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CDOs push out CFOs and CEOs

CFOs in North America are taking less of a role in M&A, IPO and joint venture work, passing control from them and their investment bankers to a new, emerging executive ? the corporate development officer (CDO).

According to a survey by accounting and consultancy firm Ernst & Young, CFOs are spending an increasing amount of time on corporate governance compliance, forcing them to hand strategic responsibilities such as flotations and takeovers to the CDO.

CEOs are also handing responsibility to the CDO, driven by a need to have a single person handle the preparation and impact of deals over the economic cycle, and by an increasing awareness that they are held personally responsible when deals go wrong.

Companies that participated in the survey and that say they have recently increased the role of their CDO include security software maker Symantec and engineering group Honeywell.

Ernst & Young interviewed CDOs of 175 companies for the survey, of which 96% said they planned a takeover sometime in the next 24 months. A further 63% said they planned the sale of a subsidiary, 22% planned a carve-out and 13% planned a securitization.

The survey says that the majority of CDOs report to the CFO rather than the CEO, but that many report to both and some report to the general counsel or the COO.

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