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North Bay Business Journal

Monday, August 13, 2012, 6:30 am

CFO Recognition Awards 2012: Mark Hawkins, Autodesk

Innovation — Large Company

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    Executive Vice-President,  Chief Financial Officer

    Mark Hawkins

     

    Autodesk

    1111 McInnis Pkwy., San Rafael 94903415-507-6750, autodesk.com

    Employees: Approximately 7,500 per 10,000 report

    Professional background: Prior to joining Autodesk in 2009, Mr. Hawkins was CFO and senior vice president of finance & IT at Logitech International SA. Before Logitech, he  worked with Dell, Inc., in Austin, Texas. He joined Dell after working with Hewlett-Packard for almost 19 years.

    Education: M.B.A. in Finance, University of Colorado (1986); B.A. in Business, Michigan State University (1981); Advanced Management Program, Harvard Business School (1999)

    Age: 53

    Comment about Mark Hawkins: “Mark is an outstanding and passionate leader. I’m fortunate to have him on the Autodesk team. He has been a good partner for me and the company as we transform our business and help our customers tap into the benefits of the cloud.” — Carl Bass, chief executive officer of Autodesk.

    What do you see as the essential role of a financial leader in the current environment?

    Today, CFO responsibilities go beyond the traditional financial duties. As a trusted business partner to the CEO and the rest of his or her team, CFOs today must make significant strategic and operational contributions beyond the numbers and to the business.  CFOs today must connect the dots between the company’s overall business strategy and its long and short-term financial goals.

    What are the biggest changes you’ve seen in your industry?

    Movement to the cloud as well as the growing importance of social media and mobile computing.  We haven’t seen a technology shift like this since the dawn of personal computing more than 30 years ago. It will change everything.

    Tell us about the particular challenges and opportunities your organization has met in the recent past?

    Successfully navigating through the great financial crisis of 2008 and 2009.

    What advice would you give to young emerging financial leaders?

    Success is never final. Constantly be learning and refining your skills.  Focus on making a positive impact to the business. Immerse yourself into the business and constantly seek to learn more about your area of expertise, the business, industry and broader market place. Gain as much international experience as possible. Demonstrate the strong ability to develop other financial leaders. Excel at collaborating and contributing to the broader business and team needs. Be a good listener and surround yourself with people that not just have the right answers, but, much more importantly, ask the right questions.

    What’s the best advice for weathering today’s economic environment?

    Focus on what you can control. Ensure ample cash and liquidity. While navigating through short-term economic ups and downs, be sure you keep a constant eye on what you need to do to support long-term business success.

    How do you think your business will change in the next five years?

    Over the next three years, Autodesk intends to offer all of its major products through the cloud.

    What is a decision you wish you hadn’t made? What did you learn from it?

    Earlier in my career, I wish I had invested more aggressively in customer experience during a period of explosive revenue growth. When you are gaining market share at a rapid clip, you need to ensure the customer-facing part of your organization is ready to fully service and delight all of these new customers.    

    What is your most memorable business experience?

    In a prior experience, being part of a leadership team that grew our business unit market share from around 5 percent  to over 30 percent.

    What is your greatest business success?

    Having the opportunity to be a part of a number of world class leadership teams who generated outstanding and sustained business performance. 

    What was your toughest business decision?

    By definition the job of a CFO includes lots of tough business decisions day in and day out. Some of the hardest decisions involve balancing the long term with the short term.

    What would your friends be surprised to find out about you?

    The variety of music I listen to and enjoy. A few other things that might surprise them include that I am a 10 time qualifier of the Boston Marathon. Also, I have completed some beautiful hikes including to the top of Mount Fuji and Pike’s Peak as well as hiking the entire Milford Trek in New Zealand and hiking to the bottom of the Grand Canyon.

    Most admired businessperson outside the company: Warren Buffett

    Current reading: Unbroken By Laura Hillenbrand

    Most want to meet: Condoleezza Rice, Aaron Rogers,  Jerry Seinfeld,  Paul McCartney

    Stress Relievers: Listening to music, hanging out with friends, marathon distance running.

    Favorite activities outside work: Time with my wife, sons and extended family. Enjoying sporting events. I am a big San Francisco Giants, Green Bay Packers and Michigan State University fan. Distance running with my marathon running club. Hiking. Going for a walk with my family and friends. Good food with friends. Learning in general (business and non-business). Traveling.

     

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