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It is always tough to be a senior finance executive, but over the last several months it has been downright dangerous. A record number of CFOs have left their jobs–willingly or with a little help. Executives like Ed Dwyer and Andrew Bonfield, respected financial executives formerly from Bristol Myers Squibb, have taken the fall for losses from investment practices that essentially every company was following–although admittedly some more successfully than Dwyer and Bonfield. As a result, a few now are telling experts that they are ready to hang up their spurs when it comes to portfolio investing. There is no doubt that the pendulum has swung too far and not necessarily only in the direction of riskier investments. Overflowing cash coffers became bragging rights for executives, which made some neglect questions about how well-employed those dollars were. In fact, the sheer volume of excess funds probably provided the incentive for too many to seek the higher yields of complex and relatively opaque instruments like auction-rated securities as justification to keep so much cash on hand. One positive that can emerge from this crisis borne of greed could be for CFOs and treasurers to revisit the role of cash and not just assume that quantity reflects a quality performance strategy. As a final word, I now must bid the readers of Treasury & Risk goodbye. After six-plus years, I am moving on to Bloomberg. I thank all the wonderful executives who have taught me so much during my editorship here. No one could ask for a better bunch of readers.


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