The DNA of theGreek CFOA study of what makes achief financial officer in Greece2012
Our thanks to the 65 CFOs and Finance Directors who participated inthis study and, in particular, to those who shared thei...
ContentsExecutive summary	                      2Navigating a challenging environment	   4A focus on the fundamentals	    ...
Executive summaryThe DNA of the Greek CFOA severe economic crisis has placed the CFO                  The need to get the ...
CFOs need to do more to strengthen external                              The CFO role is a destination in itselfstakeholde...
Navigating a challenging environmentCFOs in Greece are facing the most challenging             The economy has mostly been...
“f you want to finance your debt,                                                        I                                ...
A focus on the fundamentalsTo survive in this challenging environment,                 The challenges of the external envi...
“ e need to ensure that we are closely                                                      W                             ...
Finance and the broader businessThe core financial skills — as important as they         Although the financial fundamenta...
“ he business can sometimes be surprised                                                T                                 ...
Finance and the broader business (continued)The perception of the finance function as an enabler of business              ...
“t’s our obligation to explain to investors the real business I drivers and the inner logic and rationale behind our decis...
Building better CFOsThe finance function has increased its standing and        Finance leaders who possess a combination o...
“ embers of the finance team need                                                       M                                 ...
DemographicsThe following charts show the attributes of the 65 CFOs and FDs             Gender, age, qualifications and te...
Time in current role (percentage)                                         Sector (percentage)                             ...
The CFO’s                                role                                The CFO’s role is broad from                 ...
l                                                                   erna                                                  ...
The DNA of The Greek CFO - Ernst & Young
The DNA of The Greek CFO - Ernst & Young
The DNA of The Greek CFO - Ernst & Young
The DNA of The Greek CFO - Ernst & Young
The DNA of The Greek CFO - Ernst & Young
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The DNA of The Greek CFO - Ernst & Young

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In 2010, Ernst & Young published
The DNA of the CFO,1 a report that provided
insight into what it is to be a chief financial
officer. The report was based on our analysis
of a survey of 669 CFOs from across Europe,
the Middle East, India and Africa (EMEIA), along
with a program of in-depth interviews with
leading CFOs and finance directors from
these regions.
In this country-specific report, we focus on the
changing role, responsibilities and challenges
of CFOs based in Greece. The report is based
on a survey, conducted in late 2011, of 65 CFOs
and finance directors, who are either CFOs
of companies headquartered in Greece, or of
Greek subsidiaries of major multinationals.
Almost two-thirds of respondents represent
companies with annual revenues in excess
of €50m. To supplement the survey,
Ernst & Young also conducted a number
of in-depth interviews with CFOs and finance
directors based in Greece.

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The DNA of The Greek CFO - Ernst & Young

  1. 1. The DNA of theGreek CFOA study of what makes achief financial officer in Greece2012
  2. 2. Our thanks to the 65 CFOs and Finance Directors who participated inthis study and, in particular, to those who shared their insights in aseries of interviews:Dimitrios DelonasCFO of Nireus GroupAngelos KalliasCFO of Lidl HellasEvangelos RaptisCFO of ForthnetGeert van IwaardenCFO of Unilever in Greece
  3. 3. ContentsExecutive summary 2Navigating a challenging environment 4A focus on the fundamentals 6Finance and the broader business 8Building better CFOs 12Demographics 14The CFO’s role 16Contacts 21 In 2010, Ernst & Young published The DNA of the CFO,1 a report that provided insight into what it is to be a chief financial officer. The report was based on our analysis of a survey of 669 CFOs from across Europe, the Middle East, India and Africa (EMEIA), along with a program of in-depth interviews with leading CFOs and finance directors from these regions. In this country-specific report, we focus on the changing role, responsibilities and challenges of CFOs based in Greece. The report is based on a survey, conducted in late 2011, of 65 CFOs and finance directors, who are either CFOs of companies headquartered in Greece, or of Greek subsidiaries of major multinationals. Almost two-thirds of respondents represent companies with annual revenues in excess of €50m. To supplement the survey, Ernst & Young also conducted a number of in-depth interviews with CFOs and finance directors based in Greece. 1 The DNA of the CFO: What makes a chief financial officer, Ernst & Young, 2010. The DNA of the Greek CFO 1
