I got up there and saw that he was talking to someone in his office and turned to his assistant to find out if he could sign. A minute or two later I was waved into his office, not to be grilled about the signature issue, but to find out what I knew about teak furniture (the project was for the purchase of a large quantity of teak furniture). It seemed to be a relaxed atmosphere so I casually described it as a tropical hardwood, very durable and attractive. The CFO asked about the color and I described it as not unlike the color of his desk. He wasn't asking me because HE didn't know but because he was making a point that everyone seemed obsessed with teak furniture in our company, making light of the fact that he had been overruled when he'd suggested that the purchase was not a wise business decision at this time.
For the first time, I was joking around with the CFO instead of getting grilled and badgered. He started to come around to the approval issue, wondering why he had to sign, when all the other execs could email their approvals. I didn't address it directly but joked that if he signed, I promised he'd never have to see it again.
I left feeling like I'd gotten the inside scoop! I later talked to my VP about the CFO's opinion: "Does he not really approve of the project?" John replied that the CFO is often the lone voice of reason. He keeps fighting for what he believes is right, even though he is often overruled.
I have a new respect for our CFO