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Rationalising the Transaction Banking Infrastructure

Interview #5 with Peter van Rood, Group Treasurer, and Gerrit Willem Gramser, Business Treasury, AkzoNobel

In this interview with AkzoNobel, we complete the series in which we have explored various aspects of the treasury transformation project that has been inspired and guided by Group Treasurer, Peter van Rood. In this edition, Peter van Rood and Gerrit Willem Gramser describe how they have rationalised their transaction banking infrastructure and set the framework for enhancing the company’s financial efficiency.

How was cash management organised at AkzoNobel before your treasury transformation project in 2007?

Historically, AkzoNobel’s management and governance model has been largely decentralised. In addition, the company has been active in acquisition and dispersal or assets. This combination of a decentralised business culture and active portfolio management resulted in a largely unplanned bank account infrastructure, with little central design or optimisation. Consequently, by 2007 we had around 130 cash management banks in 84 countries, with over 2,000 bank accounts and around 20 cash pools, with more than one per country in some cases, even in open economies where cash can be readily centralised.

What was the catalyst for reviewing and revising this infrastructure?

There were two key factors that inspired us to rationalise our cash management infrastructure. Firstly, when we initiated the treasury transformation project in 2007, we recognised that the transaction banking infrastructure would be one of the basic building blocks of a successful strategy. Secondly, the ICI acquisition in 2008 brought a large number of new bank accounts and bank relatonships into the group.