Unlike many of the up-and-comers who populate the corridors of The Chemours Company, CFO Sameer Ralhan spent the balance of his career-building years with the company inside its manufacturing plants.
It was there where Ralhan says that he observed everyday executives making decisions that routinely impacted the business, and it was there where his M&A activities allowed him to imagine new avenues for value creation.Read More
Says Ralhan: “The heart of this company beats at the plants.”
Still, the many hours that Chemours’s future CFO spent there made him aware of a growing disconnect between finance and the plant’s decision-makers.
According to Ralhan, Chemours, not unlike many U.S. manufacturers, had undergone decades of reorganizations designed to streamline and centralize its operations. However, one consequence of this was that the bond between the plants and the Chemours finance team had become weakened.
“It was really limiting the finance support at the site and undermining decision support that could really drive the right financial outcomes,” recalls Ralhan, who after stepping into the CFO role made reallocating finance resources to support plant decision-making a priority.
Ralhan reports that one of a number of Chemours businesses that have benefited from the reallocation has been the chemical company’s Advanced Performance Materials (APM) business, where the finance and operations teams came together to build new decision-making models as well as return-on-capital models for each manufacturing site.
Observes Ralhan: “These models really provided the insights to drive the right decisions, and this is evident in the margin improvement that we’re seeing today in the APM business.”
Meanwhile, the Chemours manufacturing sites, as well as their bottom lines, are expected to benefit in the coming years from different digital tools and applications that promise to build on APM’s recent margin improvement success.
Comments Ralhan: “Once you achieve this, you earn the right to do more things, and that’s what I’m really excited about.” -Jack Sweeney
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CFOTL: So, what is this next chapter that you’re helping Chemours to open? Tell us about it …
Ralhan: I’m glad that you asked. Chemours enables our life every day. That’s who we are. We make virtually everything that you touch, from the polymers that make your cell phone work to low-global-warming-potential refrigerants that keep your home and car cool to the titanium dioxide pigment that makes the paints in your home durable. There are so many products that we make safer, more reliable, and more sustainable through our chemistry. This is the part of Chemours that really excites us, as it’s really contributing to the people, the planet, the customers, and the communities. This is the way that we look at it. As we look into the future, what gets us really excited is that Chemours chemistry is going to be a key enabler in the decarbonization efforts that are happening around the globe.Read More
The one of these that I would really point to is the development of the hydrogen economy. We make some critical enablers to make the hydrogen economy tick. We are super-excited about these kinds of opportunities and the impact that we can have on the globe.
Finance is evolving at such a faster pace. It’s at a pace that I’ve never seen in my career. My priorities are really aligned with this evolution. To me, it’s all about how finance can build better business partnerships. We are focused on the question of how to create even more digital leadership roles inside the company. How do we drive the data-driven insights into better operating performance and a better customer experience, so that Chemours can maintain its leadership position? My biggest mindshare is focused really around these kinds of things that I’ve been working on with my team. We are really evolving finance from the traditional role of just driving accountability to becoming a better strategic partner to businesses. As I look forward, I’ve never been more excited about the role that finance can play in working with the businesses to create significant value. jb
The Chemours Co. | www.chemours.com | Wilmington, DE