How AI created the definitive  Fortune 500 CFO   

Meet the most common Fortune 500 CFO as created by Artificial Intelligence.

The AI has created the definitive male and female version of the CFOs based on learning the images of hundreds of finance chiefs in the Fortune 500.The AI visualization sees the “ideal CFO” as roughly 53 year old and unarguably white (more on this later). The elite CFOs also dresses for success in a specific color. For female CFOs this is hex code ‘655152’ (a dark brown), while for male CFOs the thread of choice is hex code “2d2f37” (dark navy). 

How AI created The Most Common CFO

Datarails enlisted the help of AI to reveal the most common profile of a successful CFO. The process saw AI software ingest the corporate headshots of CFOs in the Fortune 500, from AT&T to Walmart, to learn the most common physical traits of a top finance chief. This involved analysis of the Linkedin profiles or corporate websites portraits of these finance leaders. The AI also factored in characteristics directly from CFO F500 core job requirements ‒ such as analytical skills, drive and interpersonal skills ‒  traits which also are reflected in this big reveal. The AI hunt for the “perfect CFO” was under the supervision of leading Korean artist and ML expert, Jooyeong Hwang, using stable diffusion .

The Methodology: The Most Common Female CFO Revealed

We collected female CFOs from the Fortune 500 (16% of top CFOs are wormen, Crist Kolder research). Photos of all the Fortune 500 female CFOs (some of whom are below) provided rich data, which AI analyzed and learned from. This ultimately generate a representative image symbolizing a CFO.

Some of the 80 female CFOs the AI trained on

The AI analyzed the images of the Fortune 500 female CFOs. It then derived the average colors in their principal portait on their LinkedIn or website executive profile. This allowed us
to create a color palette approximating the typical image of a CFO.

This mean image represents the average color characteristics of all the collected
CFO images.

This color distribution chart shows the dominance of each color in the images. It
reveals that the average color value of female CFOs’ clothing is the hex code ‘655152’.

AI generates new images based on this average color image. These images
represent the ‘average’ appearance of a CFO, incorporating various features such as
hair color, skin tone, and clothing color learned from the AI’s training data across the Fortune 500 female CFO training set.

Voilà meet the “ideal” Female CFO.

Replete in #655152, it means The White Lotus TV producers also got the look and feel of a CFO right. She looks more than a little like fictional CFO (of a top search engine company) Nicole Mossbacher (played by now 56-year-old Connie Britton) in the multi-award winning HBO show, The White Lotus.

Connie Britton CFO of unamed top search engine on HBO’s White Lotus

Now finding the Most Common Male CFO…

Then the same process was underaken in the hunt for the most common male CFO images. The other (majority male) of Fortune 500 CFOs were put into the AI mix to discover the most common mold.

Some of the hundreds of male Fortune 500 CFO images the AI trained on

Again, in the dark navy hue of #2d2f37 the ideal CFO could grace the boardroom of any institution, or the front of any corporate magazine. Trained to show a skillset of analytics and drive, he could also get a lot done (or at least give the impression of embodying these traits).

Underlying Bias in Creating the Most Common CFO

Unsurprisingly the AI-generated ideal finance chiefs are, well, pretty white. Part of this is just an unfortunate reality. In 2022 16% Only 10.9% of CFOs are racially or ethnically diverse (Crist Kolder’s Volatility Report 2022). But it also reflects intrinsic bias in AI models. This CFO study essentially repeats a finding which found 97% of visualisations created by AI stable diffusion, such as DALL-E, represent positions of authority — like “CEO” or “director” — as white (images that didn’t depict white men were linked to professions like “maid” and “taxi driver). This troubling research from AI firm Hugging Face – including a former ethics researcher at Google – concludes that AI-image generators continue to depict racial and gender biases in outputs.

In real life, the number of companies in the S&P 500 and Fortune 500 with Black chief financial officers nearly doubled over the past year, to 20 in 2021 from 12 in 2020, but this is hardly a revolution.

Datarails created the most common ‘s CFO as it marks the launch of FP&A Genius, “the ChatGPT” for the Office of the CFO giving companies unprecedented instant insights about budgets, forecasts, variance, and spend. 

FP&A Genius provides generative AI answers based on complete and consolidated finance data from across a company. The chat function allows executives to quickly answer questions such as ‘How did revenue compare 2022 vs 2021?’, ‘What will happen to the bottom line if inflation is 2x the rate today?’ and ‘How will results be impacted if revenue grows by 10% next year?’