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Flying High with a Rare Bird: A Decentralized Treasury

By November 7, 2019 December 20th, 2019 No Comments

The treasurer of a decentralized team says he’s more influencer than boss. And it works—for him. 

The corporate treasurer of a fast-growing, global holding company that owns multiple brands explained at a recent NeuGroup meeting that each brand has its own treasury team but that treasurers at the brands report to local CFOs—none of them have a formal, direct reporting line to him.

  • Why. The member inherited this decentralized structure, which corresponds to a business model where each brand manages itself and the holding company, following an acquisition, strives to retain the company’s founding members and corporate culture. 
     
  • A rare bird. This structure is relatively rare among multinationals, stood in contrast to the other members at the meeting who have centralized treasuries, and struck some of them as far less than ideal.

What he does. The member sets goals for treasury, controls the banking group (“Strategy gets set at the top of the house with me,” he said.) and establishes risk tolerances for this high-growth company.

Why it works. The member, who has decades of experience and has worked at world-class companies with centralized treasury models where the treasurer is boss, says in his current role the word that best describes him may be influencer. He says this model works not only because of his skills and background but because of his ability to listen. 

  • “I have been successful in doing this using strong influencing skills,” he said. “But another treasurer who needs formalized reporting lines would not find the same success.”
     
  • He works closely with the treasury teams at each brand and admits he confronts pushback at times and sometimes loses when pursuing an initiative. 

The bottom line. The treasurer emphasizes that ultimately, it’s not the structure or process that determines success—it’s having the right the people in leadership positions. That applies to him and all the people he works with in treasury. 

  • “I do not advocate for centralized or decentralized,” the treasurer said. “Instead I have tried to adapt and maximize the effectiveness of our strategy based on the company’s overall structure, which is decentralized.”
Christina Popik

Author Christina Popik

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