In this interview with Eleanor Hill, Editor, Gareth Evans, Group Treasurer of the leading international healthcare group Bupa, describes how his experiences on an industry graduate training scheme gave him an appreciation of the special perspective into a business which treasury provides, and what he learnt from his time leading the treasury team at Reuters during its integration with Thomson.
How did you come into treasury and what attracted you to the profession?
To be honest, I sort of fell into it. I was on a finance graduate scheme in industry. We had the opportunity to move around to different departments and treasury was an option for my final placement. It wasn’t an area I knew much about, but it seemed to provide a different lens into the business compared to many of the other accounting and reporting placements I had done. And I still love its lens on the business today.
How has your career progressed through to the role that you hold today?
I started on a sales and marketing graduate scheme with Glaxo Wellcome in the 1990s. Having spent time working within the marketing team, I moved across to the finance scheme where I qualified as a chartered management accountant. I suspect more people were looking to move the other way from finance into marketing, but I had worked on some financial analysis of the success of a marketing campaign and it was the financial side of things that interested me more. Those years on different accounting and reporting placements were a great opportunity to explore many areas of finance, including working as a group management reporting analyst, manufacturing finance analyst, working on a finance systems implementation project and finally in treasury. I still think graduate schemes like that are fantastic in terms of opening your eyes at an early career stage as to what’s possible.
I moved up within the GW/GSK team with exposure to most aspects of its work, ending up as one of the Assistant Treasurers, responsible for a specific region. During this time I also completed my AMCT and MCT qualifications. These exams, coupled with the great experience I was obtaining day-to-day, persuaded me to continue down the treasury path rather than move into a wider finance role. An opportunity then came up to head the treasury team at Reuters. That was a huge learning experience – leading a treasury team for the first time and also leading the team through a full integration process with Thomson.