  4. 4. Executive summaryThe DNA of the Greek CFOA severe economic crisis has placed the CFO The need to get the fundamentals of finance rightunder the spotlight. Nowhere more so than for those has never been more criticalwithin Greece. With the Greek economy in recession Three-quarters of survey respondents say that risk managementsince 2008, companies need finance leaders with the has become more of a priority than it was four years ago, and acore financial skills to manage risk, cash flow and similar proportion says that cost management and cash flow havecost control. become more urgent. Many CFOs are taking this opportunity to systematize the process of seeking out new efficiencies so that it becomes engrained in business practice — through good times asBut these finance fundamentals are not enough. well as bad.They may be top of the CFO’s priority list — andconsume a significant proportion of their time and Core financial management skills are not sufficientattention — but successful CFOs must possess a in isolationmuch broader palette of skills and capabilities. They To deal effectively with the challenges of the day, CFOs mustmust have strategic vision, the ability to question also possess a close understanding of the commercial realitiesand challenge management decisions, and a strong of the business. In addition, they also need visibility into operational functions across the organization in order torapport with both internal and external stakeholders. understand key drivers of performance. Many CFOs, however, recognize that they need to do more to put this insight intoIn this report, we examine how the role of the finance a broader context. When asked where they most need to improveleader has changed in light of economic upheaval, their skills and knowledge, respondents are most likely to pointand explore ways in which CFOs are reshaping their to a requirement for deeper insight into the industry to whichrole and responsibilities to support their organization their company belongs.through these challenging times. The external environment is the biggest barrier to the success of the CFO in Greece Unsurprisingly, the impact of the Eurozone crisis looms large in the minds of CFOs in our survey. When asked about the biggest barriers to the effectiveness of their role, respondents point to the challenging economic environment as the most prominent obstacle. Liquidity problems are a major manifestation of this. More than one-third of CFOs in Greece say that bank financing is only available at unfavorable conditions, and one-quarter thinks that domestic banks do not support business at all. Debt restructuring is also a challenge, with most respondents agreeing that banks will only offer this on unfavorable terms.3/4 1/4 60% of CFOs say risk believe domestic banks do do not enough time to focus management is more not support business at all on company strategy of a priority than in 20092 The DNA of the Greek CFO
  5. 5. CFOs need to do more to strengthen external The CFO role is a destination in itselfstakeholder relations The increased visibility and importance of the CFO role in GreeceEffective stakeholder relationships are a critical part of the CFO means that most of those finance leaders surveyed enjoy a hightoolkit but there are signs that some finance leaders are level of career satisfaction. The vast majority are happy with theirneglecting this aspect of their role. Less than one-quarter say that remit and range of responsibilities, and their potential for careerinvestor relations and stakeholder management has become a development. A significant majority either aspires to a bigger CFOgreater priority for them over the past three years. Some external role or are happy to stay in their current position. Less thanstakeholder relationships may be suffering as a result. For one-quarter have ambitions to move to the CEO office.example, although more than 90% say that their relationship withthe management board, CEO and other C-level colleagues is good,less than one-third gives the same assessment for their dealingswith government and the media. Relationships with investors arebetter but, even here, there are doubts, with only a slim majorityof 61% saying that their interactions are effective.The pressures of the CFO position prevent somefrom fulfilling the strategic aspect of this roleThe core finance skills may be in huge demand, but they are justone aspect of the CFO role. Indeed, for the majority of financeleaders in the survey, the traditional financial management tasksconsume just half their time, with the remainder being dedicatedto broader strategic activities. This more strategic role is the areawhere CFOs are most likely to say that they add value to theirorganization. Yet the challenges of the current environment canhamper their ability to fulfill these responsibilities. Only 41% ofrespondents say that they have enough time to focus on broadercompany strategy, which suggests that the fundamental financialtasks are consuming more time than CFOs would like. 1/4 61% 23% say investor relations and stakeholder management believe relationships with have ambitions to move is a greater priority than investors are effective to CEO three years ago The DNA of the Greek CFO 3
  6. 6. Navigating a challenging environmentCFOs in Greece are facing the most challenging The economy has mostly been in recession since late 2008. Theperiod in living memory. They must navigate an outlook for Greece is expected to remain bleak for the foreseeable future. Tough austerity measures have proven increasingly unpopular,environment of falling demand, tight liquidity, and have led to widespread social unrest. There has been a precipitousscarce working capital and rising taxes. To compete fall in industrial output and banks continue to face a tight liquidityeffectively in this environment, CFOs must help their squeeze that prevents them from extending credit to many companies.organizations to build strong, trusting relationships No wonder then when asked about the biggest barriers to thewith banks, customers, suppliers and tax authorities. effectiveness of their role, CFOs in our survey point to a challenging economic environment as