Melinda Diebel, BAcc, CPA, CA, C.Dir
Public Company CFO: built to adapt, driven to optimize.
I’m a Senior Finance Executive with an unconventional combination of creative and analytical proficiencies and a unique mix of finance and IT expertise.
My success stems from a passion for teamwork and a knack for evaluating, optimizing and developing elegant controls and IT systems which prize simplicity, but are capable of scaling up to handle any level of complexity.
I am highly adaptable yet driven to continually optimize. As a CFO, I consider myself a builder. My motto is: ‘there is always a way’. This way of thinking ensures a focus on continuous improvement. I have overhauled many policies and procedures, within various departments, in order to reduce costs, increase efficiency and improve the quality and volume of data available to key decision makers.
I’m a big proponent of the humanity of people. Supporting perpetual learning and growth, for individuals and for organizations. Throughout my career I’ve developed an adaptable and personable leadership style and an ability to simplify very complex concepts for communication to wider audiences. Applying my natural curiosity and an affiliative sense of humour, I have an ability to inspire people – building consensus and unity among a diverse group of people.
Bringing superior creativity and logic to strategy and problem solving.
PDF version of this resume is available here.
ATS compatible word version of this resume is available for download here.
Testimonials are available here.
Automodular Corporation (TSXV:AM.H) sub-assembled components and modules used in the manufacturing of cars and trucks for major automotive companies throughout North America. Automodular also provided similar services in the renewable energy industry. Automodular is a public company which had annual revenues of $75 to $116 million. Please see http://youtu.be/IaynyK6-hik for more information.
Chief Financial Officer and Vice President, Finance 2011 – 2015
Reporting to CEO, 2 direct reports and 4 indirect reports, budget approximate average $75 million
- Designed, implemented and optimized accounting, budgeting and reporting systems in the Finance and Corporate IT departments and led special projects including: the conversion to IFRS; the implementation of an internal audit program; documentation of the framework supporting NI 52-109; and all financial aspects of opening/closing major divisions.
- Uncovered and evaluated acquisition targets, planning and performing on site due diligence, as a key member of the 5 person diversification strategy team. Played a lead role during transaction negotiations and drafting of agreements.
- Led comprehensive review of 20 industries to define scope of targets, including: aerospace, trucks and heavy equipment, agricultural equipment, modular building, renewable energy, industrial services and consulting.
- Reviewed > 200 acquisition targets, facilitated discussions with over 70 companies.
- Crafted framework and produced detailed questionnaires for due diligence activities, participated in due diligence on 30 companies and led detailed due diligence on 15 of those companies.
- Evaluated > 65 potential contracts and numerous sale and Joint Venture opportunities.
- Gained recognition as a subject matter expert in commercial and residential modular building sector.
- Oversaw the close out of IT, HR, Finance and Legal, following the loss of the $500 million Ford contract. Successfully executed a flawless close out while maintaining reporting and controls levels, mitigating costs, minimizing operating disruptions and diverting a significant amount of waste.
- IT: supervised the corporate and operational wind-down of IT including: data rationalization, security and retention; disposal of assets, contracts and licenses; and ensuring that connectivity and productivity were maintained for remaining employees.
- HR: implemented successful retention plan (no loss of finance or IT personnel despite 18-month notice period); oversight of severance, retention and other payments to over 500 employees; worked with providers to transition benefit programs; and ensured all ROE, T4s and other documentation was provided on a timely basis.
- Finance: built new control processes for employee reductions (created a simplified chart of accounts, merged divisional books, made over consolidation and transitioned all Solomon and Cognos activities to a simplified set-up in Quickbooks); closed bank, government and supplier accounts; and transitioned from TSX to NEX exchange.
- Legal: wind-up of credit facilities, PPSA records clearance and cancellation of all other contracts and agreements.
- Reduced: month-end close by 2 days (from 9 to 7), quarter-end close by 7 days (from 43 to 36) and year-end close and audit by 16 days (from 87 to 71).
- Assessed and mitigated risks of potential transactions, contracts, controls and regulatory environment.
