Rotman School of Management

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Business Leadership for Finance Executives Program

Designed for current and future CFOs

A five-day program, plus pre- and post-program components to support the transfer of learning back to you and your organization.
Dates: June 19–23, 2017
Location: Rotman School of Management, Toronto, Ontario
Participant Profile: Strategic Financial Executives, CFOs, and future CFOs
Fee: $11,900 CAD + HST

Odgers Berndtson

Business Leadership for Finance Executives was developed in partnership with Odgers Berndtson to help financial executives enhance their effectiveness as leaders.


This is by far the best executive education program I have attended since leaving the "Big Eight" in the late 1980's. It was well paced, with a qualified and interesting cohort and great instructors (professors from the school and expert consultants). The days were long, but passed by quickly. There was an appropriate mix of presentation, Q&A, and practical application. Guest speakers with on the ground experience in similar roles helped transcribe the concepts from business cases into the real world.

Robin Madsen


The role of today's chief financial officer and senior finance executive (CFO) is multidimensional. CFOs are not only responsible for traditional core financial and reporting duties, they are also expected to be strategic business partners to the CEO, drive and fuel sustained growth, work effectively with the board, deal with investors, manage people, interact effectively with a myriad of stakeholders and drive strategic change. As the demands of the role continue to expand and evolve, CFOs and finance executives must develop not only intellectual and emotional agility, but also the decision-making, problem-solving and communication skills required for success in this critical leadership role.

The concept behind the Business Leadership for Finance Executives Program arose from conversations between Rotman, and Odgers Berndtson's CFO and Leadership Practices, as well as consultations with North America's leading CFOs, CEOs and audit chairs. The dialogue focused on the capabilities required for success in this highly complex function at this demanding time. Our conversations with this exclusive advisory board identified three critical CFO success factors which we refer to as the Three Pillars of CFO Leadership™: (1) Leadership in the C-Suite; (2) Strategic Agility and Business Acumen; and (3) Managing Key Stakeholder Relations.

The Business Leadership for Finance Executives Program is designed to help participants assess and develop these three core capabilities of CFO success both within themselves and with their teams. Participants are exposed to current thinking and innovative practices that differentiate merely capable financial managers from truly strategic contributors. The Program enables finance executives, including newly appointed CFOs and future CFOs, to step outside their day-to-day responsibilities for a period of five days and think deeply about the experiences, skills and capabilities essential to enhancing their effectiveness as senior finance leaders and members of the C-suite.

Three Pillars of CFO Leadership


The CFO needs to strike a constant balance of being an advocate while also being a challenger.

Bobby Kwon, SVP, Chairman's Office, George Weston Limited
Former CFO, Unilever Canada

Unique Benefits

Personal Growth, Accountability and Support
This highly-personalized program focuses on positive behaviour change. Participants will have the opportunity to participate in a customized leadership assessment called the CFO Hogan Assessment. They will work one-on-one with an executive coach provided by Odgers Berndston's Leadership Practice to identify best practices applicable to their situation. And finally, they will develop a personal Action Learning Plan (ALP) for applying their learning back at work.

Access to Leading CFOs
This program was developed in conversation with leading CFOs, CEOs and audit chairs who will participate in panel discussions, select program sessions and receptions. Participants will have the opportunity to tap into expert advice and forge new connections.

Customized CFO Curriculum
This program is designed exclusively for the finance function and was jointly developed by Rotman Executive Programs and Odgers Berndtson's CFO and Leadership Practices. It offers relevant, real-time case studies, a-view-from-the-top delivered by a prominent CFO as well as daily "fire-side" conversations with advisory board members and a panel discussion. Participants will benefit from an integrated learning experience showcasing a combination of academic rigour and real-world experience and will have access to a peer group of like-minded finance leaders.

Program Exclusivity
The program is limited to a select group of executives nominated by their CFO, CEO or audit chairs. The rigorous application process ensures that participants are in the company of peers. The intimate class setting, group work, and social events provide ample opportunities for networking.

Rotman's Business Leadership for Finance Executives Program can be used towards CPA continuing professional development (CPD) hours.

