2022 CFO of the Year: Tony Firmani

(IBJ photos/Eric Learned)

Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, MPI Corp.

Tony Firmani is CFO of MPI Corp. and its operating subsidiaries, which currently includes Small Parts Inc. and HTI. He leads the finance and human resources functions, which include all finance and accounting matters, merger and acquisition activities, compliance, and all compensation and benefits matters.

Major accomplishments
Following the divestiture in February 2021 of MPI Corp.’s smallest operating company, CH Ellis LLC, Firmani turned his attention to a board-mandated executive and ownership transition plan revolving around CEO Clay Barnes’ planned retirement in 2028. The transition plan included engaging three different investment banking and financial advisory firms to assess four possible strategies: Sell now, grow now and sell later, convert to an employee stock ownership plan, or continue business as usual. Firmani managed the “lion’s share” of that assessment. And when the board decided to move forward with an ESOP, he managed several aspects of that project, including the divesture of MPI’s second-largest operating company, ABC Metals Inc., the sale-leaseback of real estate, the sale of other non-operating assets, and the negotiation and closing of bank financing. “Leading and closing any one of the transactions while still performing normal CFO duties in that short window of time would have been a significant accomplishment,” Barnes wrote in his nomination for Firmani. “Successfully executing them all, which taken together, fundamentally transformed the ownership and business structure of our enterprise, is unlike anything I have witnessed in my professional career.”

Challenges overcome
“The main challenge I have faced this past year was simply the workload to complete the activities required,” Firmani said. “My career path began in public accounting, so I was able to dig deep into that reservoir of work ethic I had developed. My public accounting experience is also where I learned how to do high-quality work.”

Career path
He started his career working in tax practice at Arthur Andersen’s Indianapolis office, primarily focused on manufacturing and transportation companies and later tax-planning projects for manufacturing, transportation and professional services firms in the Kansas City office. He then took a job as senior tax manager with Ernst & Young. Eventually, he was ready to move out of public accounting, and at the same time, heard from his childhood friend, Clay Barnes, about an opportunity at MPI Corp.

If people only knew …
“The role of a CFO can be whatever you want it to be. The vision you have of the organization is unparalleled.”•

Check out more CFO honorees.

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