@Revolution:Global Business News

New Economy, Leadership, Entrepreneurship, Management, Global Business

Performance

Posted by iBlog on January 6, 2008

CFOs and the finance organizations they head are under intense pressure from the capital markets and activist investors to keep pace with a rapidly changing global market—to go beyond merely crunching numbers and create value on their own. Although finance organizations have a reputation for resisting change, those at world-class companies have made some progress in promoting it.

Such companies require finance professionals to be competitive as well as competent, to lead activities that the finance organization is uniquely suited to direct, and to assume responsibility even for activities that some find uncomfortable, because otherwise those things just won’t get done. Such expectations mean companies must attract and retain the best finance professionals they can—which in turn perpetuates an environment where the finance organization can create more value and do higher-quality work.

These are among the perspectives of a panel of experts convened at McKinsey’s 2007 CFO forum in London. The panelists were Jesper Brandgaard, executive vice president and CFO of Novo Nordisk; John Connors, a partner at the venture capital firm Ignition Partners and former CFO of Microsoft; Jonathan Peacock, CFO and chief administrative officer of Novartis Pharmaceuticals; and Helen Weir, group finance director of Lloyds TSB. Herbert Pohl, a partner in McKinsey’s Dubai office, moderated the discussion. What follows is an edited and abridged version of it.

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