A former IBM finance executive is on a blockchain-based mission to get central banks using digital currencies

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In recent years, many employees – including finance professionals and CFOs – have decided to leave their jobs in search of more meaningful or task-oriented work.

“It’s a trend we’ve seen with executives when we’ve spoken to them on other occasions,” Alyse Bodine, managing partner and global head of the financial officers practice at Heidrick & Struggles, told me recently.

After a 10-year career in finance and technology at IBM, Carmelle Cadet focused on working on financial inclusion. Cadet is the founder and CEO of Emtech, a New York-based fintech startup aiming to rebuild central bank infrastructure for the Web3 age.

Cadet first came to IBM through an internship program and was hired as a financial analyst. But her path led in the direction of leadership. “I became associate CFO of IBM’s blockchain division when it started,” she told me. “When I joined the department I was on maternity leave, cramming Bitcoin lessons on YouTube while feeding the baby,” Cadet joked. But when she returned to work, “I started running.”

Cadet believes blockchain has transformational promise in its ability to virtually represent an asset with a clear understanding and transparency of who owns it and who holds it at any given point in time. “For example, CFOs understand how difficult it is to coordinate in finance,” she says. “Part of that is because each number moves on different systems. Blockchain is really changing that.”

In her role as Deputy CFO, she was responsible for driving the global product commercialization and financial management strategy. “We developed a product aimed at digitizing money and found that there were still problems in the system,” she says. “Regulators and central banks didn’t really understand the technology.”

But for Cadet, this quest is more than just academic.

She immigrated to the United States from Haiti at the age of 16 and spent her early years as an unbanked person. If central banks used technology to digitize fiat money, “we could make financial markets inclusive and resilient by design” and create liquidity that benefits small businesses and individuals, she says.

Quitting your job at the company was a very big decision. “I spent many years researching before I got involved,” she says. Cadet founded Emtech in 2019. Her son was two years old at the time and her husband was very supportive, she says. But it took some time for her mother to regain consciousness. “I’m the only child and my mother said to me, ‘There’s no way you’re going to do this to me when I can tell all my friends that you work at IBM. What is this blockchain thing?’”

Covid began to spread just months after she took the entrepreneurial plunge. “It was definitely scary because we didn’t have customers or products at the time,” explains Cadet. “But our first win went to an accelerator in Silicon Valley.” Although the accelerator gives you the tools to grow your business, you still need to pitch your idea to VCs, she says.

Emtech works with the Bank of Ghana and the Central Bank of Bahamas and actively works with several central banks including Nigeria, the US and Liberia. “We got two central banks to have a pilot, onboard them, develop the technology and bring it to market.” Banks first wanted to digitize their regulatory and compliance practices before implementing their own digital ones Introduce currency, says Cadet.

“We’ve raised $4 million now,” she says. “We are still a seed company. So, Pre-Series A. About 70% of our cap table is black and African investors.”

The US does not have a central bank digital currency (CBDC). However, in September, the US Treasury recommended moving forward with work on CBDC as part of the White House framework for the responsible development of digital assets. However, experts say that companies are getting involved in blockchain. “Our projection is that by 2024, at least 20% of large enterprises will be using digital currencies for either payments, stored value, or investments,” said Avivah Litan, analyst and vice president of research at Gartner, in June.

The path of a founder is fulfilling but not easy, says Cadet. “A black woman who is a VC-backed technology CEO is still rare,” she says. A new report from TechCrunch found that black founders raised $187 million in the third quarter, a sharp drop from the nearly $1.1 billion they raised in the third quarter of 2021 and down from the 594 Millions of dollars raised by the cohort in the second quarter.

When it comes to blockchain, CFOs need to get on board because it’s the future, says Cadet. She is the CEO of her startup, who can also easily don the CFO hat.


Have a good weekend.

Sheryl Estrada
[email protected]

Big thing

The 2023 Workplace Learning Trends Report, published by Udemy (Nasdaq: UDMY), an online marketplace for teaching and learning, highlights trends in business skills and learning cultures. The most used business skills fell into the communication and leadership categories, according to the report, with significant growth in consumption in customer experience management (up 449% YoY) and non-verbal communication (up 268%) by Udemy Business learners worldwide and compare the total consumption of course topics between 2021 and 2022.

Courtesy of Udemy

go deeper

Here are a few readings from the weekend:

Carlyle is looking for a new CEO. Here are some internal candidates who want the job — and a high-profile outside manager who probably doesn’t want itby Luisa Beltrán

Meme-stock darling Bed Bath & Beyond appoints Sue Gove as permanent CEO amid store closures and stock market crashes‘ by Lucy Brewster

“Gen Zers Don’t Think They’ll Ever Own a Home, Buckle Up for Long-Term Financial Instability” by Tristan Bove

This expert’s 7-day nutrition and fitness boot camp will help you improve your brain health‘ by Marc Milstein

leaderboard

Here’s a list of some notable moves this week:

Ned Segal, CFO of Twitter, was reportedly fired from the company on Thursday after Tesla CEO Elon Musk completed his $44 billion deal to take over the social network, Reuters reported. Twitter did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Segal joined Twitter in 2017. Prior to that, he was SVP of Finance at Intuit. Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal and legal and political chief Vijaya Gadde were also reportedly fired.

Celeste Mellet, The CFO of Evercore (NYSE: EVR), an investment banking advisory firm, will leave the firm to assume the position of Partner and CFO at Global Infrastructure Partners, an independent infrastructure investor. Evercore will begin a formal search process for its next CFO. Mellet, who took up her position in July 2021, will remain with the Evercore team and work together until February 2023. Before joining Evercore, she was EVP and CFO at Fannie Mae.

George Elhedery has been appointed CFO of HSBC Holdings PLC and Executive Director of the Board of Directors effective 1 January 2023. Ewen Stevenson will step down as CFO and Executive Director on December 31 and will leave HSBC in April 2023. Elhedery most recently served as Co-CEO for Global Banking and Markets. He joined HSBC in 2005 as Senior Global Markets Executive.

Sudhanshu Priyadarshi was appointed CFO of Keurig Dr. Pepper Inc. (Nasdaq: KDP). He will lead the finance and information technology organizations. Priyadarshi was most recently the CFO of Vista Outdoor Inc. He began his career at PepsiCo, where he spent 14 years in a variety of roles including CFO of Global Research & Development and PepsiCo Global Nutrition Platforms. He was also previously CFO of Flexport and held a position as VP of Finance and Strategy at Walmart.

Brad Nagel has been appointed CFO of Electromed, Inc. (NYSE American: ELMD), a provider of airway clearance technology, effective November 14. Most recently, Nagel held the position of Divisional CFO, Global Lung Health and Visualization at Medtronic. Prior to that, he held various positions of increasing responsibility in finance at Medtronic, Target Corporation and TCF Bank.

overheard

“Twitter’s $44 billion price tag will, in our view, go down the street as one of the most overpaid tech acquisitions in M&A deal history. Musk’s purchase of Twitter remains a major head scratcher.”

—Wedbush Securities tech analyst Dan Ives wrote in a note to clients on Thursday: wealth reported.

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