2022 CFO of the Year: Rodney Graham

(IBJ photo/Eric Learned)

Chief Financial Officer, Co-Alliance Cooperative

Rodney Graham is responsible for the accounting, treasury and information systems teams for Co-Alliance—a nearly 100-year-old diversified agribusiness owned and controlled by about 12,400 members who are local farmers that produce or market farm products—and its subsidiaries and joint ventures.

Major accomplishments
“Co-Alliance has seen tremendous growth during my three-year tenure, growing revenue 150% to $2 billion,” he said. The company’s growth is a result of a significant merger and a few smaller acquisitions combined with organic expansion. Additionally, Co-Alliance and a partner formed a $100 million joint venture in Michigan.

Challenges overcome
“Growth brings challenges to the balance sheet and culture of the organization,” he said. “We have worked diligently to maintain our strong balance sheet and strengthen our culture by remaining true to our local community roots. Strong communication with our member-owners, our community teams and corporate staff [has] enabled us to realize the synergies and financial strength we sought with the merger.”

Career path
Graham has worked in accounting for large agribusiness conglomerates and as a leader of entrepreneurial transportation-related companies. “Bringing both these experiences together in my move to Co-Alliance was a great fit,” he said.

My job would be easier if …
“I wouldn’t want it any easier. The challenges make it rewarding and provide me with growth opportunities. Crystal ball would be nice, though.”

Community involvement
Coached in Carmel Dad’s Club as his children have grown; served on the board of the Indiana Blind Children’s Foundation for three years. And he’s taught as an adjunct professor at Butler University and the University of Indianapolis.

Free time
He likes to travel, golf with his sons and take care of his landscaping.•

Check out more CFO honorees.

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