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Tighe Reardon, CFO: An Asset Behind the Scenes

With 14 active companies in the COI incubator, impeccable leadership of the finance team and proper management of the $19.7 million in revenue that supports COI portfolio companies is a must. At COI we are grateful to have our chief financial officer, Tighe Reardon, at the helm of these operations.

Each year, the San Diego Business Journal honors financial wizards, like Tighe, who work behind the scenes to profoundly contribute to company growth, leadership, and community involvement. We are proud to announce that Tighe has been selected as a finalist for the 2018 San Diego Business Journal CFO Awards.

So who is this man behind the scenes? To find out we sat down with COI CEO, Jay Lichter, Ph.D., to learn more about the integral role Tighe plays not just at COI but throughout the San Diego community. 

Q: In addition to his role as CFO for COI portfolio companies, Tighe also holds a position as CFO of Avalon Ventures.  Can you tell us a little bit more about his roles at both those positions?

A: Tighe is an invaluable asset to both Avalon Ventures and COI Pharmaceuticals.  As CFO of Avalon, he facilitated 67 financings, which invested $43M into 32 companies, 12 in San Diego.  COI’s unique resource structure positions Tighe in the role of CFO for 14 portfolio companies.  Of those companies, he has prepared two for new finance support to eventually go public.

Q: Part of what makes COI an amazing place to work is the community involvement.  In what ways has Tighe helped to create and maintain a community of innovation beyond his financial role? 

A: Tighe has honed the key leadership qualities of delegating responsibility and leading by example.  The finance group is an integral part of COI, supporting a corporate partnership with GSK and dozens of independent small biotech companies.  Tighe provides guidance to his team to help them succeed in their current roles and exposes them to many growth opportunities to take on additional roles and responsibilities as well as expand their skill sets for career development.

In addition, Tighe dedicates some of this time to supporting fitness-based social team building.  With 14 different companies at COI, the teams can quickly get isolated into silos. To combat that, Tighe drove the development of the COI basketball team and COI PhitClub.  Basketball plays every Tuesday evening and has broad employee representation drawing from various portfolio companies.  PhitClub is a cross-fit workout that meets twice a week for a one hour workout and, through Tighe’s enthusiasm and participation, gets nearly one third of the employees to participate.

Q: A CFO’s management of funds can make or break an organization.  How does Tighe’s management style contribute to the financial successes seen at both Avalon and COI?   

A: Tighe has contributed to both Avalon and COI’s financial success through capital efficient cash management.  He maintains tight controls on approvals without inhibiting the scientific research.  His structure includes funding companies on a quarterly basis to control cash flow, ensures milestones are met and maximizes IRR at the fund level.  Also, as one of seven voting members of COI’s investment committee, Tighe participates in all funding decisions to grow or build new organizations that will provide a return on investment.

Q: The San Diego Business Journal looks for outstanding characteristics in selecting their CFO of the Year.  What makes Tighe an exceptional candidate for this award?

A: Although Tighe’s background is in tax accounting, he has rapidly become an integral strategic partner in the venture fund and for the companies at COI.  He has proven himself far more than a “numbers guy” as he has been able to quickly learn the science, which helps to position companies for success and return on investment.  Equally as important, as noted above, is Tighe’s force-of-personality in team building through extramural activities. These outside-of-work efforts have brought a diverse set of employees together that otherwise might not interact.  Tighe’s efforts are a critical success factor for these individuals and their companies.

Visit the San Diego Business Journal for more information and a full list of the 2018 CFO of the Year finalists.

To learn more about COI’s leadership team, visit our Team page.