the most significant problem (see chart 1). Chart 1: Percentage of respondents who believe these are the biggest barriers to effectiveness in their role (select all that apply) 54 Challenging economic environment Company culture (e.g., level of internal bureaucracy, quality of 42 interdepartmental relations, transparency in internal communications) 28 Not enough resources in the finance function Lack of experience in areas that are 12 becoming more important to the role Relationships with senior company 11 managers outside finance 8 Unrealistic/overambitious targets 3 Personal skill gaps 3 Other The economic situation in Greece has placed companies under a tight financial squeeze. Effective cash management — always a core issue for the finance function — has become critical to survival but is increasingly difficult to handle effectively. On the one hand, overseas companies are tightening payment terms and often requiring cash up front in return for raw materials and services. Yet on the other, local customers are doing all they can to extend credit and delay payment in order to manage their own cash flow constraints. Access to finance remains difficult These problems are exacerbated by a severe liquidity crunch. With banks deleveraging in an effort to strengthen their balance sheets, credit conditions are becoming tighter, which means that companies seeking to refinance or restructure debt are finding it more difficult than ever to secure funding. These challenges are particularly pressing for smaller, family-owned companies that rely on local banks and do not have access to international markets.4 The DNA of the Greek CFO
  7. 7. “f you want to finance your debt, I you are on your own as a CFO.” Evangelos Raptis, Forthnet GroupCFOs and other senior finance professionals surveyed for this a privately owned company that provides broadband and payreport highlight the scale of the challenge. Almost four in ten say TV services in Greece. “You have to deal with it yourself in termsthat bank financing is only available at unfavorable conditions, of putting together your business plan, defending it and runningwhich might include high interest rates, extra collateral and sensitivity analyses. Of course, you can appoint advisors, butnon-market parameters. One-quarter of respondents offer ultimately all of the documents, information and analysis area more negative assessment still, arguing that banks do not going to come out of the finance department.”support business in Greece at all (see chart 2). Some CFOs argue, however, that the difficulties that Greek companies are currently experiencing with securing finance areChart 2: Respondent views on how they find access to bank nothing new. “For many Greek CFOs, things were constrained wellfinancing in Greece (percentage) before the crisis,” says Mr. Raptis. “The bulk of Greek corporates Bank financing is available only at 37 didn’t really have access to international markets because of their unfavorable conditions for the business — high interest rates, extra size. So, generally speaking, the Greek CFO has always been an collateral, non-market parameters Bank financing is only available embattled individual.” 29 to the successful company with a clean credit history The tax environment remains “treacherous” Currently banks do not support 25 business in Greece In addition to challenges securing finance, companies in Greece also have to contend with a complex, fast-changing and frequently There is no change in access to bank 3 financing now, compared with inefficient tax system. Among our respondents, 49% say that their before the crisis company is facing a more aggressive approach from the tax Other 6 authorities, and more than one-third say that they are facing an irrational and far-fetched position from tax authorities (see chart 4). “The tax environment in Greece has always been veryWith capital extremely scarce, many Greek companies are doing treacherous,” says Mr. Raptis.what they can to refinance their debt, either to lock in relativelyfavorable terms or reschedule payments. Once again, they are Chart 4: Respondents’ perceptions/experiences of taxfinding that banks are reluctant to restructure debt since they are authorities in connection with performing a tax auditfacing liquidity problems of their own. One-third of respondents (percentage)say that debt restructuring is only available at unfavorableconditions, and one-quarter say that banks are not eager to We are facing a more aggressive 49offer it at all (see chart 3). approach from the tax authorities these days We are facing an irrational and 35Chart 3: How respondents rate the opportunities for debt far-fetched position, to the largest extent, these daysrestructuring of their bank loans (percentage) Tax audits are performed with 6 objectivity and integrity Debt restructuring is available 34 10 only at unfavorable conditions Other for companies Banks in Greece are not eager 25 to offer debt restructuring Banks in Greece are eager 18 to negotiate debt restructuring 23 Other/not applicableEven when it is available, debt financing is fraught with complexityand adds significantly to the responsibilities of the CFO role.“If you want to finance your debt, you are on your own as a CFO,”says Evangelos Raptis, Chief Financial Officer of Forthnet Group, The DNA of the Greek CFO 5
