CFO Summit XXXVI 2019

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  • What it Takes to be a Better CFO

    Melanie Mailly-Demont, a speaker at the marcus evans CFO Summit XXV Fall 2012, on how CFOs can add more value to their organization.

    Interview with: Melanie Mailly-Demont, Chief Financial Officer, Infilco Degremont


    Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) should not be afraid to ask questions to the experts in the field, advises Melanie Mailly-Demont, Chief Financial Officer, Infilco Degremont. “It is part of the CFO’s role to bring a fresh perspective. They need to be much more than what their CFO role entails,” she adds.

    A speaker at the marcus evans CFO Summit XXV Fall 2012, in Las Vegas, Nevada, November 8-10, Mailly-Demont gives us her take on how CFOs can add true value to their organization.

    What skills does a CFO need to bring to an organization today?

    CFOs today are less technical than they used to be. They still need to know the techniques and accounting rules, but their behaviors and ethical values play a more important role. They have to be leaders and solution providers, which means they must have a good understanding of the business. Being good accountants and financial analysts is simply not enough anymore. They should proactively find solutions to different issues.

    How could they better control costs?

    The first thing that is required for this is a good understanding of the business, otherwise they will fail. This sounds easy, but it is not. Finance executives have to mix with people from other functions, to understand what their challenges and targets are. To be a good CFO requires one to be much more than a CFO.

    What risk mitigation tips could you give?

    It is not the CFO’s job to be nice, so CFOs should not be afraid of opening their mouth when they see a risk. That is the best way to mitigate risk. That means that sometimes they need to ask questions to the experts in the business at the risk of sounding stupid or naïve, but they have enough experience to offer solutions to even the experts, who might take certain things for granted. They have to approach issues fairly, but at the same time share their concerns.

    How could CFOs improve shareholder value?

    The first step for increasing shareholder value comes from measuring it. They cannot improve it if they cannot measure it. That is how CFOs can contribute. By being a naïve person in the organization, who wants to understand the basic processes that the experts no longer question. It is the CFO’s fresh perspective that will add value to the organization.

    Any final thoughts?

    CFOs have a growing role to play. Today’s measurements are mostly financial, but they also have to mean something. One cannot just value a company by the value of its share. It is also the CFO’s role to ensure that the value of the company is translated properly on the market, that people who make decisions have the right indicators to guide those decisions.

    Many CFOs are just trying to be good at accounting or analyzing financial data, when they can bring much more value than that.

    Contact: Sarin Kouyoumdjian-Gurunlian, Press Manager, marcus evans, Summits Division

    Tel: + 357 22 849 313

    About the CFO Summit XXV Fall 2012

    This unique forum will take place at the Red Rock Casino, Resort & Spa, Las Vegas, Nevada, November 8-10, 2012. Offering much more than any conference, exhibition or trade show, this exclusive meeting will bring together esteemed industry thought leaders and solution providers to a highly focused and interactive networking event. The Summit includes presentations on revenue enhancement, enterprise risk management, the evolving role of the CFO and the challenges of globalization.

    For more information please send an email to or visit the event website

    The Finance Network – marcus evans Summits group delivers peer-to-peer information on strategic matters, professional trends and breakthrough innovations.


    Please note that the Summit is a closed business event and the number of participants strictly limited.

    About marcus evans Summits

    marcus evans Summits are high level business forums for the world’s leading decision-makers to meet, learn and discuss strategies and solutions. Held at exclusive locations around the world, these events provide attendees with a unique opportunity to individually tailor their schedules of keynote presentations, think tanks, seminars and one-on-one business meetings. For more information, please visit

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