From the June 2007 issue of Treasury & Risk magazine

The year of the global finance executive

Although there are definitely a fair share of regulators and compliance-related candidates on our 100 Most Influential People in Finance list this year, it is a bit refreshing that, for the first time since we began the list in 2002, Sarbanes-Oxley and related regulations were not the overwhelming theme. This year the most common idea running through the selections was actually globalization. Whether it related to moving into emerging markets, looking overseas for liquidity, needing visibility into activities spread across the world, or simply the effort to save the planet from climate change, over and over the leaders in finance were inextricably tied to the concept that business needed to free itself of constraining national boundaries, that the term multinational might be forever replaced by the word global.

But boundaries won't be going away any time soon and the challenge for this group of leaders is to devise tools, policies and processes that will enable companies to operate more efficiently and effectively across them while still maintaining the kind of standards in risk management, governance, citizenship and profitability that we currently like to think of as our best practices, our models of corporate behavior. This could mean working more closely with Europe and Asia to arrive at regulations that provide an equal level of transparency for investors whether for a company in Indiana or India or it could mean inventing networks, such as SWIFT, to enable companies to keep track of assets in all locales. It will not be easy. But just like the challenge of global warming, it will require contributions from all parties.

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