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Applying Treasury Policies – Financing during the crisis

Interview #2 with Peter van Rood, Group Treasurer, AkzoNobel

In the first article of this series, Peter van Rood, Group Treasurer of AkzoNobel, introduced the treasury transformation project that he has pioneered since joining the company in September 2007. Every aspect of treasury has seen radical change and enhancement, including banking infrustructure, policies and processes, treasury skills, IT and internal business relationships. In this edition, Peter talks to Helen Sanders, Editor about the role of its revised treasury policies, both for the treasury transformation and for the ongoing financial risk management of AkzoNobel.

What was the starting point for reviewing your treasury policies?

We started with the revision of our treasury policies during the middle of 2008. At that stage, we were in the middle of the integration with ICI, with a large number of new entities and people who needed to be brought up to speed with how we conduct our treasury activities at AkzoNobel. We recognised the need for an integrated approach towards the merger of the treasury functions as well as to the transformation of treasury. This required us to look at each of the building blocks of treasury at the same time. These building blocks comprised our IT infrastructure, bank relations and global bank account design, organisational set-up and policies and procedures. The last of these brought all of our aspirations together. The treasury policies were for us the tool both to communicate how we expect treasury activities to be executed across the group and to support the migration towards a new way of working. We therefore reviewed the policies with the intention of offering maximum on-boarding support to new AkzoNobel staff, to implement best practice treasury policies and to facilitate treasury change management. 

We used our treasury policies also as a means of managing treasury change globally, not only within the central treasury function.

The original policies were actually well-constructed and formed a useful basis for our revised documentation. The AkzoNobel treasury policies comprise two documents: the Treasury Statute, which covers the treasury function, and the Treasury Policies, which covers the execution of treasury related activities in the businesses. We adjusted these documents in three distinct areas: