“We are the pivotal point of the Group treasury centralisation function”
La Lettre du Trésorier
I believe you have had a varied career path.
In fact, my educational background was in law, specialising in business law. But I was always more interested in figures, which is why I decided to embark on postgraduate studies in banking and finance. After a few months’ initial experience with a bank, I joined KPMG Audit, where I worked for seven years. In addition to carrying out traditional accounting audits at British groups, I performed many internal audit assignments during my time there.
As is traditional, I then went to the corporate sector and joined Brasseries Kronenburg at the end of 1997. At this time, Kronenburg, a subsidiary of Danone, was going through a period of consolidation, as was its competitor Heineken, buying up distribution subsidiaries which subsequently became Elidis. The group had just acquired 90 legal entities and we needed to standardise the accounting practices, carry out financial audits and, and more importantly, financial restructuring, with a programme of 60 mergers over a three-year period.
What about treasury activities?
CF: I’m getting there. Kronenburg was acquired in 2001 by Scottish & Newcastle so I continued with the restructuring transactions, with 30 companies on completion. It was not until mid-2001 that I took up a treasury role, which covered both the industrial activities and the distribution activities. I had two major objectives: the first was to introduce an expert, reliable and effective system for monitoring WCR indicators and the second was to introduce a ZBA cash pool for all parts of the group in order to rationalise the cash flows. I subsequently took up the position at Manpower as treasurer in July 2005.
The parent company of Manpower is in the United States in Wisconsin. However, you are the pivotal point of the Group treasury centralisation function.
CF: Manpower Inc. is a more global group which, in addition to the Manpower brand, also principally includes Right Management, which carries out career transition programmes and human resources consultancy, Jefferson Wells, an internal audit and finance consultancy and Elan, which specialises in recruitment, IT engineering and telecoms. Manpower France accounted for 34% of the Group’s revenues of €5.1 billion in 2007. Our company generates the highest amount of cash, and it is for this reason that we are the pivotal point of the group treasury centralisation function.
Manpower France accounted for 34% of the Group's revenues of €5.1 billion in 2007.
In practical terms how does your cash pooling system work?
CF: Manpower France has been the central point for the multi-currency, cross-border notional cash pool since 2003. The pooling process currently includes 14 currencies and more than 35 companies located throughout the world. In the notional mode, there is no physical escalation of cash flows each day as we pool the cash within the group. Each unit contributes according to its surpluses or borrows according to its requirements on a daily basis. The related logistics are very straightforward for each participant, which only needs to manage one or more bank accounts and the associated interest.