France Telecom's Forward Thinker

Raffi Basmadjian, a finance pro included in the 2012 100 Most Influential List, has spent a decade overhauling France Telecom’s treasury and cash management structures.

Ten years is a long time in treasury. But Raffi Basmadjian, France Telecom’s head of group cash management and treasury IT, is nearing completion of a plan he devised over a decade ago to overhaul the company’s cash management and treasury structures. “I drew up a target design 10 years ago and I’m sticking to it, basically,” he says.

Basmadjian’s association with France Telecom dates back more than 20 years. He joined the company upon leaving university in 1991, also the year in which France Telecom became a state-owned company, having previously been part of the French Telecommunications Ministry. This marked the beginning of its privatization (the French state now owns only 26% of the shares), as well as the internationalization of the company, which currently has a presence in 94 countries, including strong positions in the U.K., Spain and Romania.

Basmadjian took this objective to heart and since then has focused on transforming the company’s cash management and treasury structure. His vision at the outset was to create a treasury management structure centered around three processes: cash pooling, netting and a payments factory.

“As of today, I’ve got 77 subsidiaries in my treasury center and 35 subsidiaries using my system, which makes 112 subsidiaries that are on our treasury management application. I have 197 entities on the netting system and 210 entities in the cash pool,” he explains. “The only thing I haven’t implemented yet is the payment factory.”

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