Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Deborah Walton, Finance Director at Lynemouth Power Limited; A Meeting With

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Deborah Walton, Finance Director at Lynemouth Power Limited; A Meeting With

Article excerpt

What is the best thing about your job? Our team of 130 people, most of whom have been with us through several years of uncertainty. Having been built and operated by Alcan for many years, our plant has gone through two changes of ownership since 2012 and a prolonged regulatory process to enable our conversion from coal to biomass to take place. Most of our team have been with us throughout this period and the investment we're now making in securing the plant's future would not have been possible without their dedication and the care they've taken for the plant.

What is your proudest achievement? While under Rio Tinto's ownership, I initiated and led a restructuring of the finance teams at Lynemouth smelter and power station and Lochaber smelter in Fort William.

We adopted lean manufacturing philosophies and tools and applied them to our processes and financial reporting methods. The outcome was a high-performing team with methods of work that we retain to this day.

What advice would you give to someone starting in your career? People think finance is all about the numbers but you really need to understand the business you're in. Take every opportunity you can to learn about the business, its products and services, its structure and its markets.

If your business is selling a product or service, you need to understand what goes into delivering it to the customer or end-user. Every day's a school day and there's no such thing as a daft question!

Which individual has inspired you most and why? JK Rowling. I'm not a particular fan of her books but I take great inspiration from her life experiences. She's known hardship but her talent and hard work has taken her on to extraordinary success. Where many of society's highest achievers place a priority on their displays of wealth, JK Rowling 'gave up' her billionaire status when Forbes removed her from its wealth list after she'd donated more than $160m to charity. …

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