If there was a year in which chief financial officers (CFOs) were put to the test, it was 2020-21. The pressure was high, and the options very few. At an extremely difficult time when the pandemic disrupted operations as never before, several CFOs proved they had what it takes to come up as winners.
The fifth edition of the FE CFO Awards, to be held on Friday evening in Mumbai, will acknowledge these stand-out professionals.
Piyush Goyal, Union Minister for Commerce & Industry, Consumer Affairs, Textiles, Food and Public Distribution, will be the chief guest at the function and give away the awards.
Also addressing the gathering will be Sanjiv Mehta, chairman and managing director, Hindustan Unilever (HUL).
The Lifetime Achievement award has been won by Seshagiri Rao, Group CFO and Joint MD, JSW Steel, for his outstanding performance over four decades. He has not just steadied the ship in troubled times, he has also played an important part in JSW Steel’s inorganic growth, overseeing 10 acquisitions.
Srikanth Venkatachari, joint CFO, Reliance Industries, will walk away with the CFO of the Year award for deleveraging the RIL balance sheet after borrowings topped $70 billion while ensuring the ratings didn’t fall. Venkatachari also played a key role in several billion-dollar equity deals with tech giants and pulled off a large Rs 53,000-crore rights issue.
Twenty CFOs from across sectors will also be awarded for their sterling performances.
All winners were selected by a distinguished jury chaired by Paresh Sukthankar, former deputy managing director, HDFC Bank. The other members were Amit Chandra, chairperson, Bain Capital, Pradip Shah, chairman, IndAsia Fund Advisors, Ashu Suyash, former MD & CEO, Crisil,
Ajay Srinivasan, CEO, Aditya Birla Capital, and Amit Tandon, MD, IiAS.
Deloitte was the knowledge partner and put together the data on financials. Companies were placed in one of two categories — manufacturing and services. These were sub-divided into three sections each; those with a turnover of between Rs 500 crore-Rs 1,500 crore, between Rs 1,500 crore-Rs 3,000 crore and those with a turnover of over Rs 3,000 crore.
The companies were ranked on the basis of some basic financial parameters. In picking the winners, the jury members, of course, took into consideration a host of other factors, including M&A activity, the performance of the concerned sector, corporate governance, auditors’ comments and credit ratings.