We would like to thank our esteemed advisory board for their input on the most relevant topics facing CFO’s during these unprecedented times.
In 2019, I took the brave decision to stepping out of the “comfort zone” and embrace the challenging role as Head of Corporate Governance and Internal Controls at Diamond Developers, the real estate developer that built the first sustainable city in the Region. The Sustainable City in Dubai is one of the World’s first fully sustainable community and GCC’s Happiest Community for three consecutive years (2017, 2018, and 2019).
At Diamond Developers, I have worked with the CEO/Board and the leadership team to ensure our decision-making is supported by quality information, driven by adequate mechanisms of performance reporting/ KPIs, which help us in achieving our strategic objectives. This is an ongoing work and I would define it as an exercise in changing a corporate culture in “bite sizes” by building relationships and winning hearts and minds, one step at a time.
I promote our own sustainability by working across the organisation in establishing a strong infrastructure based on adequate internal controls, well-documented policies and procedures, clear reporting lines and communication channels supported by appropriate technology platforms.
While in The UK, I worked at British Airways, National Grid Plc, Monitor and over the last 10 years that I have been in the UAE, I experienced the endurance at the transactions services department at Deloitte and led the internal audit and financial due diligence services at Crowe, an American public accounting, consulting, and technology firm, based in Dubai and also had a short spell, working as an independent consultant.
Will has been leading finance functions for nearly 20 years. He is an expert at taking complex situations and providing clear recommendations for teams to deliver on. He uses in depth knowledge of the business to ensure that he delivers meaningful financial information in a way that enables it to be used to drive more successful outcomes. For the last six years he has been Finance Director for The Engine Group, the UK’s leading independent marketing services business with a £100m turnover and 800 staff. He works closely with the management team on the strategic direction for the business and ensures that it aligns with the objectives of the private equity sponsors. Prior to this he spent ten years working for a WPP agency in London where his last role was as Chief Operating Officer.
He has previous experience in Telecoms and IT sectors, is a CIMA qualified accountant and studied Politics, Philosophy & Economics at the University of York. He spends most of his spare time trying to stop his young children from watching too much TV, in addition he is attempting to run once every day in his forties, not missed one yet!
Harold is Vice President and Head of F&C of Nestlé Zone Europe, Middle East & North Africa since January 2018.
He joined Nestlé in 1995 through the water business and subsequently held various management positions internationally, building a solid finance expertise as well as a strong ability to adapt in a VUCA environment. In his current role he is overlooking one of the 3 Nestlé Zone comprising of 8 different lines of products across 52 countries.
Former board member of Ecopar in France (Recycling), Chairman of the Board of Gerber Life Insurance in the US and board member in Glycom Denmark A/S (BioTech company). He is currently Chairman of the board of Nestlé España S.A.
He has a Bachelor Degree in Finance and a Master in Sales & Marketing.
Luke has been at TUI for the last 8 years after previously gaining his CIMA qualification at Stonegate pub company. He has a strong background in FP&A and led the Performance and Planning function at TUI UK&I for 3 years. For the last 18 months he has been the Finance Director for the UK and Swedish airlines and recently has moved to be the Finance Director at TUI Musement, a digital platform plus business providing experiences to customers both home (wherever that may be) and in destination.
He has two young children, although he and his partner combined have four. He is a keen cyclist and enjoys films.
Ciaran O’Donnell launched Virtual FD in 2010, on a mission to help new businesses who needed Finance Director level advice, but weren’t ready for a full-time role. Since then, he’s advised over 50 ambitious start-ups and fast growth businesses – to get funded, grow, prepare to sell, stay on track – whatever’s needed. He was named CFO/Finance Director of the Year at the British Accountancy Awards 2019. Prior to Virtual FD, Ciaran spent 12 years at Hutchison Whampoa, Three and Carphone Warehouse, in a mix of strategic finance roles.
Wendy Smith is currently the Chief Financial Officer for Glanbia Global Sport Nutrition. Wendy has worked in multiple industries including E Commerce, Consumer Products, Medical Devices and Pharmaceutical. She has also worked and lived in North America, Asia Pacific and Europe. Prior to joining Glanbia, Wendy was the Vice President of Insights, Planning Analytics and Technology for Amazon where she worked in the Consumer Operations team helping to build new capabilities. Before Amazon, Wendy spent her career in Kellogg in Dublin, Ireland, where she was the Chief Financial Officer for the Europe Middle East & Africa region, she also worked at Johnson & Johnson in various capacities in Finance, with her last role as the Chief Financial Officer for the Asia Pacific region for J&J’s Consumer business. Wendy spend the early part of her career in Proctor & Gamble.
One of Wendy’s favorite professional accomplishments are the Finance Transformation work she has done in Kellogg and J&J. In shifting the Finance support model to Shared Services in order to maximize the value Finance can bring to the business, while lowering cost, and improving efficiency and effectiveness. Wendy is a strong believer and champion for Women and Diversity, having been the executive sponsor for multiple initiatives at Amazon, Kellogg and Johnson & Johnson, as well as a frequent speaker at professinal conferences.
