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The CFO – Roles, career paths, and impact on firm outcomes

Understanding the development of controlling as a crucial management function Learning of a new theoretical perspective for analyzing and understanding management control
Course code
Course type
BSc Course
Weekly Hours
FS 2021
Prof. Dr. Marko Reimer
Please note that exchange students obtain a higher number of credits in the BSc-program at WHU than listed here. For further information please contact directly the International Relations Office.

The course will focus on the role of the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) as the most senior manager in the finance function.

In the first part of the course, students will learn about the composition of the C-Suite and the emergence of the CFO position in the corporate world. In addition, we will discuss the recent developments of CFO roles given the fundamental changes in the Finance Function and beyond.

In the second part of the course and informed by upper echelons theory, student will learn about the impact of CFOs on strategic choices and firm outcomes. We will review current research to understand the idiosyncratic effects senior financial managers can have on strategic choices such as corporate cash policies, voluntary disclosure practices and implementation of accounting innovations.

In the third part of the course, students will learn about CFO career patters. We will also discuss antecedents and consequences of CFO turnover (e.g., CFO dismissals as well as promotions to the CEO position).

In the last part of the course, we will shortly discuss opportunities and challenges to study upper echelons such as CFO in the corporate world.

In general, all lectures will start with an introduction into the topics mentioned above, followed by presentations and student-led classroom discussions. Research papers and journal articles will be assigned to student groups for a focused preparation of the presentations.

Date Time
Friday, 08.01.2021 08:00 - 11:15
Wednesday, 27.01.2021 11:30 - 15:15
Students will learn how to survey topical research literature and interpret and discuss findings.
Will be provided in class.
Partly lectures, predominantly group presentations and student-led discussions
In-class discussions (33%), presentations (67%)
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