Space is not typically the realm that CFOs point to when we ask about experiences that prepared them for a finance leadership role.
However, the first 10 years of Alex Amezquita’s professional life frequently involved celestial spaces.
“I was an engineer and chip designer, and some of those chips are floating around space on satellites right now, as we speak,” explains Amezquita, who served in a succession of senior chip designer roles before returning to graduate school for an MBA.Read More
“As a designer, it’s all about problem-solving, or, ‘How do I get from point A to point B in a very structured way?,'” comments Amezquita, before making a thoughtful comparison between chip design and finance.
“Finance leadership is about taking unstructured information and figuring out how to make it fit into a budget or P&L or message that we can share with the public or our management team or operators,” continues Amezquita, whose post-MBA career has largely been spent inside the investment banking realm’s mergers and acquisitions wing.
“These sets of problems often involve human capital and transactions and ‘How do you arrive at a solution that works for both buyers and sellers?,’” observes Amezquita, who, shortly after joining investment banking firm Moelis & Company, acquired Herbalife Nutrition as a client back in 2012.
Looking back, Amezquita says that his advisor role allowed him to become a Herbalife “business partner,” which in turn found him beginning to observe more closely the Herbalife team’s approach to strategic decision-making.
“I got to see how they managed the company in various situations and how they worked together as a team, so for me it was like being on a 5-year interview in reverse,” recalls Amezquita, who in 2017 joined Herbalife by accepting a finance position that the company dubbed “second to the CFO.”
“There were no promises made about the CFO role, but I jumped at the opportunity. I just felt that from where the company had come and where it was headed, I could learn from the CFO,” reports Amezquita, who 3 years later would step into the CFO role himself. –Jack Sweeney
CFOTL: Tell us about Herbalife and its offerings …
Amezquita: First and foremost, we are a nutrition company. We’re $5.5 billion in sales. We’re on every continent. Well, except at the poles. We’re in 95 markets. The U.S. really represents about 20% of our business. About 80% of our business is around the world, including EMEA, India, China, APAC, South America, Mexico. So, a global brand.
What really sets us apart are two distinguishing characteristics.
Number one is the science and quality in our products. Clearly, in this category, in nutrition, trust by your customer is the most important thing.Read More
They are literally putting the products that they’re consuming into their body, so for them to do this, you have to build trust. We’ve invested a tremendous amount of capital in making sure that we’re best-in-class. In fact, candidly, when our operators go to trade shows, we are looked at as the best-in-class operator in the types of nutrition products that we make.
Number two is our sales channel, which we feel is a competitive advantage, particularly for this category. We have independent sales representatives around the world. We call them “distributors.” You can effectively just think of them as tens of thousands of small businesses around the world that we, the company, support. As they do well, we do well as a company.
Why this matters, why it’s a distinguishing factor, particularly in the category of nutrition, is that every purchase is a personal choice. What’s the right nutrition for you might be a different set of nutrition priorities for someone else, might be a different set of nutrition needs for a new mom, and on and on. When we have all of these distributors around the world making this personal connection with the customer, designing a nutrition program that’s specific for that person in the language in which they want to be spoken to, in the community in which they live, this is hyperlocalization. We find this to be a significant competitive advantage.
Herbalife Nutrition | www.herbalife.com | Los Angeles, CA