New CFO learned hard work on family farm

Robert Cecil was appointed chief financial officer for the Archdiocese of Louisville earlier this year. He started his position on July 1. (Record Photo by Ruby Thomas)

The lessons of hard work were instilled in Robert Cecil — the Archdiocese of Louisville’s new chief financial officer — as a boy on his family’s Marion County farm.

Cecil was appointed by Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz earlier this year and stepped into his new role July 1.

Before coming to the archdiocese, Cecil worked for NPR of America, a global manufacturing company with an office in Bardstown, Ky., where he worked in human resources and accounting.

Before that Cecil worked for Hill-Rom, a medical technology company for 12 years.

No matter what he’s doing, Cecil said he always tries to use the “gifts and talents” he was given. Cecil said he’s ready now to use those gifts and talents to support the parishes of the archdiocese.

“Our mission is to support parishes so they can be successful,” he said during a recent interview. “What I hope is the parishes see me and my team as a resource they can use to better do their job.”

Cecil said he has a “big picture” of what he hopes to accomplish, but since July he’s been doing a lot of “learning, listening and talking” to members of his staff to see what has been done and what can be achieved. 

One of his goals is to “support the financial well-being” of parishes, he said. He plans to do this by first finding out what the parishes need in terms of financial leadership. Cecil said he wants to offer parishes consultative-type services, to teach individuals various financial literacy skills, such as making a successful budget or reading financial statements, he said. 

He’d like his office to be a “learning center on financial and general administrative” skills tailored to parishes. He’s looking forward to offering this type of support to pastors, members of parish and finance councils and parish office staff, he noted. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a measure of uncertainty, he noted, but said the archdiocese and some parishes are responding prudently. 

“We need to be more prudent in how and when we’re spending our money. We need to be wise as to what’s needed and what’s nice to have and balancing the two because we just don’t know,” said Cecil. 

He’s already seeing parishes evaluating things and delaying spending on projects, he said. Cecil said it’s important at this time to be “intentional about using resources.” 
“If we’re not intentional we’ll squander it,” he said.

Cecil earned a bachelor of science in information systems and business administration from Northern Kentucky University and a master of business administration from Thomas More University. After graduating from Northern Kentucky, Cecil moved to Cincinnati where he met his wife Amanda. 

The couple have four sons, ages 15, 13, 12 and 8. His work in the corporate world took the family to California and Mexico for a few years, but they eventually returned to Kentucky and to his family’s farm in Loretto, Ky.

Though he doesn’t have as much time as he did as a boy milking cows and harvesting tobacco, Cecil said he still helps out on the farm taking care of cattle. When he is not working, Cecil spends time coaching his childrens’ soccer teams. The family also enjoys spending time together eating ice cream and watching movies at home, he said.

He and his family are members of his childhood parish, St. Francis of Assisi Church in Loretto, where he serves as a eucharistic minister, lector and on the finance council. His older sons are altar servers at St. Francis. 

“What I really want to do is see my kids have a relationship with God,” he said. 

Cecil said he’s been “blessed” or maybe just “lucky” so he wants to give back by being of service to others. 

Cecil succeeds Robert Ash, who served as chief financial officer for the archdiocese since 2004.

The position of chief financial officer is a Canonical appointment by the archbishop and was done with the support of the Priests’ Council and Finance Council, according to information from the archdiocese.
Ruby Thomas
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Ruby Thomas
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