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Fingers in Many Pies

Freedom to manoeuvre means CFO Pell isn't looking to go permanent

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All in the Planning
However, she recognises that sometimes the best-laid plans can go awry. After Caterpillar she spent another two-and-a-half years as FD at Future TV, a company she describes as more sophisticated than, and earlier than, Tivo.

“The problem was that it was way ahead of its time. It relied on a rollout of broadband which just didn’t happen. Some companies will fold through no lack of ability.”

After Future she moved to Eclipse Scientiifc, a company which did testing on food, drink and drugs from Viagra and vodka among other things. There she learned the perils of combining companies having being oversold on the promise of a new accounting system that would in theory help the company make the leap from DOS to the web but turned out to be full of bugs.

Her last position was at Sirus in the emerging field of biotech, which has its own unique challenges as a sector.

“I hadn’t realised the amount of money that goes in to research and development. There’s very little opportunity to make money because it’s not like software where you make a product, modularise or add to later.”

It also means dealing with VC, “an interesting bunch of people” as she puts it with some diplomacy, noting that one level of complexity is working with multiple VCs at various stages of their portfolios.

As for the future, Pell says she has no interest in being a CEO even though she believes that it is an appropriate career path for many CFOs. For now at least she’s content to live without the politics of the full-time world and enjoy the freedom to work with multiple partners.


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