Alumni profile: Stefan Geertsema
Stefan Gertsema is CFO of The Comfort Group - Australasia’s largest mattress and foam manufacturer, employing over 1250 people. He chatted with us about making the shift from a financial services role to a manufacturing company and what he took from his time with Deloitte.
When were you at Deloitte and what was your role?
I worked for three years in Audit followed by five years in Corporate Finance. I finished up as an Associate Director in the Auckland Office.
What do you do at the Comfort Group?
As CFO I am responsible for management of all financial aspect of the business. In addition I lead a number of other initiatives to drive growth and value creation across the business.
How did you transition from professional services to a large Australasian manufacturer?
I spent a lot of time working with the Comfort Group while at Deloitte so I got to know the business and people very well during that time. When the opportunity to take up the CFO role it was fairly natural transition for me.
What was the most challenging part of the transition?
In professional services you often focus on one assignment in depth for extended periods of time until it concludes. My role at the Comfort Group requires me to be across numerous aspects of the business and drive projects and initiatives concurrently – this change in approach took a bit of getting used to.
How does the organisation compare to Deloitte?
We both operate in an environment that is rapidly changing as a result of technology disrupting traditional business models which means we need to be agile, innovate and respond quickly to change. From my time in both organisations, a culture of adaptability is clearly evident and this is something that we put a lot of focus into at the Comfort Group.
What lessons did you take from Deloitte that serve you well today?
There are the obvious technical skill sets I acquired but the critical thinking skills I developed at Deloitte are invaluable in my current role.