- Developed and evaluated strategic objectives with the Executive Management Team (EMT) and the Board of Directors.
- Initiated internal and third party IT reviews to identify system risks and weaknesses.
- Executed a complete corporate IT system and process overhaul, including: virtualization of corporate servers; establishment of redundant systems; and a total revamp of hardware, software and policies covering data organization, retention and backup.
- Enabled more effective and efficient external audits by: creating electronic leadsheets; customizing systems to support CAATS; generating custom reports; redoing narratives and updating annual IT documentation; leading to a 1-week reduction in audit timing.
- Reviewed and provided recommendations for capital policies related to: treasury, dividend and share buybacks.
- Facilitated, with CEO, two successful Substantial Issuer Bids ($5 million in 2010 and $15 million in 2015) and an ongoing Normal Course Issuer Bid from 2012 to 2016.
- Revamped liquidity assessment and capital budgeting to expedite cash projections. Worked with financial institutions to secure increased yield on cash balances via a high yield accounts, BAs and management of foreign exchange.
- Designed and implemented a system to securely and efficiently import, process, sign and mail over 500 manual payroll cheques per week, with existing resources and systems, within a month of the request from HR.
- Negotiated and drafted or amended major contracts and agreements including: manufacturing agreements; letters of intent; substantial issuer bid documentation including prospectus; leases; service and employee agreements; asset sales agreements; and banking agreements.
- Prioritized continual improvement via ongoing training. Sourced and secured a suite of training courses. Implemented formalized training guidelines for Finance, Corporate and Business Development departments and tied custom training requirements to performance reviews. Introduced “training days” to encourage usage of tools and foster team learning.
- Sourced software and performed data filtering and extraction for electronic discovery in support of litigation.
- Oversaw the administration and wind-down of the Long Term Incentive Plan for the executive management team.
- Calibrated procedures and systems, in partnership with supply chain, to improve stewardship over 1,400 SKU inventory.
Corporate Controller 2008 – 2011
Reporting to CFO, 6 indirect reports, budget approximate average $75 million
- Mitigated costs and enhanced systems, following the 2008 recession. Made policy and systems changes; entered into contractual renegotiations; and put into place internal audit framework and a disciplined system of financial analysis. Improved information available to key operations managers to optimize their ability to make better decisions.
- Realized estimated savings of over $250 thousand in areas including: audit, labor, payroll and landlord charges.
- Facilitated staffing restructure, redistributing workloads to accommodate a 45% headcount reduction for estimated annualized savings of $220 thousand while maintaining world-class controls.
- Achieved further savings of $45 thousand per year, by replacing the formal quarterly review of financial filings by external auditors with a structured information sharing and financial statement assessment process.
- Sourced and negotiated a new contract with a new IT provider to reduce monthly costs by 25%; saving the company approximately $48 thousand over the life of the contract.
- Since 2010, Automodular has generated over $110 million in EBITDA and net earnings of over $50 million on sales of approximately $450 million and has paid out over $34 million in dividends.
- Eliminated the $9 million credit facility, in conjunction with the CFO. Unwound interest rate swap and removed restrictive covenants to enable a reinstatement of the dividend policy, which propelled the share price and increased the shareholder wealth.
- Stream-lined financial processes and systems including: monthly consolidated financial statements, forecast, COS and expense analysis, operations review presentations and other reports; quarterly packages; annual audit, budget and tax packages. Resulting in shorter reporting periods, more relevant data and higher quality reports (internal and external).
- Led major updates from older Cognos (reporting) and Solomon (general ledger and project modules) software to current versions; previously 5 and 6 versions behind, respectively.
- Created corporate intranet in order to centralize key management reports and operations data for EMT use.
- Managed multiple office reorganizations and office moves to reduce costs and increase productivity.
- Founded corporate health and safety committee; organized first aid training; arranged for AED installation; created fire evacuation and disaster recovery plans; created fire drill procedures and introduced workplace safety posting boards.
Bell Media (formerly CTVglobemedia)
CTVglobemedia Inc. is Canada’s premier multimedia company with ownership of CTV, Canada’s #1 television network, and The Globe and Mail, Canada’s #1 national newspaper. CTVglobemedia is a private corporation with some public ownership. Annual revenues: $1 to $2 billion.
