Recruiting exceptional leaders for mission-driven organizations.




Chief Financial Officer Northbrook, IL

Underwriters Laboratories, a trusted and globally recognized leader in safety-science research and standards development, seeks an experienced financial leader to serve as Chief Financial Officer (CFO). Building on its legacy and 127-year history of success, Underwriters Laboratories has embraced a new strategic plan committed to science, innovation, and discovery in areas of global societal importance. The organization is launching a major expansion of the research enterprise, including significant growth in its research staff, aimed at enabling new breakthroughs in safety-science research initiatives across program areas. This includes energy storage, chemical safety, fire safety, and prospective fields driven by rapidly evolving technologies. As a key member of the executive leadership team, the CFO will provide essential financial stewardship, leadership, and guidance as the organization capitalizes on existing strengths to create a world-class research organization to address a wide variety of safety challenges and emerging threats. This is a rare opportunity to be present at the creation of a significant enterprise that will conduct pioneering research, leverage relationships in academia and industry, and attract world-class talent.

Underwriters Laboratories is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to advance public safety through the discovery and application of scientific knowledge. It conducts rigorous independent research and analyzes safety data, convenes experts worldwide to address safety risks, shares knowledge through safety education and public outreach initiatives, and develops standards to guide safe and sustainable commercialization of evolving technologies. The organization employs collaborative and scientific approaches with partners and stakeholders to drive innovation and progress toward improving safety, security, and sustainability, ultimately enhancing societal well-being. It is the parent organization of UL, Inc., the for-profit business that oversees the testing, inspection, certification, auditing, and validation of products around the world.

Underwriters Laboratories is embarking on ambitious growth in the breadth, depth, and impact of the safety mission and is striving to establish the world’s preeminent safety-science research institution. It will build on its talented team of scientists and engineers and assemble a premier faculty of resident and visiting scholars, safety advocates, standards experts, and business leaders who will amplify the organization’s mission, impact, and stature. In developing this roadmap for future growth and success, Underwriters Laboratories has engaged the expertise of Bridgespan, a leading global nonprofit consulting firm known for its expertise in developing social change models and measurements of impact.

To build a world-class research presence, the CFO will shape a sustainable financial infrastructure, manage the investment strategy, build a highly functioning finance team, foster collaboration with key stakeholders, and leverage the collective strength of the brand. Underwriters Laboratories is uniquely positioned to expand its global safety-science and standards-development leadership on the foundation of its existing assets, which include an unrivaled reputation and a highly fertile environment for research, innovation, and sustained growth. Reporting to the President and CEO, the CFO will work in close collaboration with board members, the executive leadership team including the Chief Research Officer (CRO) and Chief Administrative Officer (CAO), researchers, and administrators, as well as key external constituents and industry partners to maximize interdisciplinary and cross-organizational activity and impact. In collaboration with the newly appointed CRO and a new CAO, the CFO is responsible for financial management, investment management, a strong relationship with the for-profit business, and effective communication and reporting to the Board.

The ideal candidate will be an exceptional leader who brings demonstrated success in both high-level financial and endowment management, housed within an academic or foundation setting. The CFO must be an entrepreneurial leader who has the necessary ability and drive to effectively manage and allocate resources in the creation of a world-class research organization. The CFO must be an enterprising leader who is flexible in approach and comfortable with the ambiguity that comes with being a part of a rapidly growing and evolving enterprise.

Andy Lee is leading this search with Neeta Mehta.


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