Q&A with Michaela Wick, Senior Treasury Manager, adidas Group

As senior treasury manager – financial risk management at the adidas Group, Michaela Wick is responsible for managing the company’s global financial risks. She centralised the foreign exchange (FX) risk management in the headquarters in Herzogenaurach, Germany, and supervises a team of global risk managers. Wick joined the company in 1998, initially performing various tasks in the risk and cash management area. Prior to working at the adidas Group, she spent five years in a local savings bank in Germany. She is a graduate in Business Administration.

Q (gtnews): What does your typical day as a senior manager in treasury involve? Could you describe some of your key responsibilities?

A (Michaela Wick, senior treasury manager, adidas Group): What I like most about my job is the fact that there is no typical day. My main responsibility is managing the company’s global foreign exchange (FX) exposure, which is a consequence of sourcing the majority of our products in US dollars in the Asian markets and selling them in local currency to our customers. In order to keep risks low, my team is constantly monitoring developments in the global currency markets and we are in continuous contact with our banks.

Working in the treasury department for the adidas Group also means that we have to understand the business holistically since we are the ones implementing the correct hedging strategies in order to minimise risk on a group-wide basis. Our intrinsic brand value of having a passion for sport does not get lost within treasury – in fact, quite to the contrary as we deem it to bea core part of driving a positive team ethic and spirit. This transpires via regular team sporting activities, ranging from lunchtime running to beach volleyball evenings in summer, through to multi-sport competitions with our colleagues from various departments.

Q (gtnews): What are your main challenges? Are they industry/region specific?

A (Wick): The main challenges are in understanding and mitigating risks, and getting reliable forecasts. As we are hedging on a 12-18 month basis, it is very important that the purchase and sales forecasts from our subsidiaries are as accurate as possible to allow us to secure the appropriate hedging volume.

Q (gtnews): What steps will you be taking to make your treasury and cash management operations more efficient in 2011? For example, what’s on your treasury wish list at the moment?

A (Wick): Automation, harmonisation and integration wherever possible are my key priorities for 2011.

Q (gtnews): What made you interested in making treasury a career?

A (Wick): Having started my career in a bank, I have always enjoyed working in the finance sector and interacting closely with third parties. After a couple of years within the banking arena, I decided to switch to the ‘other side’ and get to know the role of the customer. I soon found that working in the treasury department required a great understanding of the dynamics of a complex organisation such as adidas – and I quite like that. Not at least because the decisions involved often may have a significant impact on the business. To be up-to-date and well informed is absolutely critical in order to be able to adjust strategies according to ever-shifting circumstances and information.

Q (gtnews): And finally, if you didn’t work in treasury, what would you choose to do?

A (Wick): As I enjoy working with people, but also take pleasure in the delights of the culinary world, I could most definitely imagine myself running a small cafe, restaurant or deli.

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