Chief Financial Officer of Reliance Industries Alok Agarwal, 65, will take on the role of Senior Advisor to Chairman and Managing Director Mukesh Ambani from June 1, assisting him on a wide range of strategic issues, the company said. Agarwal’s place as CFO will be taken over by Venkatachari Srikanth, 56, who has been sharing the responsibilities of CFO for the last few years.
The role of senior advisor is a new position that has been created for Agarwal, who has been with the company for 30 years. Insiders said that Ambani did not want to relinquish the services of Agarwal and decided to keep him on in an advisory capacity. “You can’t let a good man go,” they said.
Agarwal, an alumnus of IIT Kanpur and IIM Ahmedabad and a former executive of Bank of America, joined Reliance Industries in 1993 and became the chief of finance in 2005.
He has played a pivotal role in many of the conglomerate’s pioneering initiatives in corporate India such as being the first company in Asia to issue 50-year and 100-year bonds in the US market, the first private sector company to be rated by international credit ratings agencies and the first company to enter the Fortune 500 rankings.
Agarwal was instrumental in managing the company’s corporate treasury operations over the years, the largest in the country. This was a challenging task with multiple volatile factors to oversee like equities, debt, foreign currency exposures, crude oil and derivative prices, interest rates and business cycles.
When Agarwal joined the company it had a turnover of ₹4,100 crore and a balance sheet size of ₹6,100 crore. Since then its revenues have grown 240 times while the balance sheet size has grown 260 times, according to the company.
Venkatachari Srikanth, who succeeds Agarwal, has been with the group for the last 14 years. He worked with Citigroup for two decades in forex trading and derivatives, before becoming head of markets. “Srikanth has proven his mettle to carry forward the legacy of Alok Agarwal at Reliance and help script its future chapters of growth,” the company said. He will take over from June 1.
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