Nakheel CEO's advice to CFOs: Be more daring

Nakheel CEOs advice to CFOs: Be more daring
Delegates attending the 10th CFO Strategies Forum Mena in Dubai. - Photo by Neeraj Murali

By Staff Report

Published: Mon 7 Nov 2016, 8:06 PM

Last updated: Mon 7 Nov 2016, 11:27 PM

Sanjay Manchanda, CEO of Dubai-based master developer Nakheel, believes that CFOs in the region need to be more daring, agile, and courageous in the face of uncertainty and change.
Speaking to over 120 CFOs from the region on the second day of the CFO Strategies Forum Mena, Manchanda gave insights into the challenges he faced immediately upon taking over as CEO of the troubled company in 2011, and the steps he took to put the real estate giant back on track.
"Declaring a loss of $20 billion back in 2011 was not easy, but necessary. We needed to acknowledge our losses and come clean, which had a very positive impact on the financial community. In troubled times, one needs to have the tenacity and courage to face realities, own up to mistakes, rectify them and move forward - which is exactly what we've done over the past five years," he said.
When asked about the need for adaptability and the rapid pace of change, he asserted: "The rules of the game are changing, both in finance and technology. We can't just rest on our laurels. The CFO, sitting at the fulcrum of business strategy, needs be able to embrace change, be an expert at analysing data and provide sound advice to the business stakeholders."
The forum's second day featured a series of other hard-hitting and memorable talk shows, and ended with the highly anticipated MENA CFO Awards ceremony, where individuals, teams and organisations were recognised for their outstanding achievements across eight categories.

The coveted "CFO of the Year" award singles out two individuals who have redefined the CFO function in the region. This year, Scott Bisset of Kamal Osman Jamjoom Group LLC was named "MENA CFO of the Year - Private Sector", and Mohammed A. Al-Qureshah of Riyad Bank took home the "MENA CFO of the Year - Public Sector" award.

The finance team at Zain Group was named "Finance Team of the Year" for demonstrating exemplary teamwork, flexibility and openness to innovation over the course of 2016.

Participants at the forum also learned from seasoned financial experts in interactive workshops, including a highly topical session on the involvement of CFOs in digital transformation, led by Khurram Siddiqui, MENA Data Analytics Leader, Financial Accounting Advisory Services at EY. "CFOs today have a mandate and, equally, an opportunity to play a pivotal role in the digital transformation of their organisations," he noted.

 "Many of the participants here today are walking away with key takeaways and insights imparted by some of the best financiers and finance advisors in the region," said Sophie Le Ray, CEO of Naseba. "We're already looking forward to the next edition of the CFO Strategies Forum and thinking about how we can best contribute to the development of the platform."

The 10th CFO Strategies Forum MENA was supported by several leading organisations, including ValuStrat, Horvath & Partners, Jedox, Oracle, Loyens & Loeff, EY, United Securities, MDS ap, Wide Vision, and BoardMaps.

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