Tell us about your career path and what particular experience has been most valuable to you along the way
After graduating with a business studies degree I joined a UK merchant bank as a graduate trainee and had the opportunity to experience several departments within the bank before deciding I would like to work in Eurobond trading. This was my first experience of working in financial markets and the excitement of working in a fast moving and dynamic environment has stayed with me all my career. I moved from banking to Corporate Treasury when I joined Sony to help set up their first Treasury Centre in London and subsequently moved to New York to set up a Treasury Centre responsible for the Americas. For the last 10 years I have worked for Tetra Laval in Switzerland with responsibility for foreign exchange, interest rate, commodity risk management and daily liquidity management.
My most valuable experience has been to learn quickly what you enjoy doing and what you are good at and then focus on working in these areas. I realised that I enjoy working with people, setting up new teams, working on new projects and working in a fast moving environment. I believe it is also important to continue learning during your career, it is important for improving your technical knowledge, for developing a network and for generating new ideas you can bring back to your work. I studied for a FCT with Association of Corporate Treasurers and a MBA at IMD, I would recommend the MBA for broadening your horizons beyond specialism of corporate treasury.
Learn quickly what you enjoy doing and what you are good at and then focus on working in these areas
What is the biggest challenge you currently face?
I think one of the biggest challenges for all Treasurers is workload and ensuring the appropriate prioritisation for tasks. This is a very exciting time for Treasury with Treasurers being requested to work much closer with the business and support the CFO in more strategic finance projects but balancing the need to manage the daily Treasury operations with strategic projects with tight deadlines is an interesting challenge at times.
How is the performance of your treasury group measured?
We have specific KPI's to measure Treasury performance in terms of financial risk management and Treasury operations effectiveness. We assess the KPI's on a quarterly basis and actions are taken if KPI's fall below the required level.
What takes up most of your time?
Our company prepares a 3 year strategy and we are currently half way through this strategy which runs from 2018 – 2020. Treasury is responsible for a number of initiatives within this strategy which are mainly related to experimenting with new technology which I will explain in the next section. Over the last 6 months a lot of my time has been taken up analysing the impact of foreign exchange rates on Group performance due to significant moves in some of our key exposures.
How has technology changed treasury?
This is a very exciting time for Treasury in terms of how new technology will change the way we work over the next few years. Within our 3 year strategy we are currently experimenting on several initiatives. We are piloting the use of a payment outlier detection software to identify unusual payment instructions which can be used to detect operational errors in payments or fraud attempts. We are also piloting a cash flow forecasting system which utilizes machine learning and predictive analytics to generate forecasts and automate the process. We are using data analytics to assess potential Treasury process improvements in terms of reducing FX related payments, reducing cross border payments, identifying inactive bank accounts. We are also enhancing our Cash Flow at Risk model to incorporate machine learning for the FX exposure forecasting.
What is your favorite hobby or sports team?
My favorite sport is running, I am not very good at it but last year I managed to complete the London marathon which was an incredible experience.
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