Selecting the Finance Director of the Year is always an onerous task. The scandals of recent years and growing interest in corporate governance have raised awareness of the role far beyond the traditional financial community.
Warren Persky, FD at Telereal, demonstrates all the qualities one would look for in an exceptional FD since he joined the company at a time of financial turmoil.
Telereal is a series of 50:50 partnerships and joint ventures between Land Securities plc and either William Pears Family Holdings plc or The B Pears trust. The company was created in December 2001, with the purpose of purchasing 6,700 properties from BT plc for £2.4bn, and subsequently to provide a fully integrated nationwide property and project management service back to BT. The deal remains the largest European securitisation achieved at one time, with a value of £1.8bn.
Accordingly, Telereal was a ‘start-up’ company, albeit one with a starting position of more than £350m of annual income, £2.4bn of debt, almost 7,000 properties and 365 staff transferred from a BT department. The firm was expected to manage a large contractual relationship in a commercial manner.
While re-shaping the finance operation, Persky undertook key ‘out of the normal course of business’ deliverables. A successful refinancing of £1.2bn of debt was achieved, while implementing innovative solutions to Telereal’s finance system issues.
These changes have been achieved cost effectively, and are indicative of Persky’s leadership skills and his business acumen.
Unlike some executives, Persky does not believe everything should be delegated. During the past 18 months, Warren has created and led a successful and innovative finance team, and at the same time reinvigorated one of the country’s largest property companies.
Our judges were impressed. ‘He’s shown openness and integrity, and demonstrated measurable success,’ said one. ‘He’s behind the implementation of new systems and procedures, restructured the debt and been a real driving force in the company.’
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