Chief Legal Officer Job Description | Legal Recruiters | Legal Executive Search Firm

      Private Equity Operating Partner Job Description

      Operating partners are proven business leaders, functioning as either generalists or specialists, and have established track records of building shareholder value. They are usually more capable of developing strategies and leadership teams than a deal-oriented partner, and they are expected to spend more time levering their professional networks to successfully improve portfolio company value.[3] 

      They are usually former CEOs, COOs, CROs (Chief Revenue Officers), or CFOs with significant deal experience in general or in the VC or PE’s target industry(es). They typically focus on strategic planning, commercial growth, operational efficiency and financial controls, and lever their analytical and industry experience to solve problems facing portfolio companies.

      Operating Partner Job Description: About the Company

      Cowen Partners is a leader among the nation’s top private equity executive search firms. Nothing drives results and creates value for our private equity clients like finding them their next leader. Our hands-on executive recruiters have deep experience working with start-ups and pre-IPO companies, providing top talent and diverse candidates to fit an array of C-suite recruitment needs.

      Cities include New York City, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Portland, Denver, and Phoenix.

      Clients are typically $10 million plus in revenue and successful placements span the entire C-Suite (CEOChief Financial OfficerChief Operating OfficerChief Human Resources OfficerOperating Partner, etc.) and include vice president and director level leadership roles.

      Operating Partner Job Description: About the Opportunity

      Private equity firm focused on investing in middle market companies (EBITDA $10MM to $100MM). We focus on market-leading businesses with identifiable growth opportunities in a wide-range of industries.

      We are seeking talented operating executives to either supplant or supplement the management teams of acquisition targets in their respective industries of expertise.

      This will be a flexible relationship with opportunities to guide strategy, construct acquisition theses and participate in the execution of transactions in addition to the operating executive’s post-acquisition role.

      Ideal partners will have demonstrated experience creating shareholder value in senior executive roles and a strong understanding of industry dynamics, value levers and trends. In addition, the right partner will provide expertise and a deep network of industry contacts to source potential acquisitions, support due diligence efforts and provide board level oversight to portfolio companies.

      Operating Partner Job Description: Job Summary

      • Work with CEOs on staffing strategies for established offices and expansion locations.
      • Manage full life cycle recruitment process and onboarding of Senior level executives and a new Chief Revenue Officers and Chief Sales Officers for two platforms.
      • Provide leadership in planning, forecasting, and due diligence to support the company growth and regional expansion objectives. Develop multi-year business scenarios to establish a planning foundation to assist senior level management in providing the structural needs for office systems and human capital support.
      • Assist the investors in identifying, prioritizing, and executing the key strategic initiatives across the business plans. Develop strategic direction and growth initiatives in a format that clearly outlines ROI for the sponsors approval.
      • Map out industry landscapes, develop a plan for partial growth through acquisitions and execute accordingly.
      • Strategically lead mapping revenue projections, budget forecasts, and production expense management.
      • Ensure that other companies within PE portfolio are collaborating and communicating across our portfolio of strategic initiatives, making sure that the right team members are included to ensure successful delivery of synergies.
      • Work with senior leaders to assess and develop their growth potential, effectiveness and performance. Partner with the individual strategic leaders of each business line to establish unit realistic performance objectives, training, education, coaching and mentoring.
      • Contribute to innovation efforts to continue to expand revenue opportunities and increase profitability across all platform investments.
      • Assist with growth initiatives to include more acquisitions and partnership identification strategies. Identify, research, and develop new opportunities/business ventures that fall within and outside of existing lines of business.
      • Identify and supervise human capital resources to leverage existing team to generate additional revenue.
      • Drive a continuous improvement mindset through the company culture.
      • Protect the confidentiality of information learned by developing protocols.
      • Comply with and outwardly support both the company and PE sponsors policies and procedure.

      Operating Partner Job Description: Qualifications and Experience

      • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent experience required. Master of Business Administration (or commensurate experience) preferred.
      • 10+ years of previous operational leadership experience.
      • 5+ years managing direct and/or indirect reports. Regional leadership and oversight experience preferred.
      • Deep operations knowledge in resource planning, demand planning, business planning, corporate strategy, communications, leadership, benchmarking, and forecasting required.
      • Market research, analytical, financial modeling, metrics, and presentation skills required.
      • Strong proficiency in the use of Microsoft Word, Excel, and Outlook required.
      • Organizational and time management skills to prioritize workloads to meet time sensitive deadlines required. Must be results-oriented with the ability to change priorities as needed.
      • Must have strong verbal, written, and interpersonal communication skills to interact with all associates, with the ability to communicate with tact and diplomacy.
      • Demonstrated ability to protect confidential information.
      • Ability to travel by automobile and aircraft and be away from home for more than one day and night.
      • Manage external relations to identify, diversify, build and maintain relationships with community and surrounding cities organizations and leaders to secure a range of support and partnerships.
      • Manage solicitations with board members and sponsors, and providing outcome reports. Lead cultivation and stewardship activities for charitable endeavors.

      Operating Partner Job Description: Benefits, Culture, Etc.

