For Seattle-based Kevin McCarthy FCCA, the new Microsoft consumer channels Chief Financial Officer, ongoing product innovation is the key to generating energetic business growth
Kevin McCarthy FCCA, the recently appointed chief financial officer for Microsoft’s consumer channels group, is planning to use his expertise in manufacturing and consumer space management to spin energised growth into what is, he says, ‘already an amazing business model’.
Sitting in his modern office in Microsoft’s headquarters in Seattle, near the US border with Canada, McCarthy says that he literally married into Microsoft. He followed his then girlfriend, whom he had met in Ireland and was already employed at Microsoft, to Seattle when she was offered a fresh job there in 2000. McCarthy was offered a job around the same time with Microsoft’s Xbox video-gaming brand. His Italian-born girlfriend, who later became his wife, retired in 2010 after 20 years with the global giant.
After graduating with an MBS in finance from University College Dublin in 1995, McCarthy became group financial controller at Toughline Manufacturing, an international manufacturing and rental group, headquartered in Ireland. Five years later, a trip to California sealed his future. ‘I needed something new and enjoyed the experience,’ he recounts. He moved to the US west coast to be controller at Odenberg Engineering and provide full finance functions to international subsidiaries of the Irish manufacturing company. When he subsequently moved to Microsoft as Xbox CFO, he was responsible for managing all financial planning and analysis relating to the Xbox 360 console, Kinect sensors, Xbox Live, accessories and games software.
McCarthy was a vital team member in the think-tank behind Xbox, seeking to fend off competition for some of its more exclusive features by acquiring tech companies such as id8, VideoSurf, Twisted Pixel and Canesta.
He was invited last year by Amy Hood, executive vice president and CFO for Microsoft, to take over as CFO for Microsoft’s consumer channels group – its sales and marketing division. His job will be to hone sales and marketing activities with resellers, operators and retail partners: ‘Microsoft will be focused on three areas: selling to businesses, selling to consumers and selling to advertisers.’
His new position is a good example of the software company’s desire to match staff with their areas of business and engineering expertise. McCarthy says his mantra is simple: ‘efficiency’. Managing a team of 30 in Redmond and another 200 spread around the globe, he begins his day by dealing with 60-odd emails.
‘I start with the Russians, then with the US and Europe by noon, and Asia in the evening,’ he says. ‘It is meetings, meetings and more meetings.’ Since he took over, he has flown 150,000 miles, liaising with staff around the world.
This is an extract from an article originally published in Accounting and Business Magazine in January 2015. Read the full article