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Looking for suggestions on negotiating Compensation/Benefit package for new opportunity

I am in the process of being courted by a former employer to head up the finance function of a new company. The role would be a mix between controller and CFO and entail building everything from the ground up. The group is buying an already existing company with plans to leverage their experience and startup capital to expand from a $25 million retail business in the first year to about $100 million within five years. From my knowledge of the people and industry this is absolutely feasible, and intriguing even though I am fairly happy in my current job. As a result of them contacting me about the opportunity and my current position I feel I hold a lot of leverage at the negotiating table. The President of the company is putting up all the capital and the COO is getting ownership through a debt note to the President. Both the President and COO are 20 years my senior and experts in the industry. I am the young rising star that has already proven his worth to the President in the past. Given the circumstances presented what are some suggestions you would give a naive 33 year old to ask for that I might not have the experience to think of? What are some unique benefits, ownership proposal methods, bonus structures ect. that you have seen, or asked for yourself? If I take the opportunity I am trying to avoid kicking myself in 5 years for not structuring my compensation and benefit package properly for this type of opportunity. I fully understand that a lot of it depends on whats important to me, but try to answer from a more general sense. Thank you for sharing your experience and knowledge.

Answers

Anonymous
(CFO) |

Congratulations. You are in a great spot. I recently was in the same situation about a year ago. One of the primary paths to financial success is ownership. If you can negotiate a piece of ownership in lieu of a higher wage and bonus, I think you will be far better off in 10 years. You will probably have to sacrifice something now, but far better to give up $10,000 - $20,000 in wages for a 5% or 10% piece of the pie later on.

Good luck

EMERSON GALFO
Title: CFO
Company: C-Suite Services
LinkedIn Profile
(CFO, C-Suite Services) |

One added option.... make sure that your performance (increases, bonuses, etc) is tied to specific and measureable goals. Also make sure that growth OF the company is tied to YOUR growth (financially). If you can negotiate for stock options...the better.

Anonymous User
Title: CFO
Company: Local Government Agency
(CFO, Local Government Agency) |

Hubris can get you in trouble. Fast.

Don't assume you have leverage. You have little idea what options they may be considering should things not work out with you. If they are as seasoned as you indicate, believe me, they have alternatives in mind.

Figure out your own needs. Negotiate from there while taking their needs into account as well. Win-win is a good approach.

Topic Expert
Christie Jahn
Title: CFO
Company: Prime Investments & Development
(CFO, Prime Investments & Development) |

I have seen people negotiate sign on bonuses, 20+ days of PTO, car allowance if there is a lot of travel required, cell phone plans.. I agree with others, I would ask what their plans specifically for you and your growth in the company are as well. Make sure whatever the final outcome is that you are happy, comfortable and everything is in writing.

Sounds like an awesome opportunity! Good luck!

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