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Corporate Treasurer of the Year Winner: Ramana Konda, Mondelez International

Published: Jan 2022

Photo of Ramana Konda, Director, Treasury, AMEA (Asia, Middle East & Africa).

Photo of Ramana Konda, Director, Treasury, AMEA (Asia, Middle East & Africa).

Ramana Konda

Director, Treasury, AMEA (Asia, Middle East & Africa)

Mondelez International is an American multinational confectionery, food, holding and beverage and snack food company based in Chicago, Illinois. Mondelez has an annual revenue of approximately US$26bn and operates in around 160 countries.

Background – an experienced treasury professional

Ramana Konda, Director, Treasury AMEA at Mondelez International, is based in Singapore and has 20-plus years’ experience in treasury, finance, planning, accountancy and controlling roles across Asia and the Middle East. He spent 17 years with Merck, of which nine were spent supporting the company in the Middle East, where he served as Controller in Abu Dhabi and then as Regional Finance Director in Dubai, before taking the treasury position for APAC.

He moved to Mondelez in 2018 as Treasury Head responsible for the AMEA region which is diverse and highly complex in terms of the regulatory environment. This region also comprises countries subject to global FX regulations such as Nigeria. Against this backdrop, and with the COVID-19 pandemic compounding the situation, Konda has been able to achieve several significant milestones, especially in the areas of liquidity and risk management, funding, and governance, as well as future-proofing his treasury function to capitalise on the global digital transformation that is taking place.

A focus on liquidity management

Konda is currently managing a liquidity surplus across both highly regulated and ‘unregulated’ markets. Additionally, he has been successful in repatriating significant sums of cash back to HQ amidst a complex regulatory landscape across Asia. This was achieved through close cooperation and coordination with the local regulators and other government bodies. He has implemented treasury specific models across multiple markets. During his tenure, he has created a strong and sustainable cash pooling structure to centralise liquidity. He created an optimal account structure to enhance transparency and automation and has implemented robust connectivity with all the company’s core banking partners in the region. This was all achieved against the backdrop of ensuring regulatory compliance at an individual country level.

An eye is always on risk mitigation

Keeping a focus on the strategic future of the business and how treasury can add value, has been uppermost in Konda’s mind. He has redefined the strategic imperative, given the impact of COVID-19, and has supported cash protection mechanisms to preserve the restricted market currency exposures, enhanced the global hedging programme and rolled out ISDA’s to hedge two-plus year tenures benefitting the profit and loss. In Nigeria, specifically, he supported the business as well as global treasury in finding relevant solutions and obtained a greater understanding of best practices, risks and opportunities in this challenging country.

Credit rating improved

Konda participated in debt financing and structuring transactions, which successfully maintained the debt equity balance both internally and externally. Sustainability and strategic evaluations further led to difficult but positive decisions in relation to the funding mix. Ultimately, this led to an improved credit rating for Mondelez, which in turn resulted in lower funding costs.

New acquisitions closed and integrated

Konda has rich experience in merger and acquisition (M&A) structuring and modelling and key successes in closing significant deals. Konda played a vital role in the acquisition in Australia in early 2021 and is driving the integration of the treasury function for this and other new acquisitions.

Governance and supply chains transformed

He has maintained a strong P&L focus and designed transformation roadmaps and has led several supply chain finance (SCF) programmes. This is in line with the global movement to build an integrated supply chain organisation that is laser-focused on delivering a demonstrable competitive advantage and generating gross productivity savings of US$3bn that can be reinvested in the company’s growth strategy. Tackling the tougher markets, Konda managed to introduce a SCF programme to Egypt, and is keen to replicate the success globally. Building on Mondelez’s ESG linked Cocoa Life Programme, which will successfully transform the cocoa supply chain, he has further supported in helping the communities thrive in two other key cocoa growing countries, Ghana and India. This has resulted in building a more sustainable cocoa farming business and empowering the cocoa communities towards better development and conservation of land and forest.

Treasury goes digital

Beyond ensuring the efficient day-to-day running of the treasury function, Konda has also embraced the digital transformation taking place globally and has spearheaded several digitalisation initiatives. He successfully rolled out auto-sweeping of excess liquidity even in highly regulated markets. To stay relevant with the times, he is creating a Digital Currency Strategy to facilitate e-commerce platform sales with integration of multiple payment models and automation of paperless receivables. He is personally involved in end-to-end discussions to ensure the successful implementation of such strategies with his global teams.

Leading by example

Konda’s responsibilities transcend beyond APAC, including the tougher African and Middle East markets. He has been instrumental in transforming Mondelez’s treasury landscape within the region with 20+ years of leadership in core treasury roles in AMEA under his belt. His core values with respect to treasury involve promoting efficiency from an operational standpoint, embracing the new normal and moving towards automation and digitisation for operational efficiency and working capital enhancement.

Furthermore, he is a leading example of treasurers who take the front seat when it comes to driving the strategic direction of the business, evidenced by his deep involvement in M&A and funding related topics.

Due to COVID-19, there is a renewed and redefined focus on the strategic future of the business and how treasury can add value. His purpose-driven approach to ESG sustainability, particularly the social aspect, is exemplary and he leads a programme, demonstrating strong support for the community during these unprecedented times. He has also been successful in ensuring little to no impact to the business through robust supply chain solutions and account receivables programmes.

His consistent efforts in various treasury aspects in the AMEA region have shown a tremendous impact to the business, environment and to society.

The bank which nominated Konda for this award is highly positive on the outlook of his plans and look forward to his continued success with his ongoing and future projects in the region. Overall, his diverse achievements are highly commendable and showcase excellence across the treasury spectrum and beyond.

Building and rewarding his treasury team of the future

Throughout his career Konda has also been a strong proponent of ensuring the career development of his team. This has been evidenced by promotions (in one record year with Mondelez he managed to obtain promotion for approximately a third of his entire team of around 20 staff), encouraging internal mobility, as well as 100% staff retention during the past couple of years with Mondelez.

The Adam Smith Awards Asia is the industry benchmark for best practice and innovation in corporate treasury. The 2021 awards attracted a record-breaking 497 nominations. To find out more please visit treasurytoday.com/adam-smith-awards-asia

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