “connection” with the CEO was one of his prerequisites for accepting any offer that may have come his way. As for GoDaddy’s tender, McCaffrey’s would be the first CFO appointment on CEO Aman Bhutani’s watch.
When McCaffrey and Bhutani met for the first time, the PwC veteran tells us, “I turned to my wife and said, ‘I’m going to go work for this guy.’”
Of course, McCaffrey had other reasons to feel confident about the match. Only weeks earlier, he had contacted Mark Garrett, the former CFO of Adobe, to let him know he was “looking at opportunities” outside PwC. Turn back the clock, and McCaffrey had helped to lead a number of teams under Garrett, as part of Adobe’s headline-grabbing transition to a cloud-based subscription model.
“Hey, I have your next gig,” was Garrett’s unexpected response to McCaffrey’s outreach. For his part, Garrett served on several company boards including Cisco and Go Daddy, where he was chairman of its audit committee.
While McCaffrey was confident that a “connection” had been made, outsiders perhaps wondered whether the PwC veteran was an optimal match for GoDaddy and its ambitious CEO—who envisions the domain-purchasing platform becoming a one-stop shop for entrepreneurs in the digital age. This is a vision, we are told, that requires an endless flow of data insights that can be turned into actionable knowledge, and subsequently into a strategic advantage for not only GoDaddy but its 21 million customers.
As for McCaffrey—who segued away from accounting early in his career to spend the most recent 10 years in the upper ranks of the PwC’s consulting business—a passion for building and leading teams has often put him on the front lines of business transformations such as the one Adobe underwent.
Frequently, McCaffrey recalls, such transformations have involved “frameworks” that were capable of realigning the priorities of an organization for the digital age.
“Data becomes knowledge, knowledge becomes actionable insights, and actionable insights drive outcomes,” observes McCaffrey, as he outlines a framework from his consulting days that has taken on a new life at GoDaddy.
Says McCaffrey: “It’s never a linear path. It’s a circular route because you have to iterate, adapt, and have a feedback loop to make it all happen. This has been the strategic lens for everything that we’ve done from a team perspective.” –Jack Sweeney