  8. 8. A focus on the fundamentalsTo survive in this challenging environment, The challenges of the external environment have emphasized,companies need finance leaders who can manage the more than ever, the importance of the financial fundamentals. To survive and thrive against a backdrop of tight credit, uncertaincore financial skills of cost control, risk management, demand and a highly unpredictable and fast-moving economictax and treasury with a high degree of skill and situation, CFOs based in Greece must pay careful attention to cashdexterity. These skills are now more in demand than flow, risk management and cost control. Among our respondents,ever — and can make the difference between survival these are the three activities that are most likely to have becomeand bankruptcy. Finance leaders must also be a greater priority over the past four years (see chart 5).prepared to consider multiple scenarios and have Chart 5: Percentage of respondents who believe these tasksplans in place to deal with multiple outcomes — are more of a priority compared with three years agoincluding the exit of Greece from the Eurozone. (select all that apply) 75 Improving risk management 72 Cost management 71 Cash flow Advising management/board on business 60 fundamentals/growth strategy 60 Improving financial controls Project management/business 52 transformation programs 43 Corporate governance 34 Fund-raising 29 Financial reporting 25 Regulatory compliance Investor relations and 22 stakeholder management 14 Focus on emerging markets “The traditional finance activities such as cash flow management and keeping a careful eye on working capital have become a critical area of focus,” says Dimitrios Delonas, Chief Financial Officer of Nireus Group, which is the No. 1 company in the world in the production and trading of Mediterranean aquaculture species. “The current liquidity problems in the economy have demonstrated that investment in risk management is essential, so that is something that we have also been looking at very carefully.”6 The DNA of the Greek CFO
  9. 9. “ e need to ensure that we are closely W connected to the environment so that we can spot issues and react quickly.” Geert van Iwaarden, Unilever, GreeceIn addition to dealing with the traditional aspects of the finance Scenario planning takes center stagerole, CFOs are also finding that they need to develop new areas The unpredictability of the external environment highlights theof technical knowledge, particularly in the legal domain. “There is importance of considering a range of potential scenarios.a lot of pressure on CFOs to be the public face of the company For many CFOs, this means holding frequent conversations withwhen dealing with banks,” says Mr. Raptis. “Finance people have stakeholders across the business in order to spot early warningalways had to have some sensitivity to legal issues, but these have signals. This can then be used, along with other inputs, to informbecome a lot more complex because you may be dealing with a scenario-based approach to assessing risks that enablesanything from new types of legal agreement to debt restructuring companies to explore different outcomes and their impact on theand even bankruptcy.” business. “We need to ensure that we are closely connected to theCareful monitoring helps CFOs to tackle the crisis environment so that we can spot issues and react quickly,” explains Mr. van Iwaarden. “Because things change so quickly,A strong focus on costs and risk requires finance leaders to we need to have a plan B and plan C right from the start ratherhave visibility into every part of the business in order to spot than simply a base plan.”inefficiencies or emerging threats. Asked about the measuresthey use in their organization to tackle the consequences of the One scenario that is foremost in the minds of many CFOs is thedownturn, respondents point to close monitoring as the most potential exit of Greece from the Eurozone. “As part of our riskvaluable tool they have (see chart 6). management, we took steps to understand our exposure if Greece would change its currency,” says Mr. van Iwaarden. “We neededChart 6: The main measures used by respondents to tackle to understand what would happen to the PL, balance sheet andthe consequences of the recession during the crisis period cash flow statement, and how it might affect our access(percentage) (select all that apply) to funding. We also looked beyond Greece, to consider possible implications for the Unilever group.” 52Close monitoring/reduction of costs 38A combination of all these measures 15 Lay offs/reduction of personnel Divestitures/divestments/ 12 disposal of assets Flexible working arrangements 2 for employees 5 OtherWith the situation in Greece changing on a daily basis, CFOsmust pay very careful attention to the implications of newdevelopments, and be able to respond quickly to emerging risks oropportunities. “Although we still have a long-term view, our focusis currently on making sure that we stay very close to developmentsand that we can adjust our plans quickly as required,” saysGeert van Iwaarden, CFO of Unilever, a consumer productscompany, in Greece. The DNA of the Greek CFO 7
  10. 10. Finance and the broader businessThe core financial skills — as important as they Although the financial fundamentals may be more critical thanare — should not dominate the CFO’s agenda. The key ever, they are just one aspect of the CFO role. When asked where they thought they had personally created the most value for theirarea where finance leaders can add value is in their organization over the past three years, respondents pointed toability to frame strategic discussions and add rigor the provision of strategic analysis and advice as the activity whereand process to decision-making. CFOs in Greece are they think they make the biggest contribution (see chart 7).playing a more central role in strategy, and this is Chart 7: Where respondents believe they personally createdhelping companies to make decisions from a position the most value for their organization in the past four yearsof knowledge and understanding against a highly (percentage)unpredictable