As Seen in CFO Studio Magazine Q4 2015 Issue
SETTING UP AND GROWING A MULTINATIONAL BUSINESS HAS ITS CHALLENGES
The CFO Studio World-Class Companies Executive Dinner Series met in June at Roots Steakhouse in Morristown, NJ, for a discussion of “Challenges and Opportunities for the Global Company CFO: What’s Next?” led by Richard Veldran, CFO of Dun & Bradstreet, who manages a global finance team of 490. In an interview, he named a number of challenges and opportunities that apply to his company’s global model.
Dun & Bradstreet’s commercial database, the world’s largest, includes 240 million companies. “In any given country I need to have the best data, and therefore, a leading presence in every country,” Mr. Veldran explained.
The prize for breaking into an emerging market is enormous, but the risk is real, so Dun & Bradstreet’s strategy varies. Where it makes sense, D&B owns and operates facilities in emerging markets; in other scenarios it has created partnership models.
“Take China and India; there’s lots of potential for growth, but it’s helpful to have a local player to help us navigate the effort,” he said. In these cases, D&B has created a majority-owned joint-partnership structure.
In markets with slower domestic growth, the relationship formed will be strictly a partnership. “With a partnership, we have access to data globally, including markets where we don’t own a business.”
The challenges of gaining a global footprint include currency exchange risks. “The strength of the dollar has made it difficult to drive growth and profit outside the U.S.,” said Mr. Veldran.
Enterprise risk management has also taken on added importance. “You must understand the primary risks at a detailed level, on a global scale, and monitor those risks,” he said. “A culture of transparency and compliance will be a benefit. If you see something unusual, say something. … [Otherwise] it could bring a company down.”