Salvatore Cantale

Professor of Finance

Salvatore Cantale is Professor of Finance. His academic and consulting work is divided into two different but complementary streams. First, he works at the intersection between strategy, business models, and financial results. He also sheds light on the relationship between ESG and finance, with the aim of increasing the understanding of how ESG policies impact both sustainability outcomes and financial results, and of helping companies navigate ESG ambitions and regulatory requirements.

In the area of strategy, business models, and financial results, Cantale helps class participants and companies to decipher financial results, determine the financial implications of business initiatives, and develop the business case for courses of action by putting numbers on proposed measures. He insists that a better understanding of the financial implications of a desired course of corporate action is a prerequisite for any aspiring value-enhancing executive at any level. As a certified leadership coach, he also provides guidance on ways to improve the performance of finance functions.

Financial results are the outcome of a wide range of things done by people in companies. When managers appreciate the link between their actions and the results, they feel a greater sense of responsibility.

In the field of ESG and finance, he is interested in sustainable business models, climate tech, investor activism, and how financial tools such as green bonds, sustainability-linked bonds, and derivatives can help address challenges for corporations in financing their investments in this essential area. His work has been presented at the European Parliament Committee on Transport and Tourism (TRAN), and has had a powerful impact on how to translate regulation and policy directions into implementable actions for companies.

At IMD, his portfolio of activities covers a wide range of topics and participants. He directs the Finance for Boards (FFB) program and the newly designed Sustainability for Boards and Board Banking Program. He also teaches finance in the MBA program, delivers customized sessions on finance and strategy for general management programs such as the Advanced Management Program (AMP) and the flagship program Orchestrating Winning Performance (OWP), and contributes to the Strategic Finance (SF) program.

In addition, he has carried out consultancy services or designed and delivered in-company programs for many organizations, including financial companies such as APG, MUFG, Development Bank of Japan, China Development Bank, China Minsheng Bank, Bank of Communications, UniCredit and Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, as well as strategy programs for non-financial companies such as Lacoste, Pernod Ricard, NCC, Bupa Arabia, Barilla, Seadrill, Unilever, Coca-Cola Hellenic, Tata Motors, Pirelli, Sibur, KPN, Honda, Kering and Maersk.

He has been published in a variety of international double-refereed journals on topics such as IPOs, security design, financial engineering, and dual listing. His work has also appeared in practitioner journals such as MIT Sloan Management Review, as well as in the Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, and other media outlets.

Before joining IMD in 2011, he was a faculty director for the Master’s in finance at the AB Freeman School of Business at Tulane University in the US, where he won numerous teaching awards. Previously, he worked as an analyst with a large investment bank in London, and as a research fellow at New York University.

