Last April, the 6th CFO Executive Summit kicked off in the beautiful Sheraton Prague Charles Square Hotel. CFOs from all over Europe enjoyed two days of brainstorming, learning and networking. This year’s event was focused on the strategic role of the CFO and the role of analytics in today’s business. One of our exceptional speakers was Edgardo Hahn, Executive Director & CFO at VAC SK.
Tell me a little about your background and career.
I was born and raised in Argentina and came over to Germany for studies. Since then, I’ve been working in German companies. During my 18 years of business experience, I have been appointed tasks in three continents. Currently, I am the Executive Director & CFO at VAC SK as well as the Senior Program Manager of Foreign Operations at VAC HQ. One of our major projects at this point is to move some production lines from Germany to Slovakia. So my “double” role is to take care of this important move of equipment and about 100 jobs until mid of 2017 to Slovakia. Besides of this project, I’m still taking care of business matters in Slovakia, such as financial issues and HR vocational training programs. We introduced vocational training in Slovakia last year in order to educate future employees that are going to work on technical equipment at our company.
Your presentation during the event was about the CFO’s Strategic role. So, why do CFOs need to get more deeply involved in operations?
We (finance and administration people) need to influence the way we do business more effectively. And that’s only going to happen if we have a better understanding of the issues our technicians and people on production are facing. So, we definitely cannot just sit down and avoid to invest funds just because we must stick to the budget. We cannot stop the line of production. Of course, there are rules to follow and a budget to take into consideration. But we need to see business in a more holistic picture. We need to find a way to continue investment but also to cut costs where expenditures are not needed. That’s why we need to get involved in matters from operations.
In what way did the conference help you and how it will help our potential attendees?
In my opinion, your events are very pragmatic and efficient. Attendees are not only C-level executives. There are people with different seniority levels and from different countries. They all bring in practical experience and are sharing their real life examples and anecdotes. One of the best features of your event is the chance for networking. So far, I have been in several EBCG events and I have met people with whom I continue to network and contact on regular basis, both speakers and participants.
Sometimes there are things that we forget on our daily routine or things that we just don’t come up with in the first place. In your event, attendees have a chance to get to know new technologies and new ideas that will help them grow their business. Overall, I consider an event like yours is an enrichment experience and money is well invested.
What are your expectations for next year’s event?
You should keep your events just as they are now, I believe. The organization is perfect and I enjoy staying in the city center of Prague. It is great to have that CEE region focus. More and more people are interested into the growth of this region. I expect you to have as many participants as you have now and to keep the trends of your topics up to date.