Abstract: Corporate Treasury in International Business History

Mark Billings


In this paper, I explore a hitherto largely neglected area of business history: the corporate treasury. Most business or corporate historians consider the corporate treasury function a specialized aspect of the finance function and give it little explicit attention. I argue that this neglect is undeserved, and consider how and why treasury has evolved as a discipline distinct from other aspects of the finance function. We can attribute the rise of the professional corporate treasurer to a number of factors: changes in the organization and financing of companies, including change and innovation in financial markets; the wider professionalization of management; and the internationalization of business. These factors affected different countries at different times. In Europe, economic and financial uncertainties in the 1970s acted as a major stimulus, whereas treasury, in common with other aspects of the "managerial revolution," developed earlier in the United States.

BEH On-Line Paper