When Damian Glendinning joined Chinese computer manufacturer Lenovo in 2005, he faced an unusual challenge. Lenovo was in the process of acquiring IBM’s PC division, a business three times its size. At the time Lenovo had no operations outside of China, while IBM’s PC division had no treasury of its own. Glendinning was appointed treasurer and vice president and given the task of setting up a treasury and cash management operation covering 66 countries. And he had less than five months to get the new treasury up and running.
“This was with no staff, no systems and no functioning bank relationships outside of China,” Glendinning says. “While this was an enormous challenge, it was also a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to design a treasury from a completely clean sheet of paper. If you’re in a large corporation, your existing operations tend to be a constraining factor—it’s very unusual not to have that.”