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From the December/January 2012 issue of Treasury & Risk magazine
2012 CFOs to Watch
These three CFOs—Live Nation’s Kathy Willard, Siemens’ Joe Kaeser and EADS’ Hans Peter Ring—know how to hang tough and move forward in the face of a megamerger and the ongoing crisis in Europe.
One of a Kind...Live Nation Lives Large
By Russ Banham
Where does Kathy Willard find the time? As CFO of the giant entertainment and e-commerce company Live Nation Entertainment since 2007, Willard has handled the financial details of multiple divestitures, spin-offs and more than 200 acquisitions, including the prized though contentious acquisition of Ticketmaster in 2010. She then pulled off a complex post-merger refinancing and integration of two massive companies, forging a singular business that has no equal in the industry. Today, Willard manages an extraordinary global financial structure that supports more than 11,000 venue clients like New York’s Madison Square Garden for which Ticketmaster sells tickets, and supports the concert tours at these venues that Live Nation secures for more than 2,000 artists, about 20,000 shows each year.
Willard is also in charge of the finances of the 128 venues that Live Nation owns or operates as a concert promoter, such as the House of Blues franchise, the Fillmore brand and the Hollywood Palladium.
Confidence Building...Siemens Takes a Leading Role
By Rebecca Brace
Siemens says it’s “addressing the world’s toughest questions” in its corporate brochure, an assertion that is certainly borne out by the views of Joe Kaeser, its CFO since 2006, who joined the company in 1980. As finance chiefs focus on gauging the impact of the European debt crisis on their own businesses, Kaeser believes multinational corporations have an even more fundamental role to play in restoring confidence in the economy. “Our biggest task right now is that we go out to the public and our customer base and work with them on how we can help them finance their projects—and how we can help them to gather more confidence again to invest into the opportunities of the global market,” says Kaeser, who was previously chief strategy officer.
“It is important that all over the world CFOs, CEOs and other industrial leaders go out and provide encouragement to employees as well as to the global society. Politicians and many governments in Europe—and also, I believe, in the U.S.—are just not able to provide the confidence it takes that the economy will resume again and trust is being provided. We need to take on that leadership because we can make it happen.”
Flight to Resilience...EADS Embraces Visibility
By Rebecca Brace
When contemplating the challenges posed by the eurozone debt crisis, Hans Peter Ring, CFO of EADS, draws comfort from the aerospace and defense giant’s performance since 2008. “A major achievement of the last few years is that the company proved to be resilient throughout the financial crisis,” Ring says. “We anticipated the downturn before the financial crisis started and tried to prepare ourselves as well as we could. As a result, we went through the crisis in such a way that we didn’t feel the crisis internally—we didn’t suffer on our top line and we didn’t suffer in terms of deliveries. That was the first time that we’ve achieved that during a downturn.”