Treasury Today Country Profiles in association with Citi

60 Second Interview: Fabrizio Masinelli, Group Treasurer, Panini S.p.A.

Fabrizio Masinelli, Group Treasurer, Panini

His presidency of the Italian Association of Corporate Treasurers and role as Group Treasurer of global published collectables business, Panini Group, puts Fabrizio Masinelli close enough to the industry to know that co-operation is the way forward.

What does treasury mean to you?

There is so much more to treasury than just number-crunching. I believe it is a profession based on personal attitudes, creativity and personal qualities – more than most would imagine. I would go as far as saying that treasury is the most beautiful job in the world. For everything we learn over the years, we always have the possibility to put it into practice at some point. When we do, the company immediately benefits. Treasury for me is about creating value. I urge young people thinking about a finance career not to think of treasury as a simple job. Treasury means you must truly know the company you work for and only from this knowledge can you begin to continuously strive to create value. If you have a constant curiosity you will be doing the best job in the world.

How is treasury seen today in the Panini Group?

Only a few years ago, treasury was seen principally as being concerned with banking. The financial crisis of 2008 changed all that. With all business functions needing to be up to speed and know how to read market demands we decided to establish a new model for planning and mapping the entire Group’s financial processes and procedures. In this, the aim was to make available all necessary financial resources when they’re needed. Without this action, the whole business runs the risk of not being competitive and then we all lose our value. In our treasury today, everything is guided by two key words: strategy and support. This allows us to work with agility and speed alongside the general management and the finance department. The decision to include treasury, not just as a participant but as a key link in the chain, is positively accepted throughout the business now. In a sense, treasury’s rise to strategic player has been an essential part of Panini’s growth.

What makes a good treasurer?

Amongst the push for new technologies, we must never forget that this profession is mainly made of personal qualities born from personal experiences. Human intervention remains the most important part of the treasurer's profession. The depth and breadth of experience necessary to form a successful modern treasurer are precisely what makes the profession so interesting for me. As professionals, we all must love our work but to do the job well, there must be a balanced approach to making decisions and taking risks, along with a heightened capacity to think quickly. As treasurers, we must also exhibit the flair of the entrepreneur when managing corporate finance, and yet also be strong on teamwork.

How do you rate the need for ‘soft skills’ in treasury?

These should be considered essential and training in this aspect should be given the level of importance it deserves. I say this for good reason. With treasurers today working with every business area, having a well-developed ability to relate to people undoubtedly helps us to know ourselves and others but, above all, to understand how to deal effectively with many different situations.

Is it essential for treasurers to get out and about?

Solid academic achievement can offer an important grounding, but the value of study does not quite reach that of what I call ‘field training’. Attending seminars, conferences and events helps us to know how the outside world is. Having a good ‘network of networks’ is important too, helping us to share issues and problems that others have experienced before us.

How has your approach to treasury steered your IACT presidency?

I was elected as President of Associazione Italiana Tesorieri d'Impresa (Italian Association of Corporate Treasurers) in 2016. Since then, one of my key aims has been to create a wider network of associations, bringing together pools of experience that can be shared between many more businesses. I believe this will help nurture the understanding of finance and treasury management amongst many more professionals. I have created a strong team within Panini and my goal is to continue forging the same solidarity amongst treasurers from other companies. We do the same thing, so why not work together?

Read an extended interview with Fabrizio in the latest edition of Treasury Today.