With a new and reform-minded Administration headed by President Enrique Pena Nieto, the international press has branded what has become "Mexico's moment." The chief financial officers from some of the nation's leading corporations gathered on May 16 and 17 at Latin Trade Group's most recent CFO Event at the Four Seasons Hotel in Mexico City, to evaluate their opportunities in this new environment.
In the short term, Carlos Capistran, Director and Chief Mexico Economist, Bank of America Merrill Lynch Global Research, warned that much will depend on the US economy with which Mexico's is inextricably linked. Like other speakers, Capistran has been shaving his forecast for growth this year at least.
Ramon A. Leal Chapa, Chief Financial Officer of the Monterrey-based Alfa industrial group, was presented the CFO of the Year Award. Leal Chapa reflected the expectations that have been raised by President Pena Nieto's reform program, especially the forthcoming energy and fiscal reforms, which several speakers described as the keys to the success of a more productive economy that would reap important benefits for all Mexicans.
Leal Chapa's responsibilities include five separate companies that cover petrochemicals, high-tech auto-parts, refrigerated foods, telecommunications and one that produces shale gas in the United States. In all, Alfa has 85 production plants in 18 countries in the Americas, Europe and Asia, presenting a mighty challenge for any CFO. In his keynote address, Leal Chapa emphasized that Alfa's "cautious approach has...