Miguel Trinidad, Corporate Treasurer at Mexichem, believes that treasury is about much more than the management of cash. Here he explains how he thinks a treasury should act and why having a talented team is crucial.
Tell us about your career path, how did you arrive at your current position?
My first job was with a bank after graduating from the Monterrey Institute of Technology (Tecnológico de Monterrey) with a degree in economics with a specific focus on corporate finance. This was only a short stint though as I soon joined the treasury at CEMEX to work on various projects including, client financing schemes, credit risk management, asset financing and lease portfolio management.
At CEMEX, I was lucky to be able to work in different countries in Europe, including Latvia, Germany, France, Ireland and the UK, and build up a wide-range of treasury and leadership skills especially after being promoted to Treasury Director for Northern Europe and the UK.
In 2009, I left CEMEX after receiving an interesting offer to take on the Group Treasurer role at NATRA, a mid-cap based in Madrid. I was later promoted to CFO in 2012.
I returned home to Mexico to become Group Treasurer at Mexichem in 2014. The chance to lead the treasury for a truly global multinational in expansion mode was an opportunity I had prepared for during my career path. What also excited me was that I would be given the mandate to take the treasury department to the next level and rebuild its overall operating model, creating a truly strategic global function.
What are the chief requirements for a modern treasury department?
Treasury is an increasingly important function that needs to be intimately involved in all corners of the business to help identify and proactively manage risks and facilitate growth. These are the core objectives of the strategic treasury.
To be a strategic treasury you need a team who looks at the bigger picture while keeping an eye on the details; take a global outlook while building local understanding and be technically skilled while holding management level soft skills. I also believe that the strategic treasurer should be knowledgeable while retaining a desire to keep on learning.
How has this philosophy enabled the Mexichem treasury to support the business?
We have worked hard to make sure that the voice of treasury and corporate finance is heard across the business. We start with the basics, explaining and showing the purpose and value of the treasury function to the business units. Once this elementary education is complete, the next stage is to demonstrate how the treasury really adds value.
I work hard analysing the local business units and approach the operations and business heads with suggestions for how they can improve their performance through various treasury related projects. These have been largely based around improving the working capital management of the business units and driving payments efficiency.
This work has thrust the treasury department into the consciousness of the business units and they know that we can help them and ultimately drive further value for them.
How important has your team been on this journey?
Having a talented team is vital. I spend a lot of time ensuring that my staff are given challenging projects and training to become well-rounded treasury and finance professionals. It is about offering people the opportunity and tools to harness their skills and strengthen their expertise to maximise the value that they offer the organisation and to ensure they can constantly improve.
Hear more from Miguel Trinidad
The Corporate View feature in the next edition of Treasury Today will contain a more detailed interview with Miguel Trinidad who will expand on the points made above and explain in more detail how he has built-up the Mexichem treasury department.