CFO of the Year: Introduction from Publisher Mitch Bettis

CFO of the Year: Introduction from Publisher Mitch Bettis
Mitch Bettis

Chief financial officers don’t usually grandstand or seek the limelight, so the idea of honoring them at an awards luncheon might seem unusual.

But for the past seven years, Arkansas Business has shined the spotlight on financial leaders in Arkansas with distinct achievements in their field.

As the economy continues to emerge from a global recession, the most critical days of a chief financial officer may still lie ahead.

Navigating the complicated business environment of the past few years is one thing, but as businesses continue to diversify into national and international markets, mitigate foreign currency risks and plan for future growth in developing markets, the guidance of a CFO becomes more and more critical.

CFOs walk a unique path helping manage the present and future financial position of an organization while helping craft plans with the company leadership for future growth. With a steady hand, reams of data and an occasional Magic 8 Ball, a CFO can be invaluable to a CEO, a board of directors and a company.

Arkansas Business isn’t alone in thinking that these leaders should be honored. About 400 business professionals will gather Nov. 4 at the Embassy Suites in Little Rock to pay tribute to these outstanding men and women.

We are especially proud to honor two professionals with Lifetime Achievement Awards. This year’s deserving recipients are Gena Wingfield of Arkansas Children’s Hospital, who is receiving the CFO Lifetime Achievement Award, and Bob Roberts of Baptist Health, who is receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award in Accounting.

We will also announce the winners from among the finalists representing small private companies, large private companies, banks and nonprofit organizations.

Each of our honorees was chosen by an independent panel of judges who know firsthand about successful CFOs. This year’s judges were Mary Beth Brooks, president and CEO of the Bank of Fayetteville; Bill Holmes, president and CEO of the Arkansas Bankers Association; and Gene Whisenhunt of Hickingbotham Investments Inc.

We are grateful for their service.

As you read about this year’s finalists and Lifetime Achievement Award honorees, we hope you’ll think about other financial officers who are also deserving of recognition and consider nominating them for the 2016 awards at or simply click the “nominate” tab on our home page.

We’d also love to get your feedback about our CFO of the Year program. You can email me at or call me at (501) 372-1443.