September 11, 2019
In conversation with Paul McDowell, Vice President & Treasurer of GoDaddy
Q1: Tell us about your career path and what particular experience has been most valuable to you along the way
To jumpstart my professional career, I pursued an accounting degree at the University of Ulster. I went on to qualify as an accountant (Chartered Global Management Accountant) whilst working at British Airways (“BA”). At BA, early in my career I got to travel and work overseas, including a six-month work assignment in East Africa. Working abroad taught me the importance of respecting different cultures and clear communication, as well as exposed me to the intricacies of working remotely vis-a-vis from a head office.
Following BA, I ventured to become Controller of a futures and options trading company, working both in London and New York. Thereafter, I moved back to Dublin, Ireland, to assume the role of Treasury Controller for a global multinational, Tyco International. Having already developed an understanding of derivatives, this last role further deepened my fascination with treasury, and gave me first-hand insights into corporate treasury.
Tyco International subsequently spun off its healthcare and electronics divisions. I moved to Zurich, Switzerland, to work for Covidien, its healthcare division, supporting Treasury, Tax, Emerging Markets, and Supply Chain for International as part of the Controllers group. Subsequently, I took on the Boston-based role of Vice President & Assistant Treasurer. When Covidien combined with Medtronic via an inversion merger, I relocated to Minneapolis, where I continued to serve as Vice President & Assistant Treasurer.
At present, I am Vice President & Treasurer of GoDaddy.
Thus far in my career, I have been very fortunate to work with impressively smart people, and innovative and challenging companies. The variety of projects, not only treasury-specific, but also M&A, divestitures, and spin-offs of divisions, in which I have been involved, have expanded my professional boundaries and global mindset.
Recently, I began advising a Seattle-based technology and finance transformation firm on the leading edge of aligning finance and treasury with technology solutions, foraying into the burgeoning aviation finance and aircraft leasing industries.
Q2: What is the biggest challenge you currently face?
GoDaddy has grown tremendously and continues to expand its global footprint to empower entrepreneurs everywhere. The greatest challenge in my role is to ensure the Treasury team and their processes keep up with the speed of this growth, and always stays ahead of the curve. My goal is to ensure the Treasury team is established to meet the next stage in GoDaddy’s evolvement. In addition, with the volatility and political concerns globally, this has an impact for every global company, and likewise on Treasury – from not only foreign exchange risk, but local economics, tax, and regulatory.
Q3: How is the performance of your treasury group measured?
Treasury is an evolving and developing function at GoDaddy. In terms of the Treasury’s team performance, I could not highlight a specific set of performance indicators. Rather our performance is measured based on the success and delivery of Treasury being evident as both strategic and support to the company.
Q4: What takes up most of your time?
It depends on the day, and what the priority is. I don’t necessarily have a particular task which takes up most of my time. I suppose like most people, it is staying on top of my inbox, as well as managing relationships and the team.
Q5: How has technology changed treasury?
Treasury has undergone a significant transformation over the past two decades, particularly due to technology with advancements in straight-through processing and direct interfacing. Fifteen years ago, these were just mere concepts as most treasury tasks were performed manually using Excel. Today, having information readily available at any time, anywhere in the world, generates significant efficiencies. These changes have enabled the Treasury function to evolve – from previously being seen as extension to Accounting to now a strategic function in its own right.
About Zeevo Group LLC:
Zeevo Group LLC (“Zeevo”) provides business, finance and information technology consulting services and products to a broad range of clients representing such key industries as aircraft leasing, technology and consumer products. zeevogroup.com
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