and fast-changing environment. Providing strategic analysis and advice 18 to the company management 18 Steering the company through the financial crisis 12 Delivering significant cost-efficiencies Improving quality of the 11 financial reporting Supporting and funding growth 9 opportunities for the business Building the company’s external 8 reputation for excellence in financial management 6 Improving working capital management Implementing stronger governance 6 and controls 5 Ensuring effective risk management Effectively overseeing 3 the treasury department 2 Prudently managing tax-related issues 2 Other The fast-changing external environment has highlighted the need for CFOs and their teams to have visibility into every part of the business. By building good relationships across operations and business units, finance leaders can identify issues early and provide the insight and rigor that is necessary to resolve problems, make good decisions and capture opportunities. Among our respondents, the ability to develop a closer understanding of the commercial aspects of the business is seen as the most important quality that CFOs need to manage the challenges of their role (see chart 8).8 The DNA of the Greek CFO
  11. 11. “ he business can sometimes be surprised T to discover that the finance guys are not just there to produce monthly accounting reports, but that we can also contribute a lot to the discussion.” Dimitrios Delonas, Nireus GroupChart 8: Percentage of respondents who believe these are Chart 9: Percentage of respondents who believe these are thequalities that a CFO needs to be able to develop to face the skills or knowledge they need to develop mostchallenges of their role (select all that apply) (select up to three)Better understanding of the commercial 72 Deeper insight into the industry to 40 aspects of the business which your company belongs Better understanding of the operating 65 32 Designing and executing strategy performance of the company 51 26 Being a strong team player Communication and influencing skills Regular communication 46 New trends and techniques in financial 25 with financial institutions management 37 Skills to manage upwards 18 Closer relations with COO/CTO (e.g., relationship with CEO/board) 3 Deeper insight into key 18 Other country markets for your business New trends and techniques in 18 working capitalDeeper industry knowledge is a differentiator 15 Presentational skills (e.g., media and broadcast training)Knowledge of the sector in which the company operates can alsobe a key differentiator in the CFO role. By understanding the People management skills 14 (in your department)broader dynamics that may affect their industry as a whole, 12finance leaders in Greece will be better placed to spot early Project or change management skillswarning signs or identify opportunities that might emerge 11in a fast-moving and turbulent environment. Yet this broad sector Stakeholder managementknowledge is an area where CFOs are frequently lacking. 8 Analysis and advisory skillsAmong our respondents, having deeper insight into the industryin which their company operates is seen as the area where theywould most like to improve their skills or knowledge (see chart 9). Among our respondents, more than half say that finance’s standing within the organization has improved in the past fourThe CFO as business enabler years (see chart 10). This shift is likely to reflect two broad trends:This deeper industry insight can be a powerful catalyst for first, the critical role that finance leaders have played in helpingforming strong, constructive relationships with commercial companies in Greece steer through a highly difficult period;managers. It can also alter the perception of the finance function and second, the structural changes that many organizations haveamong the broader business. “The business can sometimes be made to embed the finance function more deeply withinsurprised to discover that the finance guys are not just there the business.to produce monthly accounting reports, but that we can alsocontribute a lot to the discussion,” says Mr. Delonas. “By askingthe right questions and challenging their thinking both on thetop-level strategy development and also on more operationalissues, finance can make a significant contribution tothe business agenda.” The DNA of the Greek CFO 9
  12. 12. Finance and the broader business (continued)The perception of the finance function as an enabler of business This shift toward a more strategic, “business partnering” role formeans that the business is now more likely to seek out the skills finance can be extremely beneficial, but it is not always an easyand capabilities that CFOs can bring to the decision-making transition to make. For many companies in Greece, the challengesprocess. Among our respondents, just over half say that other of dealing with tax, treasury and other core finance issues are sobusiness managers routinely turn to finance for advice on key all-encompassing that it can be difficult for CFOs to break awayaspects of strategy (see chart 10). from these tasks and devote more time to their business partnering responsibilities. Among our survey respondents,Chart 10: Percentage of respondents who agree with the 62% say that they spend half their time on traditional financialfollowing statements? management tasks and half on broader strategic tasks Finances standing within the organization has improved 23 31 (see chart 11). Yet 59% agree that they do not have enough time in the last three years to focus on broader company strategy (see chart 10). ThisOther business managers in the company 12 41 routinely turn to finance for advice suggests that, in a significant number of companies, the more on key aspects of