Interim Corporate Accounting Manager 2007 – 2008
Reporting to Controller, 5 indirect reports
- Augmented monthly data gathering, analysis and reporting; automated processes to cut delivery time in half.
- Assisted in accounting for acquisition of CHUM and other investments.
- Drafted templates for the treasury department to optimize reporting and strengthen cash control.
Pattison Sign Group
Pattison Sign Group, is a private corporation owned by the Jim Pattison Group. It is one of the world’s largest sign companies with 800+ employees, multiple manufacturing plants, a full range of products, and sales and service locations throughout North America. Annual revenues: $50 to $75 million.
Business Analyst/Corporate Controller 2006 – 2007
Reporting to CFO, 7 indirect reports
- Simplified month-end reporting for securitized leases, utilizing Excel macros and add-ins, from a multi-day to half-day.
- Produced centralized accounting depository and initiated new processes to fast-track receipt of divisional reports.
- Devised and implemented quality assurance processes to boost accuracy and timeliness of financial information.
- Updated processes for: consolidation and generation of financial statements and other reports (such as: quarterly packages and annual audit, budget and tax packages) and communication of key financial data to parent company.
Ontario Provincial Police
Seconded to: Asset Forfeiture Unit, as the In-House Forensic Accountant. The Asset Forfeiture Unit is responsible for the identification, investigation, and seizing of offence related property and proceeds of crime.
In-House Forensic Accountant 2004 – 2006
Reporting to OPP Detective Staff Sergeant and the Principal of Zysman Forensic Accounting
- Prepared complex criminal and civil forensic accounting reports for the Asset Forfeiture Unit to use in criminal investigations and court proceedings. Other duties: investigating the source and destination of money; identifying assets as proceeds or instruments of crime and supporting local investigative units as needed.
- Bolstered forensic accounting reports, expanding the scope to include other criminal indicators not previously tracked.
- Initiated new controls to tighten internal audit functions, tracking systems for assets seized under new legislation and created forensic accounting forms and best practices checklist to be adopted across Ontario law enforcement.
- Designed and authored key unit reports including the annual report, executive summaries and promotional items including CDs, DVDs and a website.
- Produced presentations for internal/external training and joint force briefings to senior law enforcement officers.
- Planned, prepared and presented forensic accounting lectures for the Ontario Police College and served as a guest presenter at Seneca College (working with police as a Forensic Accountant). Member presenter at joint forces operations conferences.
- Created a standard asset forfeiture presentation used to train front line OPP officers.
Smith, Nixon and Co.
Based in Toronto Canada, Smith Nixon LLP was a full-service business advisory, accounting and audit firm that has been serving a broad range of Canadian business and individual clients since 1962. Smith, Nixon & Co merged with Collins Barrows in 2009.
Intermediate to Supervisor 1999 – 2004
Direct reports varied by engagements (0 to 5)
- Budgeted, planned and managed assurance engagements of public and private companies in industries such as manufacturing, distribution, financial services, professional services and retail (sales up to $108 million). Risk based audit approach – assessing: clients’ exposure to risks; company’s history, industry and potential future economic concerns.
- Scheduled, provided on-the-job training, supervised, reviewed work and provided performance assessments for team members. Typical teams consisted of the partner, four staff members under my supervision and me.
- Set-up an innovative online reference library to centralize training materials, research and resources available to staff.
- Developed custom assurance procedures for complex accounting systems and custom spreadsheets to automate complicated calculations such as: stock option valuation and complex adjusted cost base calculations for assets.
- Constructed a shared scheduling tool to streamline scheduling of staff members within the firm.
- Chartered Director (C.Dir) designation: The Director’s College 2014
- Ivey Leadership certification: Richard Ivey School of Business 2010
- Chartered Accountant (CPA, CA) designation: ICAO now CPA Canada 2003
- Bachelor of Accounting (BAcc): co-op accounting program Brock University 2002
- Also completed many additional courses in: financial reporting, forensic accounting, IT and soft skills.