For Lincoln Greenidge, being the vice president of finance and controller at Enirgi Group means more than just crunching numbers or preparing reports. He sees finance as a cross-functional and valuable contributor to every part of the company.
“It’s ensuring that we have the right people with the right skill sets to get the job done,” Greenidge says. “It’s about providing the value-added analysis and continuously improving processes and utilizing technology to get the job done efficiently with complete alignment to the CEO’s vision and the company’s overall goals.”
In 2013, Greenidge joined Enirgi Group, a private global industrials and chemicals company with a portfolio of diversified assets, including a primary lead operation in western Australia; two secondary lead recycling operations in New South Wales, Australia; a lithium operation in Argentina; and a sodium-bicarbonate operation in Colorado.
Early on, Greenidge knew he wanted to be in finance. In the mid-’80s, just out of secondary school, he worked as a junior accountant. He then worked as a bank clerk in the late ’80s and was quickly promoted each year, gaining experience in many areas of banking, including foreign exchange. After finishing university, Greenidge was hired at PricewaterhouseCoopers (then Coopers and Lybrand) in Ottawa and was exposed to auditing clients in various industries, including nonprofit, manufacturing, and financial services. He eventually landed at the corporate office of Nortel Networks, one of the largest companies in Canada at that time, where his responsibilities and experiences included foreign exchange and hedging analysis of multiple currencies, external financial reporting of Nortel’s results, and the financial planning and analysis of one of Nortel’s divisions.
“This was before the euro, so there were 50-plus different currencies that we would deal with,” he says. “I often laugh when I hear colleagues express frustration about having three or four currencies to track and analyze.”
This experience gave Greenidge the know-how to take on even more responsibilities. In 2002, he joined MDS, a large life-sciences company, as director of finance and chief accountant, gaining experience in a new industry. This is where his journey in building high-performance finance teams began. After MDS, he also spent some time as the corporate controller of a dry-food manufacturer, and he exposed himself to yet another industry by joining IAMGOLD as its corporate controller, where he was to build the finance team in preparation for its intended growth. Prior to joining Enirgi Group, Greenidge spent almost five years as the corporate controller of Hudbay, where he established the Toronto finance team as part of the head office’s move from Manitoba and the intended growth beyond the then-current Manitoba operations.
By the time Greenidge joined Enirgi Group, he had experience in many different areas of finance. “Throughout my career, one simple truth remains certain: the only true measure of a company’s success is its ability to generate cash or develop assets that can be converted to cash,” Greenidge says. “After all, that’s the reason we invest.”
Countries Enirgi has a presence in, on 3 continents
The role of finance at Enirgi Group is critical, as its focus is to provide the most meaningful analysis and information to support the operations and overall business decisions. “We have a great management team, championed by an excellent CEO, and we can replicate the success that we currently have in many of our other businesses as we continue to select the right opportunities,” Greenidge says.
In addition to expanding existing operations and investing in new opportunities, Enirgi Group recently validated a revolutionary proprietary lithium-extraction technology, which reduces the amount of time it takes to produce lithium, from 500-plus days down to less than 24 hours. Greenidge says that this is an industry game-changer and will supply the critical mass demanded by manufacturers for lithium-based products such as smartphones and electric vehicles.
While this is a good start, Greenidge contends that Enirgi Group will continue looking ahead to develop new technologies and innovations.
“We have to look out 5–10 years and beyond to come up with solutions that are cost-effective,” he says. “People’s propensity and need for change makes it difficult for companies to survive if they can’t produce in the most cost-effective way.”