The Next Moves: Interview with Craig Hudson, CPA, CA, CFA, the CFO of Tulip

In a recent conversation with Craig Hudson, CPA, CA, CFA, a seasoned CFO with experience in various sized organizations across various types of industries, we delved into the intricacies of his career and the lessons he’s learned along the way. As a recruitment firm specializing in finance, accounting, and data analytics placements, we know that Craig’s journey offers valuable insights for C-level executives aiming to grow their businesses and for anyone who is looking to make the right next move in their career.

Craig’s career trajectory highlights the importance of bridging gaps and continuously building skills. His transition from KPMG, where he moved from audit to advisory, set the stage for his later roles. At Indigo, he started as the Manager of Pricing and Optimization for the digital team, despite not fully understanding the role initially. This move was driven by his strong analytical skills honed during his time in M&A, where he mastered not only running analyses but also storytelling—a crucial skill in finance.

At Indigo, Craig’s role evolved significantly. As the Director of FP&A, he focused on deep analyses that went beyond basic variance reporting, developing strategies that directly impacted the company’s performance. Craig’s responsibilities expanded to include operations, covering everything from customer service to supply chain management. This broad mandate taught him valuable lessons in leadership. He realized that effective leadership isn’t about having detailed knowledge of every role but about understanding performance, removing barriers, and aligning team efforts with the company’s goals.

Craig’s move to Knix in early 2020 coincided with the onset of the global pandemic. Despite initial sales drops, the company experienced unprecedented growth due to increased customer acquisition and retention. Craig’s ability to quickly adapt and build scenario models was crucial during this period. His proactive approach to managing the financial aspects of the crisis, combined with transparent communication from the CEO, helped stabilize the company which was acquired shortly thereafter by international health and hygiene brand Essity.

Following the $320M USD acquisition of Knixwear, Craig became the Chief Financial Officer of LumiQ, an education platform that helps CPAs with verifiable professional education through entertaining podcasts. He helped scale up the company by establishing an annual strategy, collaborative budgeting, weekly KPI reporting, enhanced Board and investor reporting, and automating processes. Now, Craig is taking on interim and fractional opportunities and as the CFO at Tulip, an omnichannel retail solutions company, he has ambitious plans to help the company reach new heights.

Listen to the full interview to hear more about Craig Hudson’s incredible career journey and what he’s learned along the way, like the importance of aligning with the CEO’s vision while also defining the CFO’s role. He also underscored the significance of a strong recruitment relationship, recounting a scenario at Knix where Clarity stepped in to help find a rare “left-handed unicorn” candidate to fill a critical role. He also delves into the importance of planning for people within organizations and how, oftentimes, people managers are brought in too late in the game.

Craig Hudson’s journey offers a blueprint for aspiring CFOs and other C-level executives. By bridging gaps, building skills, and fostering strong networks, leaders can navigate their careers successfully and drive their organizations forward.

Clarity has worked with Craig Hudson and numerous C-level executives throughout their hiring and career journeys. If you’re trying to find the high-performing talent you need to build your finance, accounting and data analytics teams, we’re ready to help!

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