Innovative and forward-looking describe all the treasuries that have won Alexander Hamilton Awards over the last 16 years but none more so than Microsoft. With its fourth Overall Excellence Award in 2011, the technology giant extends its lead in winning the most overall honors since the program began in 1996—when the first ceremony was held at the Breakers in Palm Beach (for AHA trivia buffs). Microsoft first won Overall Outstanding Treasury Achievement in the third AHA competition in 1998.

Then-treasurer Jean-Francois Heitz (now retired and an AHA judge for the last six years) smiled on the cover of then-Treasury & Risk Management magazine. Microsoft finance executives would smile on two more AHA covers, in 2001 and 2003.

In 1998, T&RM wrote that Microsoft's "feats in the competition"—two golds in the categories of Investor Relations and Insurance, and silvers in Cash Management and Treasury Technology—"resulted from two things: the widespread use of the company's considerable technology expertise and a truly concerted team effort." It noted that the company's treasury team of nearly 40 "grafted Microsoft's in-house technological prowess onto its own functions and in so doing turned their unit into a faster, fuller and even more complete partner to the overall corporation." Heitz said at the time: "We leverage technology to improve efficiencies—and to optimize the risk and return [ratio]."

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