When Pamela J. Craig became CFO of Accenture Ltd. in 2006, she already had spent half her life with the company and its predecessor, Andersen Consulting. Craig was ideally suited for the job, having served in a number of roles as the global corporation grew to the $21.5 billion management consulting, technology and outsourcing company it is today. She spent much of her career in operational units of the company, including leadership roles in the media and entertainment group within the communications and high-tech operations group. "I understand what people need to balance in order to make good business or financial decisions." Toward that end, she says, a high priority is developing an integrated technology platform that unifies the far-flung operations to become a repository for finance, HR and sales data.
As CFO, Craig, 51, says an important part of her job "is to deliver our commitments to shareholders while continuing to make good investment choices for the future business." As vice president of finance, Craig played a role in the company's decision to pay shareholders dividends for the first time. She says she remains dedicated to returning cash to shareholders through dividends and an active share repurchase program.
One of Craig's top priorities throughout her managerial career has involved mentoring and coaching those around her. "The best leaders deliver high performance and profitable growth at the same time they give their highest priority to developing their people," Craig says. "In fact, nothing is more important than teaching those who will follow us, so they are ready to take to the even bigger challenges that our changing world will demand." Craig continues to play an especially active role in supporting other women. "I encourage women to position themselves in stretch-roles with high visibility," she says. Craig belongs to several business groups for women and even founded an Accenture women's organization in Japan. "I work with others to create the kind of open and committed environment that will allow female talent to succeed and flourish."