Keynote speakers at the 9th CFO Forum were three well-known European economists and professors, who presented and analyzed the current economic situation and recent developments, and also examined what the future may hold for Greece and Europe.
In her presentation titled “Lessons Learned for businesses from the crisis”, Noreena Hertz, Economist and Professor at Cambridge and Erasmus Universities, concluded that current models used in economics to describe what is happening today, cannot correspond to reality, as the current situation is especially complicated. This is also so because many of the hypothetical worst case scenarios regarding the economy occurred at the same time. Dr. Hertz went on to suggest that enterprises should invest in new ideas and solutions, and to move on to generate synergies and collaborations.
London Business School Professor, Chris Higson, in his talk titled “The perfect storm: Survival of the fittest” discussed the ways in which companies can survive during downturns. Some of the points that the professor gave, were: Companies need to realize that a “strong” balance sheet can play an important role, diversification of activities is useful whenever or wherever it can occur, and that companies should seek investors or state subsidies. Also, whenever it is necessary, they should use early-warning processes in order to manage any potential contraction in a methodical and organized fashion.
Finally, in his presentation titled “The great euro bailout: a sticking plaster or a genuine solution”, Economist and Chief Executive of CEBR, Dr. Douglas McWilliams, discussed the prospects and viability of the Euro and Eurozone member-countries taking into consideration bailout initiatives. He also talked about the recovery of the world economy, led by countries in the East. He also mentioned that Greece’s bailout is enough to cover the country’s loan-needs for now, but it will be difficult to see Spain and Greece develop in the near future, except if they default – which will have to occur voluntarily.
The "Greek answer" to the foreign speakers’ evaluations was provided by Mr. Platon Monokrousos, Assistant General Manager and Head of the Financial Markets Research Division at Eurobank EFG, who also presented his forecasts for the macroeconomic developments and prospects of the Euro in Greece.
During the event, three panel discussions also took place, with top executives from a range of Greek and multinational companies.
In the first panel, titled Key Performance Indicators during times of recession and moderated by Professor Nickolaos G. Travlos, Dean at ALBA Graduate Business School participants discussed practical indicators that are used in companies to monitor performance in the current economic climate. The panel’s participants were:
- Athina Chatzipetrou, Chief Financial Officer, Toyota Hellas
- Aristotelis Gyparis, Finance Director, MSD
- Nikos Katsaitis,Group Finance Director, Sato
- Evangelos Raptis,Group Finance Director, Printec Group
- Michael Samonas, Chief Financial Officer, SIDMA
- Sofoklis Yiannacou, Finance Director, AB Vassilopoulos
During the second panel discussion titled “The role of the statutory auditor in verifying the tax liability of the company according to new legislation” participants explored their concerns over the new Tax Law, and its requirements with regards to the work of Auditors in tax issues. The discussion was moderated by Dr. George S. Mavraganis, Partner in charge of Tax at KPMG and participants were the following:
- Stamatios Dritsas,CRP,O.E.L, Director, Head of Transaction Services, KPMG
- Roberto Karahannas, Chief Financial Officer, EKO
- George Kontos, Alpha Bank
- Nikos Zervas, Finance Director, Athenian Brewery
During the third and last discussion panel, titled “How to bullet-proof your organization”, and moderated by KPMG Senior Partner Mr. Marios T. Kyriacou, participants discussed the different ways in which companies can survive in the crisis. The discussion’s participants were:
- Miltiades N. Babilis, General Manager, Avin Oil
- Vassilios Katsos, President & C.E.O, Pharmathen Pharmaceuticals
- Yanos Michopoulos, VP, General Manager, Vestas Hellas Wind Technology
- Antonis Simigdalas Chief Executive Officer, Olympic Air
- Pantelis Tzortzakis, Chairman & CEO, Forthner/Nova