International Panel of Judges


Fabian Cazares
CFO Southern  Africa, Philips

Fabian Cazares holds a Postgraduate degree in Financial Strategy (Oxford, UK), an MSc. Degree in International Finance, an MBA (the Netherlands), and a BSc. in International Trade (Mexico). He has also undergone ‘The Risk Management Programme’ (IBM and Financial Times, UK), ‘The E-business & E-Commerce Programme’ (France), ‘The International Competitiveness Programme’ (Zhejiang University, China); and ‘The Market Economy Programme’ -with specific focus in Project Financing at Harvard University (Boston, USA).

Fabian leads the Phillips Southern Africa finance function -to deliver on cost, risk, cash flow and controls, whilst providing strategic and operational enablement for the group strategy in the region. He started his career in 2005 with DaimlerChrysler (Netherlands), he then joined Phillips (the Dutch electronics, healthcare and lighting technology giant) as Business Analyst in Amsterdam, before being appointed Cost Compliance Controller (Dubai, UAE), then Financial Business Partner; Sector Market Controller; and now CFO Southern Africa.

Why did we appoint Fabian to serve as Chair of the international panel of judges for the semi-finals and Deputy Chair of the global finals?

Fabian played a crucial role as Chair of the panel for the premier (2016) semi-finals of the competition -and the Deputy Chair of the grand finale; asking very tough questions on political and regulatory risk, controls, and change management -and leading the international panel to find the top 3 finalists, and then deciding the ultimate winners. As such, he brings a wealth of experience, not only in judging a global case study competition, but in managing a team of high powered judges –very qualified and accomplished leaders in their own right, to reach a shared consensus!

The above aside, Fabian has a solid international track record -principally in the emerging markets where our case company ‘AMANGO’ predominantly operates. He has specific expertise in business performance strategy, financial control, and risk management. Our case company, AMANGO, needs to manage political and regulatory risk in its Canadian and South African operations; it also needs to administer a group-wide cost reduction and performance enhancement programme that could provoke the unions and plunge the company into further crisis. Strategic and operational challenges like these needed a seasoned finance and emerging market operative, to help evaluate the teams on stage!

Furthermore, The CFO Case Study Competition -being a global endeavour, continued to require a globally diverse panel of judges, an experienced semi-final chair -and deputy chair for the global finals -that reflect these ideals. It needed a consummate professional with a much deeper appreciation of how cultural practices around the world may impact on the ‘style and substance’ of each team on stage. Fabian’s Mexican heritage, his euro-centric and afro-centric business experience and exposure to ‘international competitiveness’ from an Asian perspective made him uniquely qualified to serve in this triple capacity: panel judge, chair of semi-finals, and deputy chair of the grand finale. We were thus, humbled when he agreed to serve an extension of his tenure!

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