Tell us about your career path and what particular experience has been most valuable to you along the way?
I have had the unusual opportunity to work in both the public and private sector which has afforded me a different perspective for my role and has made me a well-rounded generalist. My first role was in the Mexican government. I joined as the country was beginning to become a more frequent issuer and issue foreign currency denominated bonds. This platform was a good school for learning finance whilst doing the role and provided a practical introduction to managing financial risk by means of using derivatives effectively.
Prior to joining Aeromexico, I served as the Chief Investment Officer at the Instituto Mexicano del Seguro Social (Mexican Institute of Social Security). As the Corporate Treasurer of Aeromexico, I have joined a dynamic industry where the product is ever evolving and the demands of and risks faced by the business are diverse and never boring.
Having the public and private perspective and experience has enabled me to respond to the varied demands on a treasurer and treasury department at such a dynamic company.
I’ve been working at Aeromexico for the last three years where I’ve encountered exciting new challenges ranging from markets, to politics, to budgets, and commercial planning. In order to address these, I was given the opportunity to restructure the treasury group in order to create a deeper pool of talent.
What is the biggest challenge you currently face?
When I first joined Aeromexico, financing was the biggest challenge and priority, as we are in an industry that is heavily scrutinised by rating agencies and banks given its historical volatility. As Aeromexico’s credit and financial situation has continued to improve, we have more capacity to invest in automatisation. Automation presents the opportunity to streamline core treasury functions. However, with the increased efficiency automatisation offers, it also brings pressure on finance and treasury. Increased sale channels with ecommerce and call centres require charging efficiently and managing different payment methods in several regions of the world.
We look at the Treasury as one arm of the company helping to drive the overall business
How is the performance of your treasury group measured?
Treasury is managed and measured against the overall corporate goals. Within treasury, 360 reviews and individual project related goals are established. Treasury has an important role in many group wide projects, including examining and implementing synergies with Delta. Given these projects span multiple groups within Aeromexico, the treasury team is assessed by their contribution in moving a project forward rather than having quantitative benchmarks or KPIs that are for treasury alone. We look at the Treasury as one arm of the company helping to drive the overall business.
What takes up most of your time?
The demands on my time change from year to year. When I first joined Aeromexico, financing was the most time consuming demand. The current challenge is to establish efficient cash management and payment methods. Aeromexico operates globally through series of international “stations” across Asia, Europe, and North and South America. As these are “stations”, rather than full branches, they are thinly staffed operations and have limited ability to support day-to-day cash management and treasury operations. This operating structure increases the demands on treasury to centralise and optimise cash management, from the overall strategy to the day-to-day level. To optimise these systems, the management of banking relationships takes up a significant amount of time and I have developed a regional strategy for managing these relationships.
How has technology changed treasury?
Improved technology brings higher quality problems. There has also been the opportunity to implement changes to make the business run more smoothly. For instance, the creation of a shared services centre has been a big change in the running of the business’ operations, as well as, the demands on treasury in integrating cash, payments and other systems into the new operating model. The advance in technology has also helped us face problems with more robust analysis while avoiding human error.
What is your favourite hobby or sports team?
I am an avid hiker. My trekking has taken me to Iceland, Nepal, Bhutan and New Zealand, but the mountains and hills surrounding Mexico City offer many challenging and scenic routes that I can enjoy more readily and regularly.
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