My Life in Treasury
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My Life in Treasury: Jan-Martin Nufer, Borealis

Jan-Martin Nufer

An Interview with Jan-Martin Nufer, Director of Treasury & Funding, Borealis

As winner of multiple TMI Corporate Recognition Awards, Jan-Martin Nufer needs little introduction to regular readers of TMI. We have been delighted to feature a variety of articles from him and his team at Borealis over the past two years, and in this feature, Jan-Martin discusses his career with Helen Sanders, Editor, and offers advice for aspiring treasurers.

How did you come into treasury and what attracted you to the profession?

My career can perhaps be characterised by ‘seizing opportunities’ right from the beginning. My first role after vocational training as a banker and studying economics at the University of Mannheim in Germany was in banking, when I joined Bayerische Landesbank’s excellent trainee programme. This involved a rotation across different departments, and a variety of assignments internationally to gain some breadth of experience. During this time, I received recognition for a project on regional airports I was engaged with, and was offered a new opportunity with VIAG AG, a long-standing client of the bank, which subsequently merged with VEBA to become E.ON AG. VIAG, one of the ten largest industrial groups in Europe at the time, was moving its corporate headquarters from Bonn to Munich, and needed help in treasury to support the new set-up. I didn’t know much about corporate treasury at that stage, and had expected to pursue a career in banking. However, with only 24 hours to make a decision, I researched the company and corporate treasury as best I could, and ultimately decided to make the move. What was clear at the time I joined VIAG in 1995 was that the corporate treasury profession was not yet very clearly defined, and being part of the generation to shape and extend the treasury remit has been an exciting element throughout my entire career.

How did your career progress through to the role that you hold today?

VIAG was a huge, diverse conglomerate with a very professional treasury set-up, which was an excellent start for a corporate treasury career. We had established our own trading room and aimed to be a centre of excellence across our operations. Although we acted as a centralised treasury and advisory function for the group, subsidiaries were not obliged to work with Head Office treasury. As a result, we had to offer better conditions and a better experience than a bank, which gave me valuable negotiation experience. Furthermore, as a conglomerate incorporating a range of industries from production, through logistics and trading to utilities, each business unit had quite different treasury and corporate finance needs and cash and risk dynamics, so it was important to understand their requirements in detail. I was responsible for the telecoms portfolio which gave me an ideal background to my next role in Connect Austria, when we received the local licence. From then, I fulfilled various treasury, finance and consultancy roles besides others at Babcock & Brown and Swiss International Airlines, and ultimately joined Borealis in 2006.