      We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

      What Private Equity Firms Want CFOs to Know

      Many chief financial officers (CFOs) are excited by the opportunity to lead a private equity portfolio company’s financials. The position looks good on a resume, often comes with a certain prestige and monetary bump; however, many CFOs do not realize what it takes to be successful at a private equity backed company.

      According to a 2019 survey, the turnover rate for private equity (PE) CFOs is greater than 80 percent. A majority of these exits take place within the first two years of a PE firm acquiring a company. CFOs are not meeting expectations or understanding their role in driving value. When this happens, PE firms don’t see the results they expected and contact me, an executive recruiter, to find a new CFO candidate.  

      Seattle Executive Search Firm | Cowen Partners
      Private Equity CFO Search Firm

      Private equity environments are very demanding, and it can be difficult for the CFO to know which skills need to be honed and which pitfalls to avoid. To make the transition to a PE backed company a little easier, below are four pieces of advice private equity operating partners and executives want CFOs to know.  

      Communicate openly with your Operating Partner or PE executives

      The role of a private equity operating partner (OP) can vary greatly between PE firms and their portfolio companies. In many cases, CFOs don’t fully understand what the OP has to offer, and that is why it is important for the CFO to have open communications with their operating partner. Ask your OP what resources are available so that you can have a full understanding of the tools at your disposal. 

      CFOs should also not be afraid to occasionally push back when OPs or other PE executives make a request. For example, if a requested financial report is going to take an inordinate amount of time and resources to compile, it is OK to ask why the numbers are needed and find out what the PE firm is trying to accomplish. Explain to the executives what it will take to provide what they requested so everyone is on the same page about the resources being dedicated to the task. Time and energy may be better spent completing other work, especially when what they want can be included in a regular report. 

      Keep your messaging consistent 

      As the CFO of a private equity backed company, you should be working closely with the company CEO to deliver consistent financial reporting and data analytics to the PE firm. It is surprisingly common for CFOs and CEOs to miscommunicate or to carelessly deliver divergent information to their private equity investors. Inconsistent information and communication do not inspire confidence. A successful CFO is able to work with the CEO to produce clear, consistent information that accurately reflects the state of the business sometimes on a weekly basis. 

      Strategically invest in technology

      Due to the stringent financial reporting requirements of PE firms, staying up to date on the latest technology trends is important for increasing efficiency and staying relevant in a rapidly advancing industry. According to a 2019 survey by Deloitte, 82 percent of PE investors believe automation and technology are going to have a major impact on finance functions over the next 10 years. A successful PE CFO will make strategic investments in technology to enhance processes. Ideally, these investments will eventually cut labor costs and create a more efficient workflow within the PE portfolio company.

      As a private equity CFO, you must start embracing technology. Old school financial reporting methods are being replaced by automation and as the CFO, you must be the one leading those changes. If technological advancements are not part of your strategic plan for the portfolio company, you need to pivot to start including them.

      Private equity CFOs wear a lot of hats

      As a private equity CFO, you must be flexible and wear many different hats. Before a business is acquired by a PE firm, a CFO might be perfectly fine filling the role of accountant. After a business is acquired, however, this is no longer the case. A PE CFO has to know how to strategically scale the business. Oftentimes, the duties the CFO previously held are increased exponentially to accommodate the rapid growth a PE firm demands.

      Succeeding as a PE CFO

      A typical PE experienced CFO will naturally oversee finances, but also may play a role in human resources, operations, supply chain management and negotiations, legal, information technology, and in some cases, real estate. A lot of CFOs inherited through an acquisition do not know how to adapt to these new duties required by the PE firm. That is part of the reason why CFO turnover is so high. You must realize a PE CFO role has higher expectations and you must quickly grow accordingly to match your new duties. 

      Ultimately, a strategic CFO is forward-thinking and has a personal and professional growth mindset. Your role as a PE backed CFO might be evolving into a more complex and challenging position, but it can also be the most fulfilling job opportunity of your career. If you remember the four messages above and work hard to bridge the skills gap, you will be more likely to succeed in your new role as a PE CFO. 

      Top 100 Private Equity Executive Search Firm | How We Help


      Our hands-on executive recruiters have experience working with private, public, pre-IPO, and non-profit organizations. Clients are typically $50 million in revenue to Fortune 1000’s or have assets between $500 million to $15 billion. Successful placements span the entire C-Suite – CEOChief Operating OfficerChief Financial Officer, and include vice presidentgeneral counsel, and other director-level leadership roles.

      Learn how we deliver top talent, no matter the need, with our industry-leading research and resources. Discover the strategy that made Cowen Partners the top retained executive search firm in New York, Chicago, Seattle, Atlanta, Dallas, Los Angeles, and beyond.

      Cowen Partners Executive search provides recruitment services to all major and minor industries including:

      Accounting, Advertising, Aerospace & Defense, Biotechnology, Banking, Board and CEO Services, Computer Hardware, Construction, Consulting, Consumer Products, Computer Software and Hardware, Education, Energy & Utilities, Entertainment & Sports, Finance, Financial Services, Food Products, Government, Human Resources, Health Care, Hospitality & Tourism, Insurance, Industrial, Internet & New Media, Legal, Journalism & Publishing, Marketing, Manufacturing, Medical Device, Non-Profit, Pharmaceutical, Real Estate, Retail & Apparel, Sales, Technology, Telecommunications and Transportation.

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