Getting treasury controls and business units in sync has been a mantra in finance departments everywhere. However, breaking down the silos between treasury and business has often proved easier to say than do. But C. Edward ("Chuck") Chaplin, financial guarantor MBIA Inc.'s new CFO, is one finance executive with a solid track record in turning those words into reality.

Chaplin joined MBIA in June from Prudential Financial Inc., where he served as treasurer for more than 10 years. At Pru, he had been charged with getting the company's finance department to forge strategic partnerships with the business units after the financial services giant went public in 2001. That said, few units go along quietly–at first, anyway. "It's important that finance people in the organization understand the business dynamics and are actors in the creation of shareholder value. At the same time, it's important for business people to understand the financial metrics that they're going to be measured by," says Chaplin. "The way you make both those things happen is to push finance people out of their cubicles and into the faces of business people."

While treasury has not been the preferred path to CFO, Chaplin sees this as an overstatement of reality: "The notion that CFOs come only out of controllers is a bit of folklore." He points to two role models, Stan O'Neal of Merrill Lynch & Co. and Mark Grier of Prudential, as non-CPAs who rose to become CFOs of companies. "It may be easier for non-controllers to become CFOs in financial services than in other industries," says

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