Insight & Analysis

Moving treasury forward

Published: Jul 2021

Martin Schlageter, Head of Treasury Operations at Roche, was named Corporate Treasurer of the Year 2021 in this year’s Adam Smith Awards. We spoke to Martin about his experiences during the pandemic, lessons learned, and upcoming projects.

Person standing on a yellow arrow painted on the ground, moving forward

Could you tell me about the challenges you’ve faced over the course of the pandemic?

In the beginning, of course, everything was about making sure we could work remotely. We had previously put in place measures during the swine flu outbreak to make sure we were prepared for a pandemic, and people were easily able to connect remotely to our systems from day one. So this wasn’t a real challenge. We also managed to upgrade our treasury system quite smoothly during the first three months of the lockdown.

But 15 months on, what is more of a challenge is staying connected. This is important both in terms of onboarding new team members, and also as a way of driving innovation. Treasury alone doesn’t drive the development of the function; you also have to reach out – to the business, to other finance functions, to tax and legal – in order to stay connected and further develop processes. Driving innovation requires having people able to sit down together, have physical meetings and derive new solutions so we can adapt to the challenges that come from the outside world.

What lessons have you learned during this time?

On a positive note, we learned that we are able to function as a team remotely, because all the measures we had taken to make sure we were prepared for a pandemic suddenly became relevant. But we’ve also learned that a completely remote world is not what anyone wishes for.

What projects and initiatives are you focusing on at the moment?

We are currently in the process of moving our in-house bank from the Netherlands to Switzerland, which is a strategic move. It’s an enormous undertaking, because it affects each and every subsidiary we have across the globe, and has considerable implications in terms of legal documentation and business processes.

On another note, the Roche Group has embarked on a multi-year business transformation journey – enabled by technology – to integrate all core end-to-end processes needed to run an enterprise into a global template using the latest SAP ERP technology. We are rethinking and redesigning a standardised digital backbone of our enterprise, with the ambition to capture single data at source – and Treasury is in the middle of it.

On top of this, we are currently integrating recent acquisitions and we are also in the process of opening subsidiaries in several new countries. This is always a new challenge in terms of banking and treasury – each country has its own regulations and market flavours when it comes to payment and collection methods. So life in treasury is for sure never dull!

All our content is free, just register below

As we move to a new and improved digital platform all users need to create a new account. This is very simple and should only take a moment.

Already have an account? Sign In

Already a member? Sign In

This website uses cookies and asks your personal data to enhance your browsing experience.