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New CFO takes on big software conversion

By Mike Wood

Staff writer


Monday, May 13 (12:30 p.m.): Todd Arterburn, Rossmoor’s new chief financial officer, is already immersed in the vitally important conversion to the NetSuite business and accounting software system.

With considerable background implementing what’s called ERP, or Enterprise Resource Planning tools, across large companies in the business world, Arterburn’s first major move as CFO has been to move NetSuite’s “go live” date to Jan. 1, 2025. This comes after determining that the previously designated date – June 30 of this year – to fully move off the outdated Jenark system wouldn’t work.

“It involves so many people, and they’re still trying to do their day jobs. So, you’ve got to make sure you carve out some time to really do this right,” Arterburn said, noting how the new timeline aligns with the end of the fiscal year for most Mutuals. “It’s too big of a project across the entire enterprise not to take our time.”

After a stint in Rossmoor as a consultant, then a month as GRF’s interim CFO, Arterburn has been hired as CFO on a permanent basis. His appointment was announced at the April 25 GRF Board meeting.

While interim CFO, it “absolutely” was evident that Arterburn would be a strong fit, GRF General Manager Jeff Matheson said, adding that he has “an exceptional background and understanding of accounting.”

Arterburn had been a partner with 2Go Advisory Group, also known as CFOs to Go, and recently provided his expertise to GRF’s Accounting Department.

“During this time, I got to know Todd and observe first-hand his depth of knowledge, his communication skills, and his management approach,” Matheson said. “When I did his background and spoke to references, it was evident that Todd had the qualities that will serve this community well.”

Arterburn also had his own financial consulting practice, RRW Consulting, LLC, which he founded in 2012. His experience in ERP implementation already has benefited GRF.

“In his short time with GRF, he has been able to evaluate the current status of the implementation program, develop a schedule that overlays with the ongoing schedule of the Accounting Department in order to evaluate the capacity of the department to dedicate the time necessary to complete implementation,” Matheson said.

“He demonstrated the need to do outreach to the Mutual boards and treasurers’ group to build buy-in and develop appropriate reporting,” Matheson added. “He also recognized the benefit of starting a new budget year with the system as opposed to a mid-year cutover.”

Arterburn spent considerable time in the top financial echelon of the wine industry, most recently as CFO for Harv 81 USA, a leading provider of cork and barrel-making.

Arterburn said he felt “a real connection” in meeting with Matheson, senior managers and others who work here, and with Mutual boards. Adding to the allure is that he and his wife, Rebecca, an executive recruiter in the biotech sphere, live a four-minute drive from Rossmoor’s gate.

“It kind of felt like I was being called,” Arterburn said. “The people here really sold it.”

Strong lines of communication with Mutual boards and building greater understanding of what Accounting does are important to him.

“Transparency from this office first and foremost is the most critical thing for the success of this role,” he said. “It’s super critical for people to understand what this job is and how I see this job and what it entails.”

More “storytelling” or forecasting of the future, along with the accounting work that the department provides, is envisioned.

“There could be some real transformational things we can do here as a group in terms of the level of service provided to the Mutuals,” he said.

Since the 2021 retirement of Rick Chakoff, the two most recent CFOs were here briefly – Joel Lesser for two years and Tom Hand for one. Arterburn was introduced as interim CFO at March’s GRF Board meeting, one day after Hand’s employment with GRF ended.

Arterburn resigned his partnership and role with 2 Go Advisory Group upon becoming GRF CFO.

“I know the community out here, and I’m really good at communicating,” Arterburn said. “I gave up a partnership to be here, and I would just let the residents and the community know that I’m fully committed to be here to serve them for the long haul. It was a big decision for me and my wife and my family to come on board, and it was not taken lightly.”

Born in the Ozarks in Missouri, Arterburn grew up in the Peninsula. Drawn to the allure of flying, he earned his pilot’s license while studying at Palo Alto High School.

“All my hobbies seemed to be too expensive,” he said with a chuckle.

He went to the University of Arizona, met his first wife, Sheri, and followed her to Southern California. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in finance from National University, and later worked as a financial analyst for the Orange County Fire Department. With a passion for the wine business, and Sheri being from Ukiah, a move to the wine country and that industry was natural.

In the financial world, he met many impactful individuals. He calls Lew Platt, the one-time CEO of Hewlett-Packard, his biggest mentor and a source of support during very trying times.

Within the two years he worked with Platt, who by then had left HP, Sheri was diagnosed with inflammatory breast cancer, when Arterburn’s daughter, Elyse, was 10 months old. After a five-year battle, Sheri succumbed to cancer. Within a year, Todd also lost his father, who had interstitial lung disease.

“As my mentor, Lew took me under his wings,” Arterburn said. “Lew was there just pushing me on.”

Arterburn married Rebecca in 2010, noting how they realized they shared a favorite book, “Jitterbug Perfume” by Tom Robbins. In a remarkable series of coincidences, they also discovered that Rebecca and Sheri had a mutual friend and that all, including Todd, had met at that friend’s wedding.

Arterburn cites his Christian faith as being of upmost importance.

“My faith means the world to me, and it definitely guides my decisions and my interactions with other people.”