The 2008 financial crisis highlighted the havoc that can be wrought in the complex web of inter-relationships that make up the modern global business landscape. The dangers are particularly acute for what Wu Jianbin, veteran of the 1987, 1997 and 2008 crises, calls ‘mega-enterprises.’ Distilling his wisdom from over 30 years’ experience, Mr. Wu lays out the importance of pre-crisis risk management, healthy cash flow and an understanding of how CEOs, CFOs and other high-ranking officials can best approach their roles.
As part of its ongoing webinar series providing business intelligence and experienced China market expertise, Z. H. TANK speaks at length with Wu Jianbin, Chief Financial Officer at China Overseas Holdings Ltd.
When it comes to weathering a global financial crisis, effective preparation and long-term planning are key for multinational corporations, according to Mr Wu, who steered global firms through Black Monday in 1987, the Asian financial crisis in 1997, and the global financial crisis of 2008.
Wu begins his webinar by outlining his definition of ‘mega-enterprises,’ how to diagnose a financial crisis, and the severe impacts that global financial crises have on them.
Throughout the webinar, Wu returns to his credo that long-term risk management and sustainable development are vital in guarding against financial crises.
Wu emphasizes that key in this is maintaining a healthy cashflow, and that doing so should be part of every enterprise’s core DNA. For Wu, cashflow is not something that should be left to the CFO, but should be at the top of the leadership team’s agenda.
Another danger Wu identifies is the temptation for companies to stray from their core business, and in particular the move into leveraged financial tools - the powder keg that set off the 2008 crisis.
Wu also gives some post-crisis analysis and case studies looking at the trend that saw a slew of company spin-offs.
In a Q&A session, Wu responds to a question about a Korn/Ferry study on the changing role of CFOs over the last 5 years and talks about how CFO roles have moved from relationship-oriented to being focused on making strategic decisions based on limited information.
He then talks about the increased overlap of senior roles, for example how chief information officers should think more like chief operating officers to be effective; and how CFOs should take more of a CEO’s responsibilities and perspective.
Expanding on this theme, he talks about developing a healthy relationship between CEOs and CFOs based on mutual trust and independence; and striking a balance between the traditionally more data-driven, risk-adverse approach of CFOs and the more visionary approach of CEOs.
About Wu Jianbin
Mr. Wu Jianbin is currently the Executive Director & CFO of China Overseas Holdings Ltd., Chairman of China Overseas Finance Investment Ltd., and Chairman of COHL Investment Developing Holdings Ltd. Prior to these positions, he used to be the Executive Director & CFO, Vice Chairman of China Overseas Land & Investment Ltd., and Financial Controller of China State Construction Engineering (Hong Kong) Limited. Mr. Wu holds a Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) degree and he is also an award-winning photographer, book author and fiction writer.
About Z. H. TANK
Z. H. TANK is an online library of webinars for Chinese elite business executives and professionals to sharpen their management know-how. Through customized webinars, homegrown and global industry leaders share with the audience the latest trends, best practices, hot topics, and technologies that impact the world of business. The bilingual library of webinars also aims to enable the seamless integration between global perspective, know-how and local business wisdom. Z. H. TANK is a sibling brand of China business intelligence specialist Z. H. STUDIO.
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