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I am deputy editor at The Banker, a Financial Times publication. I joined the magazine in August 2015 as transaction banking and technology editor, which remain the beats I cover. Previously I was features editor at Profit & Loss, an FX and derivatives publication and events company. Before that I was editorial director of Treasury Today following a period as editor of gtnews.com. I also worked on Banking Technology, Computer Weekly, and IBM Computer Today. I have a BSc from the University of Victoria, Canada.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

gtnews Global Corporate Treasury Awards 2010 Shortlist

28 Sep 10

The gtnews Global Corporate Treasury Awards 2010, sponsored by Bank of America Merrill Lynch, pay tribute to treasury innovation that has contributed to the success of a corporate's business. The awards will be presented at a gala dinner at Sibos in Amsterdam on 26 October 2010.
Awards Shortlist
Treasury Technology Implementation Project of the Year

* AkzoNobel Treasury Transformation Project - IT stream
* British American Tobacco (BAT) Project ASARA
* IBM Global Treasury Transformation

Cash Management Project of the Year

* Caterpillar Inc Bank Account Reduction
* East African Tea Sales Electronic Billboard
* Roche - Genentech Cash Management Integration

Supply Chain Finance Project of the Year

* Casino Group Trade Portal
* General Mills Supply Chain Finance
* Volvo Supply Chain Finance Programme

Corporate Treasurer of the Year - Readers’ Choice Award

* Chris Berris, Group Treasurer, Hunting
* Dennis Sweeney, Deputy Treasurer, GE
* Ricky Thirion, Senior Vice President - Corporate Treasury, Etihad

Treasury Team of the Year

* AkzoNobel Treasury Transformation
* RTL Group Treasury Organisation Improvement Project
* Global Treasury Helps to Create SAP's Future

Treasury Technology Implementation Project of the Year

This category covers any aspect of treasury technology, whether that is choosing a new treasury management system (TMS) or enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, an automation project, straight-through processing (STP), eBAM, bank connectivity, SWIFT implementation, risk management system, or electronic trading platform, etc. The award will be given to the corporate treasury that developed and implemented an innovative IT project which solved a specific problem or established best practice within the organisation.
AkzoNobel Treasury Transformation Project - IT stream

In 2008, multinational manufacturing corporation AkzoNobel embarked on major treasury transformation projects following the acquisition of ICI, which included: optimisation of the global transaction banking infrastructure; redesigning treasury policies; and integrating, automating and standardising treasury systems and processes.

One judge commented: “Well planned and executed - best in class by starting with business case approval and alignment across multiple lines of business/requirements. AkzoNobel overcame project complexities including SAP nuances, implementation of new organisation, foreign exchange (FX) and other moving parts simultaneously.”
British American Tobacco (BAT) Project ASARA

With Project ASARA, BAT wanted to create: an optimal account structure to consolidate cash; a transactional banking structure to facilitate the centralised accounts payable (A/P) and accounts receivable (A/R) managed by British American Shared Services in Africa & the Middle East; a solution that covered Turkey, Egypt, Dubai, Bahrain, Lebanon, Jordan and Algeria; and a technical solution to facilitate a seamless interface to SAP using a non-bank proprietary interface, and highly automated and STP of all transactions.

“I am impressed by the results of a project covering such diverse countries and am convinced there are significant benefits for the BAT group which can serve as an example elsewhere,” said a judge.
IBM Global Treasury Transformation

"State-of-the-art results,” one judge said about this project. In April 2010, IBM successfully rolled out its most intricate and invasive treasury transformation projects to date. Starting in 2007, the project team first identified the requirements versus current system gaps, performed a buy versus build analysis, decided on a vendor, determined the necessary process changes, and implemented a best-of-breed treasury work station (TWS).
Cash Management Project of the Year

The winner of this award will be the treasury that was best able to improve its cash management processes, whether in A/P, A/R, cash forecasting, netting/pooling, etc.
Caterpillar Inc Bank Account Reduction

At the April 2007 Worldwide Finance Managers meeting, Caterpillar’s chief financial officer (CFO) set an objective to deliver world-class processes to reduce risk, complexity and cost, increase effectiveness, and improve reporting flexibility and timeliness. One of the measures for accomplishing this objective was reducing the number of bank accounts. Metrics were established to align multi-generational process plans to achieve world-class grade by 2015. Caterpillar’s starting point was 978 accounts with a goal of 840. Overall, the company closed 304 net accounts (excluding accounts for mergers and acquisitions).

