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STANFORD -- In business, the bottom line is, well, the bottom line.
"Whatever you do, whatever specialty you may practice, the vocabulary of business is universally and unavoidably financial," Allan D. Gilmour, chief financial officer of the Ford Motor Co., told a group of Business School students April 18. Finance not only measures results, it also predicts them, he said.
"The key role of finance is one of forecasting," Gilmour said, "and then, with others on the management team, participating in the decisions that have to be reached. Do you know of any other function that becomes so directly involved in every aspect of running a business? I don't. That's what makes finance demanding, exciting and, above all, rewarding. I know I'm biased on this subject, but I wouldn't have wanted a career in any different field."
Gilmour was the first chief financial officer invited to come to the Business School as Arjay Miller Lecturer. The lecture series fund, endowed by former Dean Arjay Miller, will bring one current or former CFO to the school each year. The guests will teach classes and hold informal meetings with both students and faculty, as Gilmour did during his three days on campus. The Ford executive was an appropriate choice to inaugurate the series because Arjay Miller was president and vice chairman of Ford before he became dean of the Business School in 1969.
Besides funding a visiting lecturer, the Arjay Miller Finance Fund also will be used for case development in the field of finance.
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