Six CFOs from R.I. companies to discuss challenges, trends at URI roundtable

College of Business’ CFO Roundtable set for April 1

KINGSTON, R.I. – March 14, 2024 – The University of Rhode Island College of Business will convene a panel of chief financial officers from some of Rhode Island’s largest companies for a roundtable discussion on current challenges facing financial officers.

In its third year, the CFO Roundtable will be held Monday, April 1, at 6:30 p.m. in the Center for Biotechnology and Life Sciences’ Thomas Ryan Auditorium on the Kingston Campus. For the first time, the free event is open to the public. Registration is not required but business casual dress is encouraged.

The roundtable will feature John D. Conforti ’77, chief financial officer of Ocean State Job Lot; Frank T. Connor, executive vice president and CFO of Textron; Tom Cowhey, executive vice president and CFO of CVS Health; James P. Loring Jr., senior vice president, CFO and treasurer of Amica Mutual Insurance Company; Robert J. Murray, CFO of Gilbane; and Ronald Ohsberg ’86, G’95, P’21, senior executive vice president, CFO and treasurer of The Washington Trust Company.

“The organizations these CFOs represent make up a considerable percentage of the state’s gross domestic product,” said Michael Ice, associate teaching professor of finance at URI and organizer of the biannual roundtable. “Their responsibilities are vast and have a tremendous impact on the state as a whole, not to mention the countless opportunities for employment that their companies provide for our students. I don’t think there is a venue that puts this much firepower into one room.”

Ice and Deborah Imondi ’82, MBA ’86, former assistant treasurer with Textron, will serve as moderators for the event. Imondi leads the College of Business’ Women in Finance initiative and is an Executive in Residence in the college.

The College of Business launched the CFO Roundtable in 2022 with the aim of developing and building relationships between the state’s flagship university and some of the state’s biggest companies. Participants on the roundtable have also included CFOs from Hasbro and FM Global.

“From a URI standpoint, we wanted to expose them to our curriculum and talented students and make them aware of the work being done on campus and the possible opportunities to collaborate,” Ice said.

“For the participants, while they don’t directly compete with each other, their companies are all headquartered in Rhode Island and they share many common challenges,” he added. “The forum gives them an opportunity to all be in the same room and openly discuss the challenges they’re facing, and their ideas and insights.

“It’s proven to be worth of their valuable time—evidenced by the fact they keep coming back.”

If the April 1 event is similar to previous gatherings, said Ice, the discussion of challenges and trends will be lively. While he normally settles on topics with panelists a week before the event, he said topics at this event could include how their companies are embracing artificial intelligence, along with subjects central to Rhode Island.

Since the event’s inception, the College of Business has thought of the roundtable becoming a public forum, Ice said. “Now that we are in our third year, we thought it would be an appropriate time to share the experience,” he said. “The opportunity to get Rhode Island business leaders in a room and discuss current topics is pretty powerful.”