691: Get Out of the Weeds | Rob Krolik, Partner, Burst Capital (CFO emeritus)

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When Rob Krolik agreed to join us for a CFO (emeritus) episode, we expected to hear about the successful business turnaround chapter that he added to his finance resume while CFO at Move.com. We also anticipated learning about his years at Yelp, where—back in 2011, as the firm’s new CFO—he was credited with helping to lead one of the year’s most successful IPOs.

While Krolik was only too happy to share a few thoughts regarding both of these chapters, he also reflected on a place in time about which we never expected to hear—namely, when a speech delivered by the outgoing president of his international youth group turned out to be plagiarized and in fact a word-for-word copy of an address given by another retiring president a number of years earlier.

“It was a very moving speech and I had put the guy up on a pedestal, so it taught me not to put anyone up there again,” explains Krolik, who notes that this experience from his teen years led him to enter the professional world with a self-mandate to treat people as individuals.

“It actually allowed me to treat people equally at the different jobs I’ve had. Whether it was a CEO or COO or the lowest-level accountant, they were going to be treated all the same,” he continues.

Still, Krolik’s egalitarian aspirations have not stifled his willingness to offer generous praise to past mentors and bosses alike, among whom is counted finance executive Robert Swan, the former CFO of eBay (and more recently Intel CEO), who is allotted perhaps the lion’s share of Krolik’s kudos.

“He was able to explain things in a way that made sense to everyone in the room and not just the tech people and not just the finance and accounting people,” recalls Krolik, who joined eBay after the firm acquired Shopping.com, where Krolik had served in his first CFO role.

Krolik would stay on at eBay as a vice president of finance for another 3 years before entering the CFO office at Move.com. –Jack Sweeney

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