What does it mean to be a CFO? What is the key to being an inspiring leader? More than 100 attendees and speakers joined EBCG‘s financial forum for emerging Europe in order to learn more about the strategic role of the CFO and the role of analytics in today’s business. The 6th Annual CFO Executive Summit was set in motion on April 21st and 22nd in the beautiful Sheraton Prague Charles Square Hotel. In the historic and magical city of Prague, the attendees had the opportunity to meet their peers, discover more about leadership and people management, listen to exceptional CFOs from all over Europe and their success stories and enjoy more than 6 hours of networking. So, let’s recap and look back on all the highlights of the 2016 CFO Executive Summit.

Day 1: Innovative Morning, Practical Afternoon

The first day of the CFO Executive Summit 2016 kicked off with a keynote presentation from Omar Saleh, Senior Strategy Lecturer of Portsmouth Business School, who talked about understanding the change management strategy. Robert Verbich, CFO Region Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary & Head of Global Shared Services for EMEA of OSRAM, gave his insights on how the CFO should set up a strategy for becoming a successful decision maker and an influencer.

“It made me challenge myself & to change my perspective of being a CFO”
Mircea Gadalean

During the morning coffee break, CFOs had the opportunity to meet and get to know aspiring startupers who were about to compete in the Quick Pitch Competition – 9 young, driven and innovative startups presented their ideas in front of the CFOs in a speedy 90 seconds pitch. The winner? Pygmalios, the analytics tool for tracking physical movement of customers and workforce.

Following the networking break, Michael Katsnelson, Portfolio CFO of Burger King Russia, elaborated more on ZBB (Zero Based Budgeting) – clarifying how it works and, most importantly, its implementation cycle. Next, Marek Gruszecki, Vice President Finance of Quad/Graphics Europe, presented new technology tools (such as Tableau, Prezi, Kumu, Movavi) that could be applied in modern planning, and talked about how to develop forecasts in the VUCA environment.

Janos Szabo, CFO of Telekom Hungary, presented the case study of Magyar Telekom and how they achieved growth while keeping the costs down, followed by Rob Norman, CFO of IBM (CEE region), who analyzed the way CFOs can navigate through disruption to help their organizations pursue profitable growth. CFO of Kofola, Daniel Burys, shared Kofola’s story on how – against all odds – a small local company that has asked for money at a small local stock exchange succeeded. Christian Rieder, Team Lead Professional Services from Bureau van Dijk, examined the process of automation and why it is the key to success; followed by an interactive panel discussion where Daniel Burys, Edgardo Hahn, Robert Verbich and Jan Moser discussed when the CFO should be optimistic, pessimistic or pragmatic when evaluating risk and making decisions.

“Two nice days of brainstorming, learning, networking and most of all inspiration for our future daily routine. A great opportunity to rethink our business!” Rui Oliveira

During the afternoon, attendees of the CFO Executive Summit had the opportunity to get topnotch information at hands-on workshops and break-out sessions. Workshops were divided into 3 categories: Business Skills, Leadership and People Management. During Business Skills Workshops, Eva Kreiter and Tibor Lenart from SAB Miller, talked about developing a value driven organization while Hans Burkard from AUVA gave his insights on conflict management and resolution. Simultaneously, as a part of the Leadership Workshop, Predrag Kudra, CFO of Fresenius Medical Care, discussed with the attendees the importance of leader development program and what can they learn from it. During the People Management Workshop, Nancy Radford from Durham University, presented a practical guide for dealing with conflict and resistance.

Day 2: The strategic role of CFO

On the second day of the CFO Executive Summit, James Linday, CFO of Vodafone, shared Vodafone’s success story and its finance journey in order to drive sustainable value growth. Next, Edgardo Hahn, Executive Director & CFO Slovakia Senior Program Manager from VACUUMSCHMELZE, gave his insights on what does it take to be in the role of CFO nowadays and discussed with attendees if and why the CFO should be a “never give up” officer. Martin Tesar from Deloitte presented the Robotic Process Automation (RPA) tool, which can stretch process optimization even further; followed by Cristi Rusu, CFO of Rossmann Group Romania, who examined the process of value chain and cost optimization through activity-based costing. Next, Lyudmila Smirnova, CFO of TELE2 Russia, presented a case study on how to avoid multiple spreadsheets and engage the whole organization in your planning process. Right before lunch, James Lindsay, Edgardo Hahn and Lyudmila Smirnova discussed business analytics and digitalization and the lessons learned from it.

During the afternoon, attendees joined yet another series of practical workshops and break-out sessions about leadership, people management and business skills, all tailor-made in order to master their soft skills.

Barbara Wright-Avlitis, Managing Partner from theWrightWorkPlace, shared her insights on understanding why and how can your organisation gain a competitive edge by creating a ‘pro-resilience’ working environment, while Tim Cullen, Director of the Oxford Programme on Negotiation from SAID Business School, and Ning Wang, Director of International Consultancy, talked about the right ways to negotiate and how to achieve a positive outcome. Uwe Land, Global Process Owner Organization Laundry & Home Care from Henkel, helped attendees master their business skills by sharing his insights on business transformation.

“Great opportunity in connecting and sharing innovative ideas in finance field.” Peter Marhefka

After a short coffee break, Annika Mansson, Professional Coach and Trainer from Happy At Work, elaborated more on why people need leaders who deliver their needs. Eileen Gricuk from the Polish-Canadian Chamber of Commerce and Magdalena Kulicka from Coaching Human Capital led the people management workshop where attendees discovered how facilitation could help them gain insights and creative outcome in a business environment. Last but not least, Dominika Kukielka-Pucher, Executive and Team Coach from Evolve, talked about how the 20% Google principle transformed into the CFO world.

Looking back, we are confident that the 6th Annual CFO Executive Summit was one of our best conferences so far. There is one factor that makes our events so special: the people. We would like to thank everyone who has helped with the organization of this event and a special thanks goes to the speakers and expert advisors for their support and commitment throughout all of those years.

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