Ted Delgado is currently Director, North America Controller at The Hershey Company, which encompasses financial reporting and process/controls leadership for all business units in the United States and Canada. Ted joined Hershey immediately after graduating from Elizabethtown College with a Bachelor of Science in International Business with a concentration in Finance and Marketing.
Ahead of the Controller Summit in New York this November 12-13, we sat down with him.
How did you get started in finance?
As a teenager, I worked in my family’s mining equipment business in Ecuador, South America. I learned a few things at the shop, including welding. Then, I helped in the administration of the business. When it was time to go to college, I decided to pursue International Business with a concentration in Marketing and Finance. After graduating, I received a job offer to join The Hershey Company’s Internal Audit Department. Hershey viewed Internal Audit as a way to get new college graduates to join the Finance Department. Although I did not have accounting background, I learned that Internal Audit could be a good opportunity to learn and travel internationally. In the meantime, I was able to complete professional certifications (CPA, CFM, CMA, etc.). Subsequently, I joined Hershey International’s FP&A Department and completed my MBA during that time. I have been a Regional Controller responsible for international business units since 2013, and just started a new role as North America Controller.
What unique challenges have you faced within your industry/in your current role/current company?
The pace of change in business has progressively increased since I started at The Hershey Company. To succeed in today’s changing business environment, I have had to continuously adapt to new cultures, new strategies, new priorities, new teams, and new expectations. I have to continuously learn and connect new insights with what is required to deliver results that meet/exceed expectations. Business cycles and difficult business conditions also present unique challenges. I have had to learn to successfully lead teams and work with diverse teams in difficult conditions due to challenging economic environments and business cycles. Difficult times bring the best of us when we successfully see through challenges and remain determined to achieve positive results.
To what extent have you seen the finance function further integrate with other areas of the business in recent years?
Finance partnership with all other functions is essential to achieve business results. As technology has improved over time, Finance functions have become less transactional and more strategic. Finance’s leadership role to influence partners to make financially wise decisions and execute new initiatives highly depends on strong relationships. Decisions are required at a much faster pace and therefore Finance leaders need to be close to their partners to enable proactive actions that lead to successful execution and positive financial results.
What will you be discussing in your presentation?
I will be sharing my observations on the role of Finance in the execution of business strategies. Strategy provides a map to guide decisions within a company. A strategy map is useless without vehicles and drivers that enable business decisions and execution. A balanced approach to strategy development and business execution is essential to achieve sustainable growth and profitability. Finance plays a significant role in the development of business strategies because we are in the best position to develop financial models that prove or disprove strategic ideas that emerge from various levels of the organization. Finance leadership is key to the development of vehicles that enable the execution of strategies based on fact-based decision making. Vehicles without drivers do not move anywhere. In the same way, successful strategy execution is highly dependent on the development of a dynamic organizational structure that enables talented employees to transform strategic ideas into reality. Finance talent is essential to business foresight, insightful analysis, and proactive decision-making that lead to successful business execution.