As one judge commented: “This is a good, practical cash management project that everyone can follow. Nothing fancy - just getting down to basics: preferred banks, fewer accounts and centralised control.”
East African Tea Sales Electronic Billboard

The East African Tea Trade Association (EATTA) is a voluntary organisation that brings together tea producers, buyers (exporters), brokers, tea packers and warehouses. The electronic billboard project achieved:

* 15-minute turnaround time on reconciliation and payment notification.
* 100% transparency across the industry.
* 100% bank guarantee for collection account inflows.
* Secure web-based, real-time billboard available to all stakeholders.
* Mitigation of broker liquidity and settlement risk.
* Separation of tea release and payment confirmation.

One judge observed that results were achieved with significant business impact on all parties involved: “Culture, common practices and technology were all potential obstacles very well resolved.”
Roche - Genentech Cash Management Integration

In March 2009, Roche completed the US$46.8bn acquisition of US firm Genentech. Roche wanted to integrate Genentech’s cash management business in the US and Singapore into Roche’s in-house bank and payment factory. The project covered 14 US accounts zero balancing into Roche’s overall US dollar liquidity structure with Citi. Intercompany and non-US dollar-payments, as well as FX-exposure hedging, became absorbed by Roche’s in-house bank and payment factory.

This project, according to one judge, showed “strong collaboration with internal and external teams - with treasury as leader”.
Supply Chain Finance Project of the Year

This award will be given to the corporate treasury that has overcome the challenges of developing a supply chain finance (SCF) programme and can exhibit best practice in rolling out the solution to its suppliers.
Casino Group Trade Portal

Casino Group, a leading food retailer, wanted to offer its suppliers tailor-made financial supply chain (FSC) services, such as early payment services. Using Misys Trade Portal, Crédit Agricole has provided Casino Group with an online portal through which it can develop strategic relationships with its suppliers. The solution put Casino in the driving seat - giving it visibility and control over their trade finance transactions and supplier relationships. It also allows Casino to give its suppliers financing quicker and more transparently than before.

“This project was clearly well construed and implemented. The benefits are evident and I also like the good collaboration between all partners,” commented a judge.
General Mills Supply Chain Finance

Each year, General Mills, Inc (GMI) benchmarks working capital metrics against its competitors. Recent analysis revealed that it had first or second quartile performance in days sales outstanding (DSO) and days of inventory metrics, but was in the fourth quartile in days payables outstanding (DPO). A large working group of key individuals from sourcing, finance, A/P, financial reporting, legal and IT began to implement the SCF solution, which included IT milestones, development of a sourcing vendor roll-out strategy, working with Orbian on securing bank financing and many internal stakeholder approvals from legal to A/P to accounting.

One judge commented: “Good planning and execution. Especially valuable was the inclusion in the project team of various corporate functions. I believe that the fact they were able to improve the efficiency of the A/P issue resolution process efficient additional value.”
Volvo Supply Chain Finance Programme

The Volvo Group launched a SCF programme in order to offer its suppliers a solution enabling them to get paid earlier at better rates of financing based on Volvo's strong credit rating. The programme alleviates the burden of long payment terms traditionally required by the automotive industry’s long production cycle and strengthens the financial viability of suppliers. Volvo selected the PrimeRevenue SCF Platform that offers suppliers the ability to sell their Volvo receivables any time they choose, as quickly as a few days after invoice receipt, and for any payments they choose.

