revolving door Image credit Pixabay/HansCertinia has appointed Donald J. “DJ” Paoni as its new CEO, effective October 14th. Paoni replaces Scott Brown, who has led the company for the last three years, growing the company and leading it through its rebranding from FinancialForce, funding, the launch of several new products and the change of majority ownership to Havelii by Haveli Investments.

Paoni joins the company from SAP, where he started as a Senior Account Executive and rose to become President, SAP North America during a 26-year career at the global giant. He will join the Certinia board of directors but is not being appointed President, unlike Scott Brown.

Scott Brown. “It has been a privilege to lead such a talented and highly engaged group of professionals who are so committed to the Company’s culture of innovation, collaboration and excellence. I have every confidence that Certinia will continue to thrive under DJ’s leadership and look forward to seeing many more achievements from this team in the years ahead.”

Who is DJ Paoni

Douglas (DJ) Paoni, CEO Certinia
Douglas (DJ) Paoni, CEO Certinia

During his career at SAP, he led successful sales teams. He improved customer engagement and delivered strong financial and operational performance. As head of North America for SAP, he drove strategy, profitability, and customer success in the US and Canada. Paoni was responsible for 25,000 employees and 200,000 customer relationships, far larger than Certinia.

DJ Paoni said, “I am thrilled to join such a talented team and to help lead Certinia forward as we set our sights on accelerating growth. Certinia has developed the leading PSA offering alongside powerful ERP and Customer Success solutions, built a robust, loyal customer base in a market with rapidly growing demand, and cultivated a team-oriented culture where innovation thrives.

“I am very excited by the opportunity before us and look forward to working with the team to build on Certinia’s strong foundation for growth, better serve our customers’ evolving needs, and expand Certinia’s position as the gold-standard system of record for end-to-end software for professional services organizations.

“On behalf of the Board and the entire company, I want to thank Scott for his many contributions. Scott’s leadership has been essential in building the Company, developing Certinia’s best-in-class product offering, and establishing a strong culture and values. Certinia simply would not be where it is today without Scott’s exemplary leadership, and we are grateful for his contribution.

“I am incredibly proud of the Certinia team and the progress we’ve made advancing our product offering, growing our customer base and differentiating Certinia as the leader for PSA solutions.”

Paoni obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech Communication from the University of Illinois and gained an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management.

Enterprise Times: What does this mean

At first glance, this seems a sudden change of leadership, with Scott Brown already updating his LinkedIn profile to indicate that he left Certinia in September. However, Paoni equally left his role during August, which might infer that this appointment has been some time in coming. Paoni now has eleven months to get his feet under the table at Certinia to build his relationship with Salesforce before the start of the 2024 Dreamforce.

Paoni has less experience working internationally than Brown. It will be interesting to see how he continues the international expansion, though there is a strong local leadership team in place in Europe already. Is this a move that Haveli wanted? It will be interesting to hear how Paoni will change the strategy that Brown was executing also whether he retains the existing team or looks to move in people he is more familiar with. There is certain to be a period of adjustment.


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