AFP’s Seventh Annual Executive Institute, sponsored by PNC,
provided senior-level corporate practitioners with insights on some of the most
pressing issues in the corporate treasury and finance industry. This year, the
Executive Institute looked at the challenges surrounding investment,
forecasting, managing a cash portfolio, risk, corporate growth and innovation.
At Monday’s luncheon, guests heard from Baruch Lev, Philip
Bardes Professor of Accounting and Finance, NYU, Stern School of Business and
Director, Vincent C. Ross Institute of Accounting Research, in the session “Winning
Investors Over.” Experts discussed the myths and fears that could prevent that top
prospect from making an investment in your business, such as adverse
consequences of investors’ short-termism, earnings guidance, shareholder
lawsuits, voluntary information disclosure, social corporate responsibility,
Immediately following the luncheon was the session, “To
Forecast or Not to Forecast, Therein Lies the Question.”Julia Kirby, Editor-at-Large at the Harvard Business Review moderated a panel discussion on how
financial executives can plan for the future amid unpredictable circumstances
such as the Arab spring, a multitude of natural disasters, and the European
debt crisis. Panelists included Justin Fox, Editorial Director, Harvard Business Review Group; Aaron
Brown, Risk Manager, AQR Capital Management and Author, The Poker Face of Wall Street; and Jean Furter, Vice
President-Treasurer, Brocade Communication Systems, Inc.
The Executive Institute wrapped up on Monday with the
session, “Managing Your International Cash Portfolio in Volatile Markets.”
Christopher Stavrakos, CFA, Managing Director, Chief Investment Officer, Cash
and Securities Lending Group, BlackRock, and Justin Meadows, Founder and Chief
Executive of MyTreasury, weighed in on the importance of alleviating investment
risk within a corporation’s international cash portfolio. Executive Institute
veteran Simon Mendelson, Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer at
BlackRock moderated the session.
Tuesday morning kicked off with the session “Strategic Risk
Management: What It Means to the Treasurer. Although risk management is the top
priority for many treasury departments, they often focus too much on execution
tactics and not enough on long-term strategy. In this session, Jiro Okochi, CEO
of Reval, and Mario J. Cornacchio, Jr., Treasurer, Bose Corp. discussed how to
confront risk at the strategic level. They also weighed in on cash flow at
risk, as well as operational, financial, credit and liquidity risk management.
Next up was the panel discussion, “Corporate Growth: The
Treasurer’s Role.” Michel Bekkers, Senior Vice President, Group Treasurer,
Adidas Group, and Todd Picken, Corporate Vice President &Treasurer, Mass
Mutual Financial Group examined treasurers’ primary concerns as corporations
shift back to growth mode in a session moderated by Jim Graham, Executive Vice
President, Head of Treasury Services, PNC Financial Group.
The 2011 Executive Institute concluded with a special luncheon,
“America’s Innovation Edge.” Dr. Anne-Marie Slaughter, Professor, Politics and
International Affairs, Princeton University and Former Director of Policy
Planning, U.S. Department of State, discussed the importance of innovation in
the business world. Despite a tough recession and the rise of the emerging
markets, the United States remains a leader in innovation. Slaughter explained
how you can build an innovation culture in your business, developing talent
reserves and unlocking creative capital.