This program has been approved for 35 continuing professional development (CPD) hours under Section A of the continuing professional development (CPD) log of the Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA).


Nothing that is a big accomplishment gets done easily – you need perseverance.

Ian Clarke, CFO, Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the program participants will have developed essential capabilities across the Three Pillars of CFO Leadership™:

Three Pillars of CFO Leadership Outcomes

When you are promoted from within you generally have organizational support. If you are new to the organization you are unproven and you need to build in certain mechanisms to be successful.

Karen Maidment
Audit and Risk Committee, TD Financial Group & TDAmeritrade
Audit Chair, TransAlta

Who Should Attend

The program is designed for strategic financial leaders nominated by their CFO, CEO or audit chair on the basis of their high performance and need to develop their leadership capabilities as they interact with the Board, external stakeholders and other members of the C-suite.

The program is also appropriate for newly appointed CFOs who wish to accelerate their progress to full command of their role and for potential CFO successors who have been identified.

All participants should have a minimum of 10 years of work experience, with at least five years at the managerial level.

Participants may include:

  • Chief Financial Officers
  • Vice Presidents within the finance function and other CFO direct reports
  • Other senior financial executives with strategic financial responsibilities

Applicants must submit a letter of recommendation from their CFO, CEO or audit chair as part of their application submission. Those who are interested in applying but do not meet these requirements should contact the program admissions officer to discuss their qualifications.

The role of the Chief Financial Officer is changing, and increasingly companies are looking for a broader set of skills and leadership abilities when appointing their CFO. To learn more about this program, read the three-part comprehensive study from Rotman School and Odgers Berndtson on the changing role of finance executives: Developing the CFO of the Future.

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Fee: $11,900 CAD + HST

Resume and Letter of Recommendation from CFO, CEO or audit chair are required.

Application Process

Before beginning the application process, please review the application policies. To apply, complete the online application form.

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Each application is reviewed by Rotman's admissions committee to ensure participants have the appropriate academic and work experience.

Participant Notification Process

If space is available and eligibility requirements are met, participants will receive a notice of admission within 10 days of receipt of a completed application and fee deposit.


A deposit of 50% of the program fee is required at time of application. The balance of the program fee is due 30 days after receipt of invoice or 30 days before the start of the program, whichever is first. Payments can be made online. Applicants will be redirected to a secure online payment website after completion of the application form. Deposits will be refunded to applicants not accepted to the program.

Fee Reduction

Rotman Executive Program graduates or Rotman MBA / EMBA alumni are eligible for a discount equivalent to 10% of the program tuition. In addition, partner discounts are also offered for some programs. Where program applicants are eligible for more than one discount, only the greater discount will be applied towards the tuition fee. Discounts are not redeemable for cash.

*Participants will be responsible for their own travel, accommodation and incidental costs. Participants requiring accommodation during the program are eligible for preferred Rotman rates at select hotels. For more information contact an Executive Programs representative at

Questions?We’re here to help

Our Learning Advisors: Joanne and Giordano

Speak to Joanne and Giordano, our expert Learning Advisors about not-for-profit pricing, the Canada-Ontario Job Grant, and choosing the right program for you or your organization.

Tel: 416.978.8815

CFO Advisory Board

Pavi Binning
George Weston Limited

Kay Brekken
Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer
First Capital Realty Inc

Ian Clarke
Chief Financial Officer
Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment

Kevin Glass
Senior Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Colleen Johnston
Group Head, Finance, Sourcing and Corporate Communications, and Chief Financial Officer
TD Bank Group

Bobby Kwon
Senior Vice President, Chairman's Office
George Weston Limited

David Leslie
Former Audit Chair, Enbridge
Former Director, Empire Company Limited and The Bank of Canada

Brian MacDonald
Chief Executive Officer
Hertz Rental Corporation

Karen Maidment
Board Director, Audit and Risk Committee, TD Bank Group & TDAmeritrade, and Chair, Audit and Risk Committee, TransAlta Corporation

Gord Nelson
Chief Financial Officer
Cineplex Entertainment

Patrick Pichette
Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer
Google Inc.

Michael Rousseau
Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer
Air Canada

Michael Vels
Former Chief Financial Officer
Maple Leaf Foods Inc.