New Chief Financial Officer in Town

Pace President Stephen J. Friedman named a new executive vice president (EVP), chief financial officer (CFO), and treasurer to succeed Robert Almon, who held the position as an interim for the last 18 months.

The new EVP, CFO, and treasurer is Toby Winer, making her the first woman to hold the position at Pace.

Winer joined the Pace community in 2006 as the vice president of finance, and was later given the senior vice president role.

In describing her time as senior vice president and treasurer, Winer stated, “The biggest success is I changed the whole financial culture at Pace,” adding she believes people now feel that the financial information is reliable and transparent.

“We are able to help now in providing reliable data that can be used for decision making,” said Winer. “I think with that, we saw some improved liquidity, where our money is, where we manage it so that all the money is invested properly, and we track it daily, 13 weeks, rolling reports, lot of information about our liquidity, and I think we have better controls in place. I think students would want to make sure that we have the safeguards in place to manage the assets of this university, and we’re accountable. I hire the right people. I think in the finance area, you can see that a recognized talent might put together qualified teams of people to work with and for me.”

In regards to transparency, Winer noted that her department does make a lot of financial information available, and the “books of the university are monitored and are accessible,” noting that financial information can be reviewed on the Pace website.

The responsibilities of the CFO is to manage all internal and external accounting and financial reporting; monitor cash, debt, investment management, the annual budget, internal audit, and purchasing.  Additionally, Winer will chair the Financial Aid Review Committee and continue to be the primary officer responsible for Pace’s day-to-day relationship with lenders and other rating agencies.

On top of the current responsibilities, Winer also co-chaired the search committee for Pace’s new provost.

When asked how she found the time to take part of the committee, Winer stated, “You prioritize. If it’s something that’s important, you make the time.”

Winer stated there were no difficulties in the provost search process.

“We had a great committee. We had students in the committee. We had faculty. We had staff representation, and the committee was really cohesive. We were all on board with our candidates,” said Winer.

The search committee ultimately recommended Uday Sukhatme as the new provost. As for expectations for Sukhatme, Winer stated she looks forward to innovative ideas for the university and for the faculty.

Days before the announcement of Winer as the new EVP, CFO, and treasurer at Pace, talk amongst a few members of the Pace community questioned as to what will happen to Almon, who held Winer’s new position after Rick Whitfield left Pace for another job opportunity.

According to a statement by Friedman, Almon will continue at Pace on a part-time basis as “Senior Adviser to the President for Enterprise Finance and Long-range Financial Planning,” and adding that Winer’s previous position as “Senior Vice President, Finance and Treasurer, will be eliminated.”

“When [Almon] came on board, he was an interim CFO,” said Winer. “He’s a great liaison with the banks, and he’s helping to strengthen the balance sheet, so he brings in some unique roles and experience.”

Winer’s experience includes 20 years in several senior administrative positions, from Baruch College, University of California in Oakland, Vanderbilt University, as well as businesses such as Price Waterhouse and Company.

Winer’s expectations as CFO include a vision to work with the Board, President Friedman, faculty, and staff, as a financial partner.

“I think we really need to continue to strengthen the university’s balance sheet. We’ve come out of a really difficult time; I think we need to work with that,” said Winer. “We have challenges ahead. We have financial challenges, we need to grow revenue streams, and we need to continue to streamline our operations. We are working in an environment of great uncertainty, the economic conditions aren’t great right now and that poses challenges for financial aid and tuition increases for the students. We have the demographic changes, and I think there’s always these compliance things that comes in with my role, that’s a challenge as well. Against the backgrounds of these challenges, I think my vision would be to improve the resources, enhance the resources, grow them, to make sure that they are allocated properly, make sure they are getting to the right people for the right reasons, and to continue to safeguard them.”

Winer describes herself as positive, productive, and proactive, and believes such elements are key to the role as CFO.

“I’m someone who has a strategic vision, but I implement the vision, so I really walk the talk,” said Winer. “I think people know that they can count on me, that I am collaborative, I’m inclusive, and I’m very service oriented. No one comes to work for me unless they are service oriented, cause I can teach them the skills, I can’t teach them the positive service. I’m decisive, I will make a decision, sometimes they’re great, sometimes they’re not, but I will make a thoughtful decision based upon facts.”

Winer’s is now responsible for “identifying and managing risks, and increasing and strengthening the financial stability of the University.”