Developing a Post-Crisis Investment Strategy
by Gavin Jones, VP Treasury, Royal Ahold NV
Ahold Group’s treasury department has been instrumental in steering the company through turbulent times over the last 10 years. As a cash-rich business with a large investment portfolio, one of the outcomes of this has been an efficient and sophisticated approach to cash investment. In this article, Gavin Jones, VP Treasury, Royal Ahold discusses how the company’s investment strategy has evolved and where the industry may be leading.
We have a centralised approach to treasury at Ahold Group with a team of 11 treasury professionals, nine of whom are based in our finance company in Geneva and two in Boston. We manage a wide range of responsibilities across capital markets and corporate finance, liquidity and financial risk management, cash management, and systems management. Our core function is supporting and servicing the underlying business.
The structure we have in place now is relatively recent, following a series of important developments in treasury over the past 10 years. In the years following 2003, which was a challenging year for Ahold, the company was largely in recovery mode, consolidating its financial position, refocusing its business strategy and strengthening the balance sheet. The global financial crisis also proved a catalyst for greater operational and financial efficiency and risk control. Prompted by these two major events, we have gradually centralised our cash and treasury management activities and built the current treasury organisation, which has increased our visibility and control over cash, liquidity and risk.