Insight & Analysis

60 Second Interview: Gianluca Gubbini, Director, International Treasury, Viacom International

Published: Aug 2019
Gianluca Gubbini, Director, International Treasury, Viacom International

From his parents’ food store in Italy to treasurer of one of the world’s leading media companies, Gianluca Gubbini has travelled far. He tells Treasury Today about his journey.

How did you arrive in treasury?

I feel like I have always worked in treasury. My parents used to own a food store in Italy, and it was our second home. Since we were kids, my brother and I were always helping in the store and one of the things I remember liking the most was helping with the closure of the tills at the end of the day, which included counting the money, preparing the slip and going to the bank the next day to deposit the cash. During that time, I even enjoyed keeping a cashbook and preparing the reconciliation of my Dad’s personal bank account. After high school, I went to university and got a degree in Economic and Banking Science; treasury was definitely meant to be my path.

What lessons have you carried through as you have progressed?

The main lessons I have learned and carried through my working life are to do as if it was my own business – no wasting of resources, time or money – and work hard to keep your customers happy. I try to apply these rules every day.

Describe your current role

I am currently leading the International Cash operations team. As a team, we oversee all aspects of Viacom International cash management and treasury operations. In addition to the day-to-day activities, we work very closely with our tax, legal and accounting teams in respect of treasury transactions that involve international cash, such as dividends, capital contributions, acquisitions and more. We are also responsible for managing bank relationships. I meet with our banking partners regularly to review service levels and to discuss new products. In the last few years, I have been very much involved in projects we are working to implement such as a new cash pool with virtual accounts and a full OBO structure.

To what extent is technology deployed in your operations?

Viacom has been at the forefront of embracing new treasury solutions. Throughout the last decade we developed a comprehensive treasury technology solution which resulted in great visibility, control, automation and the ability to manage and mitigate risks. We achieved this by rationalising our bank account structure, implementing a new treasury management system, a new ERP system, an in-house bank and we became SWIFT members. We are currently implementing a new cash pool, which will leverage virtual accounts to enable a full OBO structure.

What challenges are you currently tackling?

The media landscape is evolving even more rapidly than treasury, and Viacom has made a number of accelerant deals to grow its portfolio and capabilities. From a treasury perspective, the challenge is to integrate these new businesses into our existing core structure seamlessly. Additionally, we will need to ensure that treasury is able to support the different requirements that each acquisition has brought to the table in an efficient and swift manner.

How do you keep up to speed in such a dynamic market?

Bank relationships play a key role here, whether it is to answer an immediate request or to understand what solution may be available in the near future. I regularly meet with our relationship banks, attend seminars and conferences so that I am up to date with what is available in the market, what our peers do and what product and solutions we can implement to bring efficiencies and increase controls and working capital management.

Read the full interview with Gianluca Gubbini in the September/October edition of Treasury Today.

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