Scholastic is one of the largest publishing corporations in America and is responsible for one in every two children’s books that are published in the United States. Among some of its better known published works are the Harry Potter books and Hunger Games but perhaps its biggest endeavour is providing most of the American schools with their text books. They also have a children’s book club that can claim to have members in 80% of America’s schools. One other major endeavour that Scholastic are responsible for is over 130,000 children’s book fairs across the country annually. All of these things plus the publishing of over 600 new children’s books each year is no small task and taking the corporation into the future is no easy task either. Scholastic has trusted their future plans to their current Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Maureen O’Connell.
Maureen O’Connell is perhaps well qualified for this task, not just through her academic accomplishments which include a B.S. in Accounting and Economics from New York University but also through her experience prior to Maureen O’Connell Scholastic history which began in 2007. After graduating from New York University, O’Connell was employed by Primedia as their Director of Accounting but it did not take her long to become the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) or one of their subsidiary groups Newbridge Communications. After that she worked for several companies including two years from 2000 to 2002 as the CFO of Barnes and Noble and some time as the CFO of the Publishers Clearing House. It was perhaps though whilst at some of the other companies where she was employed not only as the CFO but also as either the Chief Operations Officer (COO), Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) and President that she earned the experience in planning the future of a company.
Maureen O’Connell insists that the CFO of any company is the best person to put forward plans for that company’s future and bases these thoughts on the fact that it is the CFO that best knows a company’s finances. Obviously a CFO has the job of knowing the company’s finances both past and present but some people would not agree that that therefore makes them the best person to predict the finances for the future of the company. O’Connell argues though that, as the CFO has no loyalties to any one department, it is only the CFO that can give a true, unbiased opinion of each of the different department’s best ways forward. This perhaps suggests that any department head that was responsible for the company’s future may place importance more on their own department rather than the company as a whole. Although this may be a valid point, the experience of the CFO may not be adequate to assess a company’s future possibilities. Obviously with O’Connell’s expertise and experience, she may well be qualified but that does not mean all CFOs would be up to the task, especially if they are fresh out of University.