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Florence Tan, Highly Commended, Woman of the Year 2017

Photo of James Hayward and Florence Tan, M+W Group.

With an eminent career in treasury spanning over 20 years, which involved heading the Asia Pacific treasury functions for various MNCs including Schenker, Apple, Toshiba and now M+W Group, Florence Tan has treasury in her DNA. In a generally male-dominated industry she has shown great passion for her career and achieved much success as a treasury professional in Asia Pacific, a region amongst the most regulated and complex in terms of treasury management.

Photo of James Hayward and Florence Tan, M+W Group.

Florence Tan

Head, Treasury, APAC

Florence Tan, Head, Treasury, APAC at M+W Group has experience handling the full scope of treasury activities ranging from cash management, financial risk management, corporate finance, investments, trade finance and banking relationship management. Florence has previously headed the Asia Pacific treasury functions for various MNCs including Schenker, Apple and Toshiba.

Away from the demands of work, Florence ensures that she gives back to the next generation of treasurers by mentoring young treasury professionals and sharing her experience in public speeches. It is this measure of balance that forms such an important element in her leadership skills and makes her an inspiring figure in this fast-paced industry.

Florence’s CV is nothing short of impressive. Her 20-year career has been defined by a rapid rise through the ranks and a portfolio of outstanding achievements, demonstrating her strong leadership, innovative and result-oriented traits.

At the nascent stage of her treasury career at Schenker, Florence was instrumental in integrating Bax Global’s treasury function into Schenker’s processes, systems and treasury structures post-merger. A project of this scale, complexity and timing is a ‘once in a career’ event for most treasurers, which validated Florence’s extensive leadership competencies and multifaceted skills that are required of a treasury leader. She also implemented and managed a cross-border, cross-currency cash management structure for the Asia Pacific entities, generating considerable interest income as well as significantly reducing external borrowing cost. Speaking about her achievements, Jonathon Woods, VP, Finance at Schenker Asia Pacific Pte Ltd said:

“One of Florence’s key strengths is her ability to network both internally within the organisation and with external parties. This proved essential on many occasions when the strength of relationship allowed us to progress on issues that may otherwise have been held up in bureaucracy. In fact the parent company in Europe relied directly on Florence for Asia Pacific treasury updates and solutions to issues.

Florence was always willing to challenge the status quo and the conventional ways of thinking to produce the best results for both the company and the Asia Pacific region. This often resulted in lower costs and a better solution that would otherwise have been obtained. A prime example of this was the selection of regional banking partners following the integration of the BAX and Schenker organisations. Florence would pursue the best course of action despite any obstacles that arose.”

At Apple, she effectively managed banking relationships and established new covenants with banking partners to support the company’s recent ventures across the region. At Toshiba, she pioneered the successful creation of the company’s treasury function; within two years, the company had a fully functioning treasury department, complete with systems, bank relationships, credit facilities and accounting processes amongst others.

“Winning… is a great honour and the prestige has motivated me to be even better in what I do and I hope it will be an inspiration to the younger treasury professionals!”

– Florence Tan, Head, Treasury, APAC, M+W Group

Over the course of her three years at her current employer, M+W, Florence led the charge on several large projects that have added significant value to the company, notably the set-up of a regional treasury structure to achieve agility, effectiveness and efficiency in treasury management across Asia Pacific. The new structure was instrumental in supporting the sales growth of M+W during a period of rapid expansion in the region, while reducing costs.

A high achiever since the start of her career, Florence’s success continues to evolve and now takes on an additional dimension – a conviction and drive to improve her profession and develop others. Despite her hectic schedule, she will always find time to act as a mentor to the more junior members within the company. She has mentored several trainees and young managers into well-rounded treasury professionals. As a member of the Association of Corporate Treasury Singapore (ACTS), Florence is passionate about giving back to the treasury fraternity by sharing her experience at conferences. An avid public speaker, Florence has spoken at several treasury conferences.

Florence is the epitome of today’s professional woman – both committed to her career and striving to achieve a work/life balance – one who is truly deserving of an Adam Smith Awards Asia Woman of the Year award. As a mother of three, Florence comments that: “Juggling work with three children, with a husband who is frequently travelling on business, is very tiring but fulfilling as I witness the progress in the treasury function that I have helped to develop in each organisation that I work for.”

Speaking about Florence and her current achievements, Tan Siok Peng, Chief Financial Officer at M+W Group Asia Pacific said:

“Florence shows agility in applying her vast depth of experience working through inherited challenges while building capacity for new growth in our fast-paced industry. This is especially apparent in the complex cross-border contracts that need to comply not just with business needs, but also challenging monetary and tax jurisdictions.

She is focused and resilient in delivering results for the business and APAC region, driving cost productivity while creating innovative solutions.”

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