Selected publications
Article
Solutions to ‘dirty’ bitcoin’s growing sustainability challenge
Cryptocurrencies, the environmental bogeyman, could be a force of good, provided the industry can move to more energy-efficient mining methods and greener power sources.
Published 3 December 2021
Article
ABP’s bold move strengthens the case for divesting fossil fuel stocks
Dutch pension fund ABP’s decision to withdraw from the fossil fuel sector carries some risks, but it is a courageous move that could have wider repercussions.
Published 29 October 2021
Article
Low cost, high impact: the new ‘Barbarians at the Gate’
Shareholder activism campaigns surged at the end of 2020 and will only intensify in the years to come, even in the traditionally more sedate European market. Here's one reason why...
Published 14 May 2021
Article
Danone’s damaging brush with activist investors
Activist shareholding is a low-cost version of acquisition: you get the changes you want at a fraction of the cost. It is of paramount importance that there be consensus between board and top manag...
Published 22 March 2021
Article
Is your company addicted to value extraction?
Should companies exercise their ability to “extract” value from external or internal stakeholders? What is value extraction? Is it in the long-term interest of the shareholders? We define value ext...
Published 1 August 2014
Academic publications
Article
Putable common stock
The underpricing of initial public offerings is a well-documented phenomenon in the financial literature. The purpose of this paper is to show how this empirical regularity could be solved by an ap...
Published 1 November 2004
Insight for Executives
Report
Delivering value through mergers and acquisitions – HR’s critical role
Merger and Acquisition activity is already rebounding from its initial pandemic-driven slump, and is likely to be rising up the agenda at many organisations. HR has a critical role to play in this ...
Published 4 March 2021
Article
Tencent, avamposto cinese che scala la Rete
Although Tencent holdings was not very successful in making WeChat famous beyond beyond China, it nevertheless attempted to build a global gaming empire. In January 2021 the value of Tencent's mar...
Published 1 March 2021
Governance at ABP and APG: The €440 Billion Challenge
Case Study
Governance at ABP and APG: The €440 Billion Challenge
Although ABP was much admired abroad as an industry frontrunner, at home, it was facing a 'gigantic trust crisis,' according to some experts
Published 31 December 2020
Once COVID-19 is beaten, let’s mobilize our efforts
Article
Once COVID-19 is beaten, let’s mobilize our efforts
In comparing coronavirus to war times, hold onto the idea of the collaboration and progress to come
Published 21 May 2020
Leading in turbulent times webinar series: Rethinking corporate bureaucracy
Video
Leading in turbulent times webinar series: Rethinking corporate bureaucracy
We don’t know what scenario is currently playing out, but firms need to be agile, discovery-driven and adopt a problem-solving mentality.
Published 5 April 2020
Pandemic bonds in coronavirus times: ‘financial goofiness’ or fiscal genius?
Article
Pandemic bonds in coronavirus times: ‘financial goofiness’ or fiscal genius?
Given the fact that further pandemics are expected, financial instruments like these could offer advantages that go beyond offsetting the potential challenges associated with future outbreaks.
Published 3 March 2020
The Wesfarmers way (B)
Case Study
The Wesfarmers way (B)
Continuation of Case A
Published 18 July 2019
The Wesfarmers way (A)
Case Study
The Wesfarmers way (A)
A discussion between two hedge fund managers is used to examine the merits of investing in Wesfarmers, an industrial conglomerate, following a transformative acquisition of a retail business called...
Published 18 July 2019
How a Swiss bank was toppled by a financial scandal in Malaysia – and what can be learned from it
Article
How a Swiss bank was toppled by a financial scandal in Malaysia – and what can be learned from it
The world’s biggest financial scandal, over missing billions from Malaysian state-run development fund 1MDB, has left the country’s former prime minister, Najib Razak, facing charges of corruption ...
Published 11 September 2018
What’s stopping Tencent from monetizing WeChat in the most obvious way?
Article
What’s stopping Tencent from monetizing WeChat in the most obvious way?
The $22 billion Chinese technology giant Tencent is sitting on an advertising goldmine. Just 18% of its total revenue in fiscal year 2016 came from online advertising, and industry analysts believe...
Published 6 May 2018
China's Tencent: Leading the way in monetizing platforms
Case Study
China's Tencent: Leading the way in monetizing platforms
Worldwide, there is no parallel comparison to China’s Tencent Holdings. The $22 billion tech giant is a collective answer to Facebook, WhatsApp, Spotify, Kindle, Skype, Pinterest, Apple Pay and oth...
Published 29 November 2017
Report
Pirelli and IMD: An agile partnership
Pirelli, a leading Italian tire manufacturer, has lived life in the fast lane since 1872. After the financial crisis, the pace of change accelerated like never before in the company’s storied histo...
Published 19 March 2017
Finance for non-finance people
Article
Finance for non-finance people
Finance is straightforward once you grasp the language and logic behind it. It provides analytical tools that can help managers make better-informed decisions, all of which will somehow affect fina...
Published 6 July 2016
Uber: An empire in the making?
Case Study
Uber: An empire in the making?
The case study is set in early December 2014. Uber has just completed a round of funding and as a result has an eye-watering valuation of US$41 billion. The case initially explains the service Uber...
Published 5 November 2015
Programs
On campus
Orchestrating Winning Performance

Reset for sustainable and inclusive growth

IMD's signature program, OWP, brings you the latest business trends, thought leadership and insights to revitalize your business, drive innovation and lead you forward. Fully customizable schedule. For executives and teams.

Location: Lausanne Length: 5 days Fee: CHF 10,900 Next start: 26 June 2023
On campus
Strategic Finance

Creating value through financial excellence

Refreshes and refines the skills of senior financial and business executives through a broadened understanding of the latest financial concepts and tools.

Location: Lausanne Length: 5 days Fee: CHF 9,900 Next start: 3 October 2022