Parkbridge Lifestyle Communities Expands Strategically with Interim CFO

27 January 2015

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Parkbridge Lifestyle Communities, Canada’s leading owner of residential and recreational communities, was rapidly expanding when its Chief Financial Officer decided to leave the company. The departure left a challenging gap in the management team.

“Because of the stage of our growth as an organization, we were not prepared to rush the search for a CFO,” said Katherine Gyles, Vice President of Human Resources and Organizational Effectiveness at Parkbridge. In the long term, the company needed an experienced CFO to help guide its national growth strategy. In the short term, it needed to fill the executive gap quickly, to keep the company on track during the search for a permanent CFO.

Leveraging intellectual capital on demand

Parkbridge turned to Odgers Interim to help them find an experienced finance executive to meet its short-term need. Odgers Interim quickly tapped into its extensive network of qualified Interim executives, rigorously screening potential candidates to fit Parkbridge’s specific requirements.

Within days, Sam Greiss, a Toronto-based executive with a long career in real estate and finance, was in place as Interim CFO at Parkbridge’s head office in Calgary. Sam quickly became an integral part of the management team. His past experience had prepared him to take the lead on projects and to support his new colleagues in planning for and managing the company’s significant growth in developing residential communities, resorts and marinas.

With Sam, Odgers Interim brought the intellectual-capital-on-demand that Parkbridge needed, while buying the company time to think strategically about their future. “Having an interim CFO allowed us to take a comfortable breath and evaluate the skills, experience and competencies we would need for our new CFO,” said Katherine. “We were able to be more thoughtful in looking at candidates that would allow us to restructure the role of CFO in a way that was more suitable for an organization at this stage of tremendous growth.”

For Sam, being Interim CFO was a great way to take a new step in his career while being part of a growth-oriented company. “To be effective in an interim role you need to resist the natural inclination to ‘dive in’ and focus instead on what can be accomplished within a limited time-frame. I was fortunate to have great support from the Parkbridge staff at all levels. I believe this enabled me to make a meaningful contribution from the start.”

Interim opens doors to new opportunities

While Sam was acting as the Interim CFO, Odgers Berndtson successfully recruited Mark Gow, as Parkbridge’s new full-time CFO. With Mark accepting the new CFO position, Parkbridge knew they weren’t ready to say goodbye to Sam. They decided to offer him the role of Chief Operating Officer – a new role that Sam could perform from Toronto.

“The Interim solution allowed both sides to really get to know each other very well,” said Sam, who is now on board as full-time COO at Parkbridge, continuing the company’s strategic expansion. “This was a win-win for us,” said Katherine. “It has resulted in a stronger executive team leading the charge.”


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