Ten years is a long time in treasury. But RaffiBasmadjian, France Telecom's head of group cash management andtreasury IT, is nearing completion of a plan he devised over adecade ago to overhaul the company's cash management and treasurystructures. “I drew up a target design 10 years ago and I'msticking to it, basically,” he says.

Basmadjian's association with France Telecom dates back morethan 20 years. He joined the company upon leaving university in1991, also the year in which France Telecom became a state-ownedcompany, having previously been part of the FrenchTelecommunications Ministry. This marked the beginning of itsprivatization (the French state now owns only 26% of the shares),as well as the internationalization of the company, which currentlyhas a presence in 94 countries, including strong positions in theU.K., Spain and Romania.

As Basmadjian points out, it was essential for the treasury tokeep up with this international expansion. “Obviously you don'tmanage a domestic-only company in the same way that you manage amultinational company.” As a result, France Telecom hascontinuously taken advantage of the latest treasury technologyavailable, ranging from payment factories to SWIFT forcorporates.

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