One of Wendy’s most favorite quote is “put a dent in the universe” by Steve Jobs, as she is passionate about making an impact, and working with the team to achieve breakthrough results.
Wendy is an advisor for the London Financial Times CFO Forum, advisor for the NYC Financial Times CFO Forum, on the Board for the LDS MBA association, and an active member volunteering her time in her community.
Wendy is married with three sons and the family enjoys sporting events, traveling and trying local cuisines. She is an avid runner and loves to race half marathons.
Bina Khatwani is a qualified Chartered Accountant (ACA) with 18+ years of experience. From Disney to British Telecoms and British Gas, Bina has worked with some amazing brands. More recently Bina has been operating as a Portfolio CFO, working with both early stage companies as well as mature businesses. Bina enables these companies to make the move to the next stage of their business life cycle; help them expand, prepare for an exit, or even just create a robust finance function. She has successfully raised funding, doubled profit margins, and achieved considerable cost savings for her clients.
Bina is a business partner. She’s fun, transparent and easy to work with. Her experience, vision and nurturing manner enables businesses to reach their full value potential.
Bina is passionate about diversity on Boards, empowering women, and family! Her vision is to continue partnering with growing businesses and create an outstanding virtual workforce of professional women who can work on their own terms.
Albida’s core focus is back office business transformation. Our hands on operationally experienced team appreciate that no two business are the same and each customer requires a bespoke strategy and solution based on global best practices obtained over many years of operational and consultancy experience.
Basware is the only procure-to-pay and e-invoicing solution provider that empowers businesses with 100% spend visibility through 100% supplier connectivity and 100% data capture. Our cloud-based technology enables organizations to fully manage their spend, mitigate financial risk and reduce the cost of operations via automation. With the world’s largest open business network and an open technology ecosystem, we are uniquely positioned to deliver the solution required for Visible Commerce, which provides customers with complete transparency into all flows of money, goods, and services around the world. A global company, Basware has offices in 14 countries and is traded on the Helsinki exchange (BAS1V: HE).
Established in 2003, Cedar is a specialist recruitment consultancy operating in the finance, transformation and procurement arenas. Cedar offers highly effective bespoke recruitment solutions to clients in the private, public and not for profit markets in the UK and internationally. We manage an extensive range of permanent and interim opportunities from entry level through to senior executive. Cedar promotes a culture based around the concept of ‘Listen, Advise, Deliver’ – we listen to our clients and candidates, understand their key drivers and then advise them as to the best approach to ensure effective delivery.
Celonis (www.celonis.com) is the New York- and Munich-based leader in Enterprise Performance Acceleration software. A pioneer in Process Mining technology, its Intelligent Business Cloud helps every company rapidly remove operational friction to become a Superfluid Enterprise. Companies around the world including Siemens, L’Oréal, Uber, Citi, Airbus, and Vodafone rely on Celonis to guide action and drive change, turning business processes into extraordinary experiences and resulting in millions of dollars saved.
KPMG is a global network of professional services firms providing Audit, Tax and Advisory services. We operate in 147 countries and territories and have more than 219,000 people working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative (“KPMG International”), a Swiss entity. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.
MobileXpense provides large organizations with travel- and expense management services that are adapted to their unique organizational and regulatory needs. At MobileXpense we are driven by our dedication to make travel and expense management carefree for our partners, customers and their employees.
Sage is the global market leader for technology that provides small and medium businesses with the visibility, flexibility and efficiency to manage finances, operations and people. With our partners, Sage is trusted by millions of customers worldwide to deliver the best cloud technology and support. Our years of experience mean that our colleagues and partners understand how to serve our customers and communities through the good, and more challenging times. We are here to help, with practical advice, solutions, expertise and insight.
Soldo is a multi-user spending account, complete with Mastercard® cards, intuitive admin and effortless reporting. Our mission is to simplify the entire business expense cycle, from beginning to end. We use the smartest financial technology to solve the three key business spending problems: delegation, control, and reporting.
Soldo was created by entrepreneurs and banking experts united by the search for a simple and effective way to manage the flow of money inside organisations of any size.
A perfect P2P and S2P process is the dream for every company and organization, and Transparent supports its clients every step of the way on this journey. We create value out of our client’s raw data, a craft that we have elevated to an art. Since the beginning in 2000, we have our own in-house developed software helping us discover and recover vendor overpayments, duplicate payments, tax credits, open credits and unclaimed property. We give our clients control and advice on P2P and S2P. We do so by offering AP recovery audits, Statements investigation, Fraud and risk analysis, Contract Compliance, Vendor Master Services, and VAT Solutions. Our goal: give our clients more time, more money, more control and peace of mind.
Workday is a leading provider of enterprise cloud applications for finance and human resources. Founded in 2005, Workday delivers financial management, human capital management, and analytics applications designed for the world’s largest companies, educational institutions, and government agencies. More than 1,000 organisations, ranging from medium-sized businesses to Fortune 50 enterprises, have selected Workday.