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LARGE PRIVATE COMPANIES René Chaze, CPA, Edelman Financial Services, Fairfax


CFO has been a leader in many key transactions


by Joan Tupponce R


ené Chaze, a CPA, believes he does his best work when he is building a team to solve prob-


lems. “I try to listen, guide and coach,” he says. “I try to be a good leader and bring humor when needed. I want to make sure the team feels rewarded and appreciated.” He joined Fairfax-based Edel-


man Financial Services in 2011 in part because of the investment advi- sory firm’s mission. “I like this type of business because it helps people achieve their financial goals,” he says. Chaze’s relationship with the Edelman organization actually began many years before his hiring. His wife, Kristine, has been a financial planner at the firm for 22 years. “That is a tremendous side benefit for us,” says company CEO Ric Edel- man. “René has had decades of expe- rience and familiarity with our firm because of his wife’s important role in our firm.”


Edelman Financial Services,


founded in the late 1980s, has 42 offices throughout the country. It has nearly 500 employees, including more than 280 in Virginia. Edelman sees Chaze as a fixer.


“He is equally talented at recognizing deep, intrinsic problems and identify- ing and implementing solutions in an efficient, effective and timely way,” he says. “René has created a world-class finance and accounting function for us.”


A native of Louisiana, Chaze


had a long career in public accounting before joining Edelman. “His 20-plus years of experience at Ernst & Young, where he worked with some of the largest companies in the world, enabled him to bring organizational structure and highly talented people


Photo by Mark Rhodes


to help us manage our rapid growth,” Edelman says. Chaze revamped the invest-


ment firm’s financial reporting and analytics systems and built strong relationships with lenders and its private-equity sponsor. Last year, he helped the company achieve record revenues and profits. Its three-year compound annual revenue growth rate from 2012 through 2015 was 33 percent. Last September, Chaze was


instrumental in spinning off nine businesses that no longer fit the com- pany’s strategic plans. In December, he co-led a deal that resulted in a new private equity firm, Hellman & Friedman, acquiring majority control of the company in December. At the same time, he arranged a $230 million syndicated debt offering to finance the transaction. “To do all that in one year was very overwhelm- ing,” Chaze says. Chaze has reframed “the role of


CFO as one who is much more than a bean-counter but is instead a strategic member of a company’s management team, able to anticipate relevant issues from a high level while also seeing the operational details that will need to be addressed,” Edelman says. No two days are the same for


Chaze because of his varied responsi- bilities. He wears two hats in the orga- nization. As CFO, he is responsible for accounting, finance, budgeting, forecasting, investor relations, trea- sury, cash management, and risk and financial analysis. “I also have a chief operating officer role where I manage a lot of other functions as well,” he says. “I am constantly looking for ways we can improve what we do to be better, smarter and faster.”


www.VirginiaBusiness.com


“René has created a world-class fi nance and accounting function for us,” says Ric Edelman, CEO of Edelman Financial Services.


VIRGINIA BUSINESS


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