gtnews has announced the shortlist of three for its Corporate Treasurer of the Year, part of the Awards for Global Corporate Treasury 2012, sponsored by Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BofA Merrill).
The votes are in for gtnews’ Corporate Treasurer of the Year 2012: Readers’ Choice Award, a key part of the annual Awards, which will be held on 24 May at the Sofitel Grand Hotel in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
The category is intended to recognise an outstanding treasurer who has overcome numerous challenges, such as the instability caused by the eurozone crisis, overcome natural disasters or other impediments to the supply chain, or got to grips with regulations or refinancing requirements. Those who have negotiated additional credit, overseen sound investments or new technology installations to aid efficiency can also be considered. The crucial element is that the gtnews Corporate Treasurer of the Year 2012 must have made an outstanding contribution to the success of their firm.
The final shortlist of three, whittled down from the six entrants allowed through to the voting process on the gtnews homepage, consists of:
- Gary Bischoping Jr, vice president and treasurer, Dell.
- Bill Lowe, senior vice president (SVP) treasurer, Live Nation Entertainment.
- Lisa Stone, group treasurer, Belron Group.
In total, 158 votes were cast for the six entrants with the top three contenders for the Corporate Treasurer of the Year garnering 128 of the votes. The winner will not be announced until the Awards gala dinner on 24 May, which follows on from the opening of the Forum for Global Corporate Treasury.
All votes came from registered users of gtnews and peers of the corporate treasurers entered into the category.
A full description of the final three shortlisted candidates in the Corporate Treasurer of the Year category follows:
Gary Bischoping Jr, Vice President and Treasurer, Dell
Under the leadership of vice president and treasurer, Gary Bischoping, Jr, Dell underwent an unrivalled treasury transformation where substantially all operations worldwide occur on a single treasury management system. Additionally, a majority of treasury payment initiation and bank reporting communicates via SWIFT, making Dell one of its largest corporate users. Dell took a ‘big bang’ approach to speed the transformation and enable a path toward replacing most legacy proprietary bank platforms and processes. The global TMS now handles nearly all treasury activities for more than 700 bank accounts in 100+ countries and provides a single view of cash balances. Not only does the treasury management system (TMS) significantly enhance visibility and streamline controls through a single channel, it also feeds into Dell’s forecasting system to provide improved forecasting accuracy. In Q411, that resulted in an 80% decrease in receipts and disbursements variance. Bischoping took the automation and standardisation further, and created a centralised operations team in Bratislava, Slovakia, leveraging an existing Dell finance hub. Now the Dell treasury operations team is able to manage global cash positioning with three professionals (a significant cost savings) covering all EMEA and Americas time zones. This cash management ‘centre of excellence’ has enhanced efficiencies through standardisation, simplification and improved controls. This strategic positioning of staff has also allowed Dell treasury to focus on more strategic initiatives supporting business growth, managing acquisitions and improving debt investor relations.
Bill Lowe, SVP Treasurer, Live Nation Entertainment
In 2011, Live Nation generated US$5bn as the largest producer of live music concerts worldwide, connecting 47 million in 40 countries fans via 22,000 events to 2,300 artists. It operates 130 venues and is one of the world’s leading live entertainment ticketing, artist management and e-commerce companies. Two treasury professionals and four staff support this operation. One is senior vice president (SVP) treasurer Bill Lowe. Lowe has created an integrated global cash and risk management platform, where company cash, foreign exchange (FX), interest rate and counterparty risks are managed proactively from headquarters. When Lowe joined in October 2007, Live Nation had 60+ banks with 700+ accounts in the US. Domestic banking was paper-based, reconciliation was a nightmare, cash transparency was problematic and FX risk unchecked. Today, Live Nation has two primary domestic banks with about 200 accounts (excluding Ticketmaster), resulting in a 70% reduction in both accounts and bank analysis fees. The solution includes cash delivery that works well with artists, who typically are paid at performance end – often at night. Now all Live Nation domestic businesses conduct banking electronically with real-time reconciliation. Lowe also oversees an active FX hedging programme. Although tickets are purchased in various currencies, artists generally prefer US dollars. Lowe works with business managers setting tour budgets in dollars and employing hedging strategies that protect monetary expectations. In 2012, Lowe will extend the bank consolidation programme to Europe to lower counterparty risk, minimise costs and improve cash transparency using pooling and automated intercompany loan system.
Lisa Stone, Group Treasurer, Belron Group
Lisa Stone, reporting to the head of group finance, led the four-strong Belron treasury team through an exceptional year of achievement in 2011. The team manages all of the group’s funding, bank relationships, hedging and daily cash management, as well as setting and monitoring the group’s treasury policy and standards. 2011 was the most challenging year in the treasury team’s history, with a requirement to refinance around €600m of debt facilities, cope with increased risk within the banking sector, and manage highly volatile foreign exchange (FX) rate scenarios. Simultaneously, the team implemented a new IT2 TMS to improve its efficiency and effectiveness for future years. Stone was directly responsible for managing and negotiating the refinancing, which was achieved through a US private placement (seven to 12 years) together with a five-year club deal with the group’s core relationship banks. This complex operation was all achieved at competitive pricing (20 basis points below management expectations) thanks to the close relationship nurtured with the group’s lenders, who benefited from the clarity of the information supplied by Stone. All related cash management, interest rate and FX challenges were handled effectively and efficiently. The IT2 system was implemented on time and within budget; it is already delivering significant, incremental benefits, including a 50% increase in enterprise-wide cash visibility, to 95%, and process efficiencies through straight-through processing (STP). This outstanding record of success throughout 2011 – in two major, complex and exceptional projects – was achieved through Stone’s strong and effective team leadership, working with her colleagues and external partners.
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