strategy strategic aspect of the finance role may be being neglected. I have enough time to focus on broader 6 35 company strategy The financial crisis has forced us to Chart 11: How respondents divide their time between 9 26 refocus on controls and reporting, at the traditional financial management and a broader strategic role expense of more strategic initiatives 13 21 (percentage) CFOs are often unsung heroes within companies I spend half of my time on traditional 62 financial management tasks and the other half on broader strategic tasks Strongly agree Agree I spend all of my time on traditional 18 financial managementAccording to Mr. van Iwaarden, a key benefit of this stronger I spend all of my time on broader 5relationship between finance and the business is the ability to help strategic tasksthe company make the right choices at the right time. “Finance as Other 15a function is well positioned to integrate the different views acrossthe management team, and to facilitate the process of makingchoices with the right financial analysis,” he explains. “As CFOs, The skills of diplomacy have become crucialwe can serve as catalyst and facilitator for the decision-making Successful business partnering depends on having senior financeprocess in an efficient way, and ensure that there is the right executives with strong communication and diplomacy skills.amount of challenge when strategic choices are to be made.” Yet this is an area where many see room for improvement.But again, a careful balance needs to be struck. Although challenging When asked where they most need to improve their capabilities,strategic choices is important, CFOs must ensure that they do not more than one-quarter of respondents point to communicationreinforce outmoded perceptions of finance as the “business and influencing skills (see chart 9).prevention unit” that picks holes in any initiative. “You can’t be the CFOs and their teams need to build effective relationships acrossdevil’s advocate all the time,” says Mr. van Iwaarden. “Of course, every function in the business. One important aspect of this is thewe need to speak up consistently when necessary but we must do ability to strike the right balance between partnering with theso in a way that is respectful and ultimately constructive. If we are business to help them achieve strategic objectives while alsojust seen as the policeman the whole time, then we are not doing our serving as the objective “conscience” of the business. This meansrole justice.” that, in some cases, CFOs must be an “enabler” of business, while in others they should be prepared to stand firm on issues that they perceive could be damaging to the organization. “You need technical knowledge in order to understand the fundamentals, processes and systems,” says Angelos Kallias, CFO of Lidl Hellas. “But these also need to be combined with interpersonal skills. You can’t have one without the other.”10 The DNA of the Greek CFO
  13. 13. “t’s our obligation to explain to investors the real business I drivers and the inner logic and rationale behind our decisions and, in most cases, that is more important than being afraid of saying too much.” Dimitrios Delonas, Nireus GroupMr. van Iwaarden emphasizes that the softer skills that Chart 12: Percentage of respondents who rate their businesscharacterize the more “enabling” side of the business partnering relationships with the following stakeholders as good or very goodrole should be combined with a willingness to be firm when 42 54 Auditorsnecessary. “The softer skills are important to work in a spiritof collaboration but, at the same time, we also need to be clear 28 66 Other C-level colleaguesand protect the company’s financial interests as appropriate,”he explains. “Striking the right balance between being 28 63 Management boardcollaborative and firm is very important.” 45 45 Chief executive officerExternal stakeholder relationships need attention 34 48 Chief operations officerIn addition to building strong relationships within the business,CFOs must also develop and maintain effective interactions with Financial institutions 26 51external stakeholders. At a time when investors, regulators, ratingagencies and the media are all more keen than ever to access 14 49 Creditorsobjective, trustworthy information about the business, finance Investors 18 43leaders are increasingly taking center stage. They can play acritical role in reassuring stakeholders about the strength of the 18 35 Analystsbusiness — and are trusted to impart both the good newsand the bad. 15 37 Regulators“If you’re able to present consistent, transparent data that people 3 26 Mediaunderstand and trust, then you are ahead of the game,” saysMr. Delonas. “You also need the strength of character so that you Politicians/government 2 23are not afraid of explaining difficult things or the cause and effectof different drivers of your business.” Very good GoodBut while greater transparency with external stakeholdersis important, effective finance leaders also recognize that theremust be a balance between openness and disclosing competitive By contrast, relationships with external stakeholders are,information. For Mr. Delonas, the key is to determine where in general, not nearly so effective. Only one-quarter ofexactly competitive advantages lie. “You have to do your respondents think that their relationship with government ishomework and hold discussions internally about what you should good or very good, and 29% offer a similar assessment of theirdisclose,” he explains. “It’s our obligation to explain to investors interactions with the media. Dealings with investors farethe real business drivers, and the inner logic and rationale behind somewhat better, but even here, only a slim majority