Coping with the disarray in the economy and the markets these days seems like a full-time job for any finance executive. But Chris Liddell, Microsoft's CFO, argues that if executives spend all their time dealing with the current crisis, they're missing the opportunity to devise a strategy for thriving in new economic circumstances once the recession ends. "It's important that finance people don't just focus on how we get through today and tomorrow and next month," Liddell says. "It's how we set the company up for success in the future."

Liddell describes the current turmoil as a "reset," and expects the economy emerging from the reset will operate at a lower level than it has in recent years. If activity is going to be subdued, "obviously the challenge is who will succeed well in that environment and who will not succeed well," he says.

"If my view of the world is correct–that we're going to see low or sustainable growth–then it is going to be even more important than it has been to be in the right growth areas, to pick the parts of the market which are higher growth than others, to be investing in the right areas and to be investing in the areas where you can out-innovate the competition," he says. "So the premium for success in a lower growth environment is even more important than it has been in the past."

Complete your profile to continue reading and get FREE access to Treasury & Risk, part of your ALM digital membership.

  • Critical Treasury & Risk information including in-depth analysis of treasury and finance best practices, case studies with corporate innovators, informative newsletters, educational webcasts and videos, and resources from industry leaders.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM and Treasury & Risk events.
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including and

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.