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Perspectives – Peter Lohk – Head of Cash Management Sales, Corporate and Institutional Banking, Fokus Bank

Head of Cash Management Sales, Corporate and Institutional Banking, Fokus Bank

Peter Lohk’s career has spanned Norsk Hydro, SEB and Fokus Bank over the past 16 years. While at Norsk Hydro, he gained experience not only in Group Treasury but also as Regional Treasurer in the United States. Working outside Group Treasury can be an extremely valuable experience for treasury professionals who want to gain a deeper insight into the day to day business and get involved in a broad range of treasury activities. This can often be more difficult in Group Treasury where roles and responsibilities are more narrowly defined. Peter’s breadth and depth of experience in corporate treasury, and the skills he developed working with local subsidiaries, have been important contributors to his success in his subsequent banking career.

Tell us a little about your role at Norsk Hydro and your key responsibilities

I joined Norske Hydro in 1991 straight from university. I was employed in Group Treasury and spent the next five years at the company’s headquarters in Oslo working with FX, short-term money market, internal funding, trade finance and cash management. We had a very closely integrated structure and subsidiaries were obliged to use the ‘in-house bank’ for all of their cash management, foreign exchange, funding, money market, guarantees etc needs, and Group Treasury controlled which banks they should use. During this time, I developed a strong sense of customer service, and delivery, and gained experience in all aspects of treasury and the Norsk Hydro Group.

I spent a lot of time with the local CFOs to ensure that changes we were proposing were beneficial for the individual subsidiary as well as the group as a whole.

In 1996, the decision was made to expand the company’s treasury operations outside Norway to accommodate our growth in Asia and the Americas. One treasury professional moved to Singapore and I was expatriated to Tampa, Florida as Regional Treasurer for Norsk Hydro Americas, Inc. and tasked to build up a local treasury department there. At that time, we had around 35 subsidiaries across Latin America, the United States and Canada with diverse requirements. Norsk Hydro was still a conglomerate, with three primary business activities: oil & gas, fertilizers and light metals (although the oil & gas business has now merged with Statoil creating StatoilHydro and the fertilizer business has been listed on the Oslo Stock Exchange as an independent business - Yara International ASA).