sees theour decisions and, in most cases, that is more important than quality of the relationship as effective.being afraid of saying too much.” With so much uncertainty pervading the Greek economy, strongMany CFOs also admit that their relationship with external investor relations and financial reporting have become criticalstakeholders is not always as strong as that with internal peers. to maintain confidence. “We’re continually improving our financeWith the exception of auditors, the top five stakeholders with reporting, both internally and externally,” says Mr. Delonas.whom CFOs say they have the strongest relationship are internal. “By broadening and strengthening our KPIs, we can moreFor example, 94% of respondents think that their relationship with accurately reflect the cause and effect relations from businessother C-level colleagues is good or very good, and 90% make and be able to foresee change. These indicators can be powerfula similar assessment of their relationship with the CEO tools to help us and our investors to understand what’s going(see chart 12). to happen in the future.” The DNA of the Greek CFO 11
  14. 14. Building better CFOsThe finance function has increased its standing and Finance leaders who possess a combination of strong technicalprofile within the business. Yet, in setting the bar skills, a grasp of the commercial realities, strategic vision and excellent communication skills are rare. In our study conductedhigher than ever, it has become more difficult for on the future requirements of the Group CFO role, Finance Forte,2companies to find candidates who have the almost three-quarters of senior finance professionals agreed thatnecessary experience and breadth of skills. very few people in their current finance function have the skills toBroadening the pool of potential recruits is one part succeed as Group CFO. And 58% agreed that the breadth of skillsof the solution, but more important is the need to that are necessary to be a successful CFO means that the pool ofdevelop ways to give finance professionals exposure good candidates is shrinking.to different projects and parts of the business. To make matters worse, some CFOs questioned for this country-specific report think that Greece is lagging behind other countries in its ability to nurture the right combination of skills in its finance team. “It can be difficult to find the type of person who has mastered the fundamentals but who also has a very good business understanding along with relevant education, such as a good MBA,” says Mr. Delonas. “And, in my experience, I think Greece is some way behind a number of other European countries in having the availability of finance professionals who possess these skills.” Greek companies look beyond traditional recruitment boundaries There are signs, however, that the situation is improving as finance functions come under increasing pressure from internal and external stakeholders to perform a broader role. “As shareholders, owners and CEOs start demanding a lot more from their finance teams, that will trigger an executive search beyond the traditional scope of profiles that are currently being sought in the market,” says Mr. Raptis. Companies are also playing their part by putting in place talent management programs that give senior finance professionals the breadth of experience they need to succeed in the top role. Short-term rotations out of finance and into commercial positions can be one way of giving finance executives deeper knowledge of the business and sector. “Members of the finance team need to develop experience from other parts of the business in order to understand and fulfil their own role more effectively,” says Mr. Kallias. “By gaining experience in sales, procurement or even technical parts of the business, finance professionals can then bring that back to the finance function and use it to develop a better understanding of their day-to-day role.” 2 Finance forte: The future of finance leadership, Ernst Young, 2011.12 The DNA of the Greek CFO
  15. 15. “ embers of the finance team need M to develop experience from other parts of the business in order to understand and fulfil their own role more effectively.” Angelos Kallias, Lidl HellasBroader experience creates more well-rounded Chart 14: The role which respondents aspire to (percentage)finance leaders A bigger CFO/FD role (e.g., Group CFO 49 or CFO of larger company)Within the finance function itself, professionals can also become 23more rounded and commercially aware by becoming involved in Chief executive officerlarge, company-wide projects, such as mergers and acquisitions 17or the implementation of enterprise resource planning systems. Happy to stay in current postAmong our respondents, leading a large project is seen as one 6of the top three factors that have helped them in their career Start own businessdevelopment to date (see chart 13), after motivation and hard 3 Chief operations officerwork, and interpersonal skills and networking. “Leading a bigproject is a very useful experience because it enables finance 2 Otherprofessionals to test their own leadership capabilities with biggergroups of people,” explains Mr. van Iwaarden. “Driving an agendatoward successful completion is excellent preparation for the Besides tradition, an important reason for this seems to be achallenges of the senior finance role.” high degree of satisfaction with the finance leadership role. An overwhelming 95% of respondents are satisfied with their remitChart 13: The importance respondents attach to the and range of responsibilities, and 89% are satisfied with theirfollowing in their career development to date (percentage) ability to influence broader corporate strategy (see chart 15).