Harnessing Innovation to Enhance Treasury Performance – 2017 Corporate Recognition Awards
By Helen Sanders, Editor
The end of 2017 marks a bittersweet time for me. These are my final Awards as Editor of TMI, but looking back over the past 12 years since I started with TMI, the Corporate Recognition awards have grown from a handful of awards in 2006 as a supplement to the bank and technology awards, to 21, heavily contested and highly respected awards in 2017.
I have said every year that the Awards become more difficult to judge year-on-year, and with the highest ever number and quality of submissions, the 2017 Awards have been extremely challenging. We would like to offer our warmest congratulations to our 2017 award winners, and thank the treasurers, and their banks, vendors and consultants who have provided such excellent submissions. We hope to be able to feature many of these during 2018, and I fully expect to see some of them emerge as award winners in a year’s time.
Treasury Team of the Year
In 2016, we awarded the Treasury Transformation award to Johnson Controls International (JCI) for the project to spin off the new Adient business and merge with Tyco, setting up new, fully functioning treasury departments. This year, we are delighted to recognise Adient plc directly as Treasury Team of the Year. Managing change is never easy, and major M&A events frequently push treasury teams to their limits, exacerbated by uncertainty about the future and a ticking clock. As Adient and JCI have illustrated, this uncertainty can reveal the very best in individuals and teams, with a focus not only on ‘business as usual’ but delivering the very highest quality of treasury decision-making and operations. In May 2017, an article discussed Adient’s (and JCI’s) global cash pooling strategy, which can be found in TMI edition 252 at goo.gl/FDmQe2.
Group Fawaz A. Alhokair & Co
This year’s treasury transformation award emphasises the pace with which treasury functions in the Middle East are developing and maturing, with some such as Group Fawaz A. Alhokair & Co (‘Alhokair’) becoming at least as sophisticated as their peers in other regions in a very short time. In edition 256 (goo.gl/67vyGQ), Ziad El Khoury, Treasury Director of Alhokair describes the changing business and consumer environment. Although Alhokair was already the number one retailer in the region, the group has transformed its business to become even more competitive and focus more on international growth. Treasury has played a key role in this transformation, becoming increasingly sophisticated in its operations, improving visibility, control and automation, and implementing a modern treasury management system (TMS).
In the same edition (256) which appeared in November (goo.gl/ox8Lz6), David Flory, Head of Group Cash Management at HeidelbergCement, built on his article from 2014 to describe some of the changes and developments that have taken place over the past three years. The number of employees has grown by one third, with a 35% increase in Group revenue across this period, including the acquisition of Italcementi in 2016. However, despite greater scale and complexity in its operations, treasury staffing has grown only fractionally from 14 to 15 treasury professionals. In an environment of both large and small acquisitions and disposals, and an increasingly challenging external environment, treasury centralisation and sophisticated cash pooling has been essential to maximise efficiency, standardise processes and controls and optimise information flows for decision-making.
Séverine Le Blévennec, Director, Treasury - Europe, Middle East & Africa at Honeywell is familiar to many readers, and the achievements of Séverine and her team are a blueprint for many treasury functions globally. This year, TMI recognises Honeywell with the award for Strategic Treasury, reflecting the way that treasury has continued to drive centralisation and efficiency over the years, leveraging best-in-class technology, developing best practices and building excellent internal and external relationships. Few treasuries, particularly those with an active M&A strategy, enjoy 100% daily cash visibility globally with complete reconciliation accuracy, but Honeywell has demonstrated how this aim is achievable. Similarly, few treasuries are as active in exploring and piloting innovative new technologies, investing in bank and vendor relationships and pursuing every opportunity to deliver value to the enterprise. Séverine Le Blévennec’s article appears in edition 254, goo.gl/YDFNQY.
Jabil Circuit Inc.
Like many other treasuries, Jabil was forced to restructure its banking and account structures in Europe as a result of a market exit by their relationship bank. However, while some companies were able only to replicate their cash and liquidity management structures in the available time with a replacement bank, Jabil has leveraged its relationship with BNP Paribas to transform its activities. In addition to implementing a centralised payments factory, for example, Jabil implemented a payments-on-behalf-of (POBO) structure supported with virtual accounts. Similarly, collections now operate on a collections-on-behalf-of (COBO) basis, again with virtual accounts. With the relationship with BNP Paribas now extending across 17 countries, 12 currencies and over 100 accounts, covering comprehensive domestic and cross-border payments and collections, host-to-host connectivity and cash pools in USD and EUR, this award is a testimony to the vision, motivation and expertise of the combined Jabil and BNP Paribas team.