Chief Fu­ture Of­fi­cer: A strong, sta­ble leader amid dis­rup­tion

Business World - - Banking&finance - MARIVIC ESPAÑO

Some say the “CFO” of to­day now stands for “Chief Fu­ture Of­fi­cer.” And per­haps right­fully so. The ti­tle per­fectly en­cap­su­lates how the role of the mod­ern CFO has evolved over the years — from be­ing a bean counter, num­ber cruncher, or tax filer, to a multi-tasker able to nav­i­gate dis­rup­tions, drive busi­ness de­ci­sions, and pre­pare the or­ga­ni­za­tion for growth.

The re­cent feat of San Miguel Corp. (SMC) Group Trea­surer Fer­di­nand “Ferdie” K. Con­stantino as the 12th ING FINEX CFO of the Year awardee teaches us the value of hav­ing a good CFO in ev­ery or­ga­ni­za­tion. Here are some of these:

1. The CFO has the fore­sight and isn’t afraid to make tough calls. SMC is not only syn­ony­mous with food and bev­er­age (mainly beer). It also heav­ily bets on the Philip­pine econ­omy with its heavy in­vest­ments in highly volatile and reg­u­lated sec­tors such as oil and fuel, power, and in­fra­struc­ture. Ferdie and his team are quick to man­age the volatil­ity by hedg­ing their dol­lar li­a­bil­i­ties, or con­vert­ing their dol­lar debts into peso debts be­fore the peso be­gan to plum­met hard this year.

The mod­ern CFO also an­swers the “hard” ques­tions be­fore he even needs to: Is the time ripe to en­ter new mar­kets? What are the dom­i­nant con­straints hold­ing back the com­pany’s growth? Is the man­age­ment hav­ing con­ver­sa­tions that are strate­gic and crit­i­cal to move the com­pany for­ward?

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