(select all that apply) They are also confident that they have the right resources and headcount in the finance function to perform its role. Where they 92 Motivation and hard work do have concerns, it tends to be around their own workload. 78 One-third, for example, say that they are not satisfied with their Interpersonal skills and networking work-life balance. The current state of the domestic economy,Involvement in supporting major business 73 and the need to navigate highly challenging issues, such as projects (MA, international expansion, cost reduction programs, etc.) liquidity and working capital management, understandably Mentoring from senior executives 66 add to the pressures. Working for companies compatible with 63 Chart 15: Respondent satisfaction with aspects of their role your values and beliefs (percentage) 60 Educational qualifications 33 51 16 Work-life balance 57 International postings/assignments 14 56 30 Potential for career development 31 Company-provided training Allocation of resources to finance 11 72 17 (headcount, budgets, etc.) 20Following in the footsteps of role models 12 63 25 Compensation, benefits and incentivesThe CFO role is a destination in itself Ability to influence broader company strategy 11 55 34With an increase in the breadth, influence and profile of the CFO 5 52 43 Remit and range of responsibilitiesrole, the majority of respondents see it as a career destination,and not a staging post to the role of CEO. Almost two-thirds say Not satisfied Quite satisfied Very satisfiedthat they are either happy to stay in their CFO current role, or willseek out a bigger CFO role as the next step in their career. Lessthan one-quarter say that they will be seeking out a CEO position(see chart 14). “It remains rare to see a CFO rise to the ranks ofCEO in Greece,” explains Mr. Raptis. The DNA of the Greek CFO 13
  16. 16. DemographicsThe following charts show the attributes of the 65 CFOs and FDs Gender, age, qualifications and tenurewe surveyed and the characteristics of the organizations Genderthey represent. 86% male, 14% femaleCareer history and job titleWhere respondents have spent the majority of their career Age (years) (percentage)(percentage) 3 At other companies 37 60 to 69 in different industries 20At my current company 35 50 to 59 in the finance function 57 In banking/financial 9 40 to 49 services 20 At other companies 8 30 to 39 in the same industry 3 At consulting firms Highest qualification (percentage) (select all that apply) 3 At accounting firms 48 MBAAt my current company 2 in a department Masters degree 20 other than finance in finance 3 Business/accountancy Other 18 related bachelors degree 12Job title Chartered accountant Other post-graduate 11 Divisional FD degree Others Regional CFO/FD 11 4% Other university degree 3%2% 5 PhD 40% Group CFO/FD 3 Other 51% Country CFO/FD • The average Greek CFO is male, aged 46 and has an MBA. • He has been in role for four years and is most likely to have spent the majority of his career within a corporate environment, as opposed to an accountancy or consulting firm. • He is broadly similar to the average CFO within EMEIA, who is also male, 42 years old and has been in his current role for five years and nine months. The EMEIA CFO is less likely to be MBA qualified, favoring a degree in finance. • Despite the breadth of both the EMEIA and Greek studies, what is clear from the results is that the respondents represent a distinctive and unique, community of professionals. The lack of diversity across segments is marked.14 The DNA of the Greek CFO
  17. 17. Time in current role (percentage) Sector (percentage) 14 11 Less than 2 years Retail and wholesale 46 8 2 to 5 years Consumer products 20 Banking and 8 6 to 10 years capital markets 14 6 10 to 15 years Life sciences 6 5 More than 15 years Insurance 5 OtherCompany ownership, revenue and sector 5 ITOwnership (percentage) Media and 5 entertainmentSubsidiary of a foreign 35 5 listed company Pharmaceuticals 18 5 Local company, listed Other transport Part of a big 17 3 international group Technology Local company, 14 privately owned, 3 Telecommunications not listed Subsidiary of a 8 3foreign private company Oil and gas 8 3 Other Automotive 3 OtherAnnual revenue (percentage) 2 63 Health care €50m or more 2 23 Power and utilities €20m to €50m 2 9 Real estate €10m to €20m Logistics and 2 5 distribution €1m to €10m 2 Manufacturing 12 Other The DNA of the Greek CFO 15
  18. 18. The CFO’s role The CFO’s role is broad from developing to enabling to executing strategy. We believe these six segments represent the full breadth of the CFO’s remit. The leading CFOs we work with typically have some involvement in each of these six — either directly or through their team. While the weighting of that involvement will depend on the maturity and ambition of the individual, the sector and scale of the finance function and economic stability, they are all critical to leadership.16 The DNA of the Greek CFO
  19. 19. l erna ext Trus the tin to ce g la gt he T i tin tp ca rke nu m un ma N be EX ME m Representing rs m Ensuring business EC Co OP the organization’s decisions are progress on grounded UT EL strategic goals in sound financial to external ION criteria DEV stakeholders gy g business strate 6 1 Providing insight Developing and Providing insight defining the The CFO’s and analysis to overall strategy 5 2 support the CEO and for your organization role other senior managers elopin 4 3Dev Funding, enabling Leading key and executing initiatives in finance strategy set that support overall by the CEO strategic goals Fu ng nd d er i or ga or n niz ei ati us ona ho l str our ategy Getting y ENABLEMENT The DNA of the Greek CFO 17

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