Now Coupa has a new CFO – is there something going around? by Jon Hansen

Posted on June 3, 2015


I received a Skype message from someone this morning saying that it must be the “season for new CFOs,” as Coupa announced that they had also made a change in the company’s top finance position. Here is the link to the Coupa press release.

The season for new CFO reference, was in relation to my post yesterday regarding the situation at SciQuest and their CFO change.

At the time I must admit that I was unaware that a similar shift was taking place at Coupa. When I say similar by the way, the only parallel to which I am referring is that both companies now have a new CFO. Beyond this last point, the similarity between the two abruptly ends.

As an interesting aside, it perhaps explains – at least in part, why two Coupa VP’s Retweeted the link to my SciQuest CFO post (see below).

Coupa SciQuest Tweets

While I will let you contemplate their reasons for both liking my story, as well as sharing it with their Twitter followers, the fact that a significant change with two known eProcurement vendors has taken place within a matter of a week, is noteworthy. In using the term noteworthy, I am referring to the stark contrast between the circumstances surrounding the changes.

With SciQuest, there was no real explanation offered for why CFO Rudy C. Howard was leaving the position he has held since January 4th, 2010.

In terms of Coupa, the reason for the change was clearly stated. In fact it was actually highlighted in their press release.

“Our relentless focus on delivering real, measurable business value to customers and our innovative cloud platform positions us for further rapid global growth and expansion, and Todd’s background and wealth of experience makes him the ideal executive to help drive Coupa’s financial performance forward” – Coupa Press Release, June 3rd, 2015

The above excerpt from the Coupa release indicates that the reason for appointing a new CFO was the result of the company’s rapid growth. This includes the just announced $1 billion valuation that came about as a result of the company raising another $80 million dollars. By the way, this isn’t just $80 million dollars we are talking about.  According to reports, this latest round of financing was led by “T. Rowe Price, Iconiq Capital, and PremjiInvest.”

Why is this important?

Both Iconiq Capital and Premjilnvest are “well-known investment firms, managing the personal fortunes of some of the most powerful people in tech – Mark Zukerberg, Jack Dorsey and Azim Premji.” Talk about keeping good company!

Based on these developments, a CFO with a depth of experience and a solid base of expertise is essential. Or to put it another way, the change was made to accommodate real growth.

There are of course no pending client lawsuits with Coupa, nor any executive share selling under a 10b5-1 plan or otherwise. Why would there be.

Coupa’s solution has been a winner right out of the gate with no apparent end in site. So why would any executive want to sell their shares as opposed to letting them ride the wave of success.

The same cannot be said for SciQuest. This is what makes the simultaneous news of the changes at both companies most interesting.

Had the changes at CFO not occurred within such a short time period, it is unlikely that we would have noticed the pronounced differences between Coupa and SciQuest. Differences it should be noted, that extend well beyond the deep dive technological reviews that while somewhat beneficial, fail to tell the whole story.

If I were a prospective client considering these two organizations’s solutions, knowing what is really going on within the respective companies inner sanctums would be the deciding factor.

What about you?

Choose Wisely

Editor’s Note: If you are so inclined you can access our archive coverage on both companies by simply clicking on Coupa or SciQuest.