Finding a CFO who can grow

Calamco (California Ammonia Company) was incorporated in 1957 for the primary purpose of manufacturing and selling anhydrous ammonia and ammonia based fertilizers to its stockholder-patrons. The company owns and operates one of only two ammonia terminals in California, a port facility in Stockton, California, serving over 1,200 growers and dozens of dealers.  Calamco is 45% owned by J. R. Simplot Company, one of the nation’s largest privately held food and agribusiness companies. 

Some time after a vacancy occurred in Calamco’s top financial position, Morrison & Company was engaged to find a new Chief Financial Officer.  With the company’s two top executives expecting to retire with five years, and at about the same time, Calamco needed more than just a solid CFO:  they needed a CFO who could develop into a solid CEO candidate.  There were no guarantees, but the ideal was to develop a strong internal CEO candidate capable of ensuring a smooth transition.

This is not every CFO.  There are many superb CFOs who do not want the top spot and others who lack the necessary vision or skillset. In a very real sense, a search of this nature requires a person who is both willing and able to do both.

“The CFO position is critical to Calamco, particularly with transitions expected in the next five years.  We were pleased with both the process in working with Morrison and the range of candidates they presented.  Most importantly, I am extremely pleased with the candidate who joined the Calamco team as our new CFO.” –

Bob Brown, President/CEO, Calamco

After interviews with the CEO and a review of the company’s current and future needs, Morrison helped develop a candidate description and custom interview questions designed to find the right fit.  Hundreds of contacts were made and dozens of candidates were screened before six promising candidates were reviewed with the CEO; four were selected to interview in-house.

Morrison participated in the in-house interviews, after which a candidate was selected for further discussions, including time with key members of the Board.  Morrison facilitated the offer, conducted the background check, and helped craft a relocation package for the successful candidate, who resided in the St. Louis Missouri area. 

The successful candidate was a referral from one of our long-time contacts, a former colleague of one of Morrison’s principals.  The new CFO is a graduate of one of the country’s top military academies and holds an MBA from The University of Chicago.  He brings over nine years of CFO level experience, including having been CFO of a well-known division of a Fortune 100 food and consumer packaged goods company.  He also brings a solid background in data-driven strategic planning and a strong operations orientation.

Calamco’s new CFO arrived at the start of the fertilizer year and is quickly making significant contributions.  He has settled in and rapidly become an important part of the executive team.

"I am excited to be part of the Calamco team and contributing to our ongoing successful business.   The CFO role here is a great fit for both my skillset and my future career goals.  Morrison & Company helped make the recruitment process straightforward and transparent each step of the way.   While recruiting/interviewing is always challenging for everyone involved, I can say my experience with Morrison and the Calamco board and management was positive in all aspects." –

Dan Stone, CFO, Calamco