The Roots of CFO.University - (03:39)

Terry White 0:00 Welcome to Focus on Biz. I’m your host, Terry White, I’m the CEO of Sunwest Trust. This show is for business people who are in business to understand that we all kind of face the same things. And then it’s for people who are thinking about going into business and maybe encourage them to take the leap and do it. So, I always like to start out with some history on the people I interview. So, start wherever you want, but kind of give us some background about yourself.

Steve Rosvold 0:25 You might notice I have a Minnesota accent, so I say a lot of “you betchas” and things like that. I grew up in Minneapolis, St. Paul and went to school there. I did my undergrad work at a school called Augsburg University, a small private school. I went to work for a large company in the area, Cargill. They’re a privately held company, one of the largest in the world, in the food manufacturing and food distribution industry. I spent 18 years with Cargill, all on the finance and accounting side. While I was with Cargill, I got my masters from the University of Chicago, the Booth School of Business and really stayed on that track, my whole career of Cargill. I spent 18 years there. My last role was as the Senior Financial Officer of their energy business. I was in their grain business.

Steve Rosvold 1:08 But I was looking to do the accounting, the finance piece to bring value through quicker reporting, big insight to what’s going on in the business from a financial perspective. When I left Cargill, I went to a company called ConAgra Malt, a multinational company where I was the CFO. We had businesses across the world in four different countries, and we operated 16 plants. Very fun industry because it serves a fun industry, brewing. Malt is, barley processed into its fermentable sugars to are used to make beer.

Steve Rosvold 1:57 I spent four years with ConAgra Malt, had a great time. And we produced about a million tons of malt each year. Some of the big issues in that industry at the time use overcapacity. So there was a real thoughtful approach to how we analyzed the financials, looked at our customers, integrated all the answers insight we could from our recordkeeping, and then overlay that with our customer experience, and how we made sure that we kept the big customers happy while the craft brewing industry started to explode. So that was a really fun time for me and my first real CFO job.

Terry White 2:17 How big of an organization was that, I’m just curious.

Steve Rosvold 2:20 250 people. We had 16 plants in four different countries. So, it’s a global operation, lot of fun challenges, lot of learning and we were responsible for our own financing. We were a joint venture with another company out of South Africa, Tiger Brands. A 50/50 joint venture. Neither partner wanted to consolidate our financials for their reporting. So, they pretty much kept their hands off our business. I had access to a lot of resources, but we got to make of the key decisions ourselves. It was really a fun and great growing experience.

Steve Rosvold 2:46 I wouldn’t give any of that big corporate experience up for anything. It was really helpful for me, although that isn’t a track that I think all entrepreneurs have to take.

Steve Rosvold 2:56 After that, I started a CFO consulting practice and I did that for the last 15 years. Over the last couple years, that has actually morphed into a mentoring operation where I mentor CFOs and CEOs. in mostly financial aspects of their business. More recently, I started CFO.University, which is my current venture, It’s an online platform to train CFOs and their direct reports.


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