About Robertzaffiris

My approach to business is straight forward--support strategic initiatives with strong financial management to realize organizational goals.  This winning combination is highly effective for both high growth companies seeking to expand as well as mature businesses seeking to outpace the industry.
  • At Elite World Group, we increased revenues by 30% and EBITDA by 50%
  • At HarperCollinsPublishers, we increased EBITDA by 10x over 10 years
  • At Shakespeare & Co., we scaled the business and raised $625M to try to take B&N private
From a technical perspective, I recently completed a 3-year PCAOB audit (highest level) and finalized a 5 year business plan to facilitate a fund raise.  From a day to day perspective, improving the timeliness and accuracy of the financial control to place increased emphasis on financial budgeting/planning is an imperative. My knowledge of finance is extensive covering manufacturing, IP, services, subscription, contracts, and consumer facing businesses. I take pride in my work ethic, but more importantly motivating individuals and teams across the organization. I am seeking to be part of a leadership team who desires to accomplish these same objectives, regardless of what stage the company may be in its evolution. Best regards, Rob  
  • Industry AdvertisingBranded EntertainmentDigitalInvestmentMediaPublishing
  • Sector AcquisitionsFinance
  • Preferred Job Title CFO (Chief Financial Officer)CSO (Chief Strategic Officer)Senior Vice President

Summary

Overview: Global CFO, a leading Talent Media & Ad Tech Company, with a solid track record of delivering strategic and financial objectives through revenue and profit growth, while transforming the business in talent management, social media/influencer representation, and ad campaigns, resulting in 50% improvement in EBITDA and 30% revenue growth.

CFO of International and Head of Head of Global Strategic Development at HarperCollinsPublishers (Media & Entertainment public company) managing the financial performance and operations across 13 countries.  Developed a 4-pillar strategy with the executive team to capture market share, improve profitability and solidify our value proposition to authors and customers consistently resulting in growth of 3x the industry.

President/CFO of Shakespeare & Co., a minority subsidiary of HarperCollinsPublishers, driving expansion of technology driven retailer and scaling the business across physical and online channels while raising $625M funds in an attempt to take Barnes & Noble private.

Overall, across my career, I have provided strong financial management, business plan development, cross-organizational partnering, and leadership overseeing global best practices for finance, accounting, budgeting, business expansion, M&A activities, digital transformations, omni-channel distribution, process optimization, problem solving, multiple business model deployment, cost containment, and customer focused initiatives.

Known for: Overall, across my career I have provided strong financial leadership overseeing global best practices for financial management, business expansion, business models/exploitation (content, JV’s, partnerships, OTT, Subscription, rights), M&A activities, omni-channel distribution, process optimization and cost containment as well as customer focused initiatives.

Career Focus: I am looking for a new senior leadership role in Finance–CFO/SVP Finance.  My targets are growth-oriented firms or companies in need of turnaround in Publishing, Media and Entertainment, Retail or Private Equity Opportunities.

Experience

  • 2021 - 2022
    Elite World Group

    CFO

    Global Chief Financial Officer & Head of Human Resources Develop strategy and financial plan, completed 3 year PCAOB audit, raised capital ($500M valuation), and implement global best practices in the areas of finance and accounting.  Managed and delivered 3 year PCAOB audit  Shortened financial close from 25 days to 7 days  Expanded brand revenues, digital offerings and geographic expansion to deliver 30% growth, including $7M in digital sales  Reduced global costs by $2M  Managed and delivered financial and strategic transformative business changes, communication and training  Prepared strategy document, supported by key initiatives, as well as financial plan to execute on fund raising efforts with investment bank.  Full treasury, accounting and tax oversight.

  • 2019 - 2021
    Shakespeare & Co. (Subsidiary of HarperCollins)

    CFO

    Chief Financial and Chief Development Officer President/CFO/CDO of Shakespeare & Co. with focus on transforming the business culture and to optimize financial and operational protocols within the organization to expand into a multi-location enterprise.  Accountable for all leadership, technology, and business management elements  Raised $625M from PE group for Barnes & Noble bid; lost in final auction round to Elliott Management  Commercialized patented print-at-retail technology and signed #1 & #2 publishers to provide content  Managing day to day staff of 10 in finance, IT, and operations as well as store personnel  Formed partnerships with key real estate development groups and landlords  Identifying store locations as well as organizing finance and real estate teams to realize growth goals  Realized labor savings of 25% through productivity optimization and cross functional training  Deployed COVID-19 omnichannel response; maximizing sales which are now $750 to $1,000 per square foot; achieving inventory turnover of 4x per annum

  • 2015 - 2019
    HarperCollinsPublishers

    CFO International & Head of Global Strategic Development

    CFO HarperCollins International & Head of Global Corporate Development 2015 - 2019 Led multi-cultural teams and businesses in 13 countries with 13 direct and 50 indirect reports covering P&L, Balance Sheet and Cash Flow financial reporting, as well as product development, systems efficiencies, policy, sales, and back-office functions.  Increased revenues by 40% to $200M through new retail/wholesale relationships, product expansion, rationalization of unprofitable lines, and digital expansion with key partners (e.g. Amazon, Storytel)  Eliminated $6M in costs through streamlining declining businesses, centralization of functions, establishing shared service center in UK, and outsourcing non-core functions where scale could not be achieved  Created wholly owned operations in 3 countries with JV partners  Managed all elements of budgeting, planning, and monthly rolling forecast  Identified M&A and developed business plans for new strategic initiatives  Managed Treasury and banking functions  Set accounting and operational policy and administered compliance, audit, and best practices to reduce audit fees, exposure, and ongoing expenses (bank fees, statutory preparation, etc.)

Education

  • Columbia University Graduate School of Business

    MBA

    MBA in finance; graduated with honors

  • Muhlenberg College

    BA Economics / Accounting

    Literal arts degree with majors in Economics and Accounting; Dean\'s list