“[The project exhibited] cost savings and cash flow stability along the supply chain. This really looks as if all objectives were met, even surpassed,” said a judge.
Corporate Treasurer of the Year - Readers’ Choice Award

The winner of this award will be recognised by their peers as an industry spokesperson and leader - a treasurer who has overcome the challenges posed by the financial crisis and made an outstanding contribution in treasury.
Chris Berris, Group Treasurer, Hunting

Chris Berris was promoted to the position of group treasurer at Hunting, an international energy services company, earlier this year. Since his appointment Chris has taken on and excelled at a number of challenges, including a major project that managing the successful introduction of SMA Financial’s SWIFT service bureau. His organisational skills, attention to detail and treasury knowledge has been evident throughout the project. It has had a measurable impact on Hunting’s ability to manage cash and liquidity, while gaining greater visibility and control over group-wide treasury activity.
Dennis Sweeney, Deputy Treasurer, General Electric

Dennis Sweeney is currently responsible for global cash management at GE Treasury. He and his team operate from their base in Connecticut and through regional treasury centres in Dublin, Delhi, Shanghai, Tokyo and Sao Paolo. Dennis is a highly regarded innovator in the field of treasury services. He has been a leading proponent of using improved communications between corporations and their banks to drive productivity and reduce costs. Earlier this decade, GE and its software vendor co-developed the first web-enabled treasury workstation.
Ricky Thirion, Senior Vice President - Corporate Treasury, Etihad Airways

Ricky Thirion created Etihad Airways’ corporate treasury in 2007 and has supported the rapid growth of the airline while implementing the entire infrastructure. It is now a fully-fledged function with achievements including: leading role in the negotiation and execution of the largest-ever commercial aircraft order (totalling US$50bn at list prices); established a global cash management system covering 63 locations; and raised over US$1.5bn during the financial crisis to fund the expanding fleet and other assets of the airline.
Treasury Team of the Year

This award is for the corporate treasury team that can best demonstrate vision and innovation in terms of transforming their treasury department to meet future challenges. The winner will show excellence and resourcefulness across all treasury disciplines - working capital management, corporate finance and funding, liquidity and risk management, etc.
AkzoNobel Treasury Transformation

The AkzoNobel treasury team achieved a complete transformation of its treasury function despite some of the most extreme circumstances imaginable, including: £8bn acquisition of ICI just after the treasury transformation project began, necessitating the redesign of infrastructure and treasury processes; the need to refinance 60% (€2bn+) of the company's external debt and restructure internal capital allocation to unlock cash during the peak months of the 2008/9 financial crisis; and the need to radically cut costs (achieved -39% in two years), while simultaneously rebuilding a fragmented and marginalised treasury with limited grasp of contemporary treasury processes, resulting in a 31% reduction and 70% churn of staff.

“Dealing with both the expected and the unexpected in very difficult times has been challenging for all treasuries. AkzoNobel seems to thrive in such situations,” said one judge.
RTL Group Treasury Organisation Improvement Project

Three year ago, RTL Group’s treasury (GT) and Corporate Finance & ERM department (T&CF) launched a new treasury road map culminating in 2010 with an IT ‘big bang’: new FX platform, new information feeding tool, new treasury management system, payment factory via SWIFTNET and reorganisation of all banks, including connectivity.

This ambitious programme was a vast and comprehensive revamping of the whole treasury department. The aim was to create value while significantly reducing costs and improving quality of disclosures, reporting and services to subsidiaries. One judge commented: “The three year roadmap starting in 2007 - RTL treasury stayed on target with objectives while responding to the financial crisis.”
Global Treasury Helps to Create SAP's Future

Today, customers in more than 120 countries run SAP software. SAP’s global treasury department is a 17-person organisation with global responsibility. The team acts as trusted advisor to the executive board and ensures efficient financial risk and asset management. The organisation is divided into the traditional front-, middle- and back-office structure to assure a proper segregation of duty. The treasury team showed excellence and resourcefulness across all treasury disciplines - cash management, FX trading, risk management, corporate finance and funding.

“An expansive array of objectives were addressed and accomplished, with in-depth and comprehensive planning across several initiatives, as well as large successes in multiple components of the treasury role within the enterprise,” commented one judge.
Gold Award (Overall Winner)

This award recognises excellence in treasury management and honours the corporate treasury operating as a strategic partner to the business. The Gold Award winner will show a standard of best practices throughout a company’s treasury or on the groundbreaking nature of a particular project. It will be given to the corporate treasury with the overall highest score.

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