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Expectations for Financial Managers Addressed

by 5m Editor
4 July 2011, at 6:57am

US - Bill Lovette, CEO and President of Pilgrim's Pride, addressed financial managers at the 2011 USPoultry Financial Management Seminar, giving ‘A CEO's Perspective of Financial Management’.


Mr Lovette began his presentation with this opening statement: "The most critical job of a CEO is not to provide the answers. It is to help the team think critically about issues and help them arrive at a solution." He then presented a series of critical observations on financial management.

Firstly, he noted: "Strategic choices are the earmark of a company." Ultimately, these choices define a firm's market segmentation and provide the direction to create a sustainable, competitive advantage.

Mr Lovette continued: "The importance of brands and differentiation has changed dramatically over the past 15 years."


Bill Lovette (left) with programme moderator, Mike Popowycz of Case Foods

He noted as the poultry business has become increasingly commoditised, it is harder and more costly to build brand equity. Yet, there remains opportunity for differentiation "by providing 'Value beyond the Box' through service, product form and quality strata," according to Mr Lovette.

Looking forward, he observed: "There is no silver bullet. If you don't have a competitive cost structure and if your balance sheet is not near pristine, you will not survive. The marketplace will not allow for, or pay for, complexity in your business model."

Mr Lovette described the characteristics of an effective accounting and finance team as a team that must understand, embrace and help develop the company's strategy and create a culture of critical thought.

He said: "The marketplace will not allow complacency of simply continuing to 'do what we've always done'."

Finally the team must challenge management's approach.

Mr Lovette added: "The Finance team must be active and engaged in the business, and not just score-keepers."

His presentation was the keynote for the Financial Management Seminar, which also included discussions of export conditions, regulatory challenges and forecast for future commodity prices. Approximately 150 industry finance professionals attended the event.

The seminar was sponsored by USPoultry & Egg Association's Poultry & Egg Institute.