Financial Leaders Share Tips and Tools

Having the necessary experience is the key to surviving and succeeding in today's financial world. We spoke with Germon Knoop and Jaroslaw Malik – two highly experienced CFOs – about exactly what has contributed to their success and what businesses need to do to achieve the same in the coming years. Markets | 30.04.2014 14:06 Uhr
Archiv-Beitrag: Dieser Artikel ist älter als ein Jahr.

Germon Knoop (GK) is the Group CFO for Irdeto, an international company.  His experience in the financial industry makes him an invaluable source of information and the person you want to talk to when you want to know more about successfully surviving mergers and acquisitions. 

Germon, what is your experience with mergers & acquisitions?

Germon Knoop: As CFO I have lived through, and barely survived, several of them in a buyer, seller, or advisory role. 

What is the biggest challenge you have seen regarding mergers & acquisitions?

GK: The biggest challenge I have come across is that, in most cases, the major motivation behind M&A deals is to create and exploit synergies. I have seen pre-merger planning initiatives rolled into a post-merger integration plan that involved an integration manager, a specific methodology, a set blueprint, 90-day plans, and hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars spent on external advisory and internal resource allocation – and still fail. 

What happened to those companies?

GK: The expected synergies did not come and the companies either moved on, were split up, or reorganized and restructured in such a way that after a few years no one could actually determine whether the deal was effective or delivered on what was initially planned. 

What advice would you give companies to achieve a successful integration?

GK: Without revealing too much of the workshop itself for me the key is in establishing and agreeing upon a solid integration strategy before closing the deal. And in getting the commitment to that strategy from the relevant stakeholders up front.  

While mergers and acquisitions are an important topic when seeking new opportunities for business growth, one cannot overlook the potential growth that comes from the rationalization of current financial processes. 

Jaroslaw Malik (JM) has been in the financial business for over 20 years and currently serves as the Finance Director of Saint-Gobain Adfors CZ s.r.o & Saint-Gobain Delegation for Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, East-Adriatic. His experience with the optimization of financial processes makes him a leading expert in this area. 

Jaroslaw, how long have you worked in the financial field?

Jaroslaw Malik: I have worked in the financial industry for more than 20 years. One may not consider this a long time, but I have had excellent opportunities to work through 3 generations of finance from a state-owned company shortly after the fall of the Berlin Wall, through classical and simple organization in an international company, to the current matrix complexity. 

When it comes to the successful optimization of financial processes, what is the most important lesson you have learned during your career?

JM:  The most important lesson I've learned is that experiences are more important than just getting to the final stage.  Our own experiences and actually doing what we need to do without big names helping us has brought us invaluable knowledge about the best practices we need to follow to succeed in this industry. Most importantly, all of this has happened without major impact on the core business of Saint-Gobain. 

What advice would you give to other companies who are going through the process of financial optimization?

JM: My advice would be to have a fresh outlook on new developments while keeping the differences from the past in mind.  No more in-house accounting, heterogeneous business organizations, more focus on business control, and dotted reporting lines in many directions. This is something that affects many businesses, likely including yours. 

Jaroslaw will join the speaker's panel at the 4th Annual CFO Forum on the 21st & 22nd of May 2014 in Prague. Jaroslaw will present a Case Study on Optimizing Financial Processes in Complex Companies. In addition attendees will hear experiences of experts on SSC from DELL and Henkel.

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