CFO Studio magazine with Todd McElhatton 13 S as Mukherjee, CFO and Chief Strategy Officer for York Risk Services*, has delivered his company millions in benefits using a financial lever that few CFOs employ. When he joined York, an insurance services provider, in 2016, he saw the potential to consolidate its real estate footprint. The company, based in Jersey City, NJ, had more than 100 facilities across the United States. By year end 2018, the number of offices had dropped 43 percent, with over 31 percent reduction just in 2018. Decreasing the size of that footprint was not the only positive result. An important outcome that York is tracking in tandem is employee engagement, which has become markedly more positive over that period. What York needed at the time of Mukherjee’s hiring was an operational leader who was more than a traditional CFOwith proven track record who could help the company drive quick transformation. And that’s what the company got. Mukherjee’s atypical route to the CFO role includes stints as Chief Executive at two different firms, including a top private equity portfolio company; as Managing Director at a Big Four consulting firmwhere he formed a center of excellence to help Fortune 500 companies develop plans and implement long-term strategic transformation; and as Shared Services CFO/Head of Strategy and Business Excellence at health care company Kaiser Permanente. He found his niche in the CFO role with its “360-degree view of the company, a view that is grounded in solid facts and financial numbers.” Thus, a CFO “is in a much better position to develop a realistic vision and has a higher probability of success” he says. To take that a step further, “CFOs are uniquely positioned to wield many levers to drive strategic transformation,” Mukherjee says. He has been an evangelist for the evolving strategic role of the CFO and has been a sought- after speaker delivering keynote addresses at CFO conferences around the country. He has engaged CFOs at Executive Dinner Series events hosted by CFO Studio, discussing how real estate can be a financial lever for organizational change, among other levers. Not Just Cost-Reduction Back in 2017, Mukherjee was implementing a broad portfolio of transformation initiatives requiring access to top talent, among other criteria. Location of York’s real estate, he knew from his prior global resource and real estate optimization experience, was an important enabler. Through a competitive procurement process, he selected Jones Lang Lasalle ( JLL) to be York’s commercial real estate broker, partnering with Scott Lesh, JLL Managing Director, after the two were introduced by CFO Studio’s CEO, Andrew Zezas. Mukherjee determined that any office space for York would feature elements of what Lesh calls the improved workplace experience. The two made a good team, sharing an understanding that “the real estate lever can be equally as effective and enabling” as outsourcing or analytics for driving strategy, says Mukherjee. “We’re seeing a significant shift in the way employers are looking to attract and retain talent,” says Lesh. “They’re giving employees spaces to collaborate and the opportunity to cross-pollinate with their colleagues.” *York was acquired by Sedgwick in early September Sas Mukherjee, CFO York Risk Services