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New Delhi | Published: April 4, 2018 4:58:00 AM

Chief Financial Officers (CFO) are not often in the limelight. But the FE CFO Awards 2018 were all about these quiet, behind–the-scenes workers who ensure their companies are safe and sound.

cfo awards, cfo, cChief Financial Officers(L-R) Sunil Jain, managing editor, Financial Express; George Varghese, Group CEO, Indian Express; Bibek Debroy, chairman, Economic Advisory Council-PM; Bharat Doshi, former ED and group CFO, M&M and Niranjan Hiranandani, MD, Hiranandani Group.

Chief Financial Officers (CFO) are not often in the limelight. But the FE CFO Awards 2018 were all about these quiet, behind–the-scenes workers who ensure their companies are safe and sound. A large gathering applauded these professionals and recognised their contributions at a presentation ceremony in Mumbai on March 27. Bibek Debroy, chairman, Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister, was the chief guest on the occasion.
Two dozen CFOs walked away with awards for their outstanding performances. The mood in the ballroom of the St Regis Hotel in central Mumbai was upbeat; given how corporate India has a very rough time there was every reason to celebrate the performances.

Bharat Doshi, former executive director and group CFO at Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M), received a standing ovation for winning the award for lifetime achievement. Doshi has made an outstanding contribution, over four decades, to M&M as the company grew from a manufacturer of tractors to a conglomerate branching out into several new fields. Doshi stressed the importance of integrity and ethics exhorting fellow CFOs to be true to their profession. A CFO’s role, he said, was not only about numbers but also about upholding values. “When you get a lifetime achievement award, you need to slow down. But if you ask my wife she would say I am not a person who slows down,” Doshi said, much to the amusement of the audience.

Seshagiri Rao, joint managing director and Group CFO, JSW Steel walked away with the ‘CFO of the Year’ award. Rao thanked chairman Sajjan Jindal for having supported him all these years. “The only reason I have been chosen CFO of the Year is because of the exemplary performance of JSW Steel,” Rao said. Anshula Kant, CFO, State Bank of India (SBI) who won the ‘Newsmaker of the Year’ award said the merger of the five associate banks with the parent entity had been a team effort which was why it had gone through smoothly. Kant, an inspiration for many for having broken through the glass ceiling, said it was not as hard to be honest and have integrity as was commonly believed.

Applauding the winners was a big gathering comprising the who’s who of the financial world. Among the companies that bagged awards were Marico, Mahanagar Gas, 8K Miles Software Services, Hindustan Media Ventures, Icra, Castrol, Alembic Pharmaceuticals, Eicher Motors, L&T Infotech, Dhanuka Agritech, Indraprastha Gas, Future Supply Chain Solutions and EIH Associated Hotels.

Pradip Shah, chairman, IndAsia Fund Advisors sitting among the audience

The winners had all been selected by a jury headed by S Ramadorai, former chairman of TCS, Paresh Sukthankar, deputy managing director of HDFC Bank, Amit Chandra, managing director of Bain Capital, Pradip Shah, chairman of IndAsia Fund Advisors and Ajay Srinivasan, CEO, Aditya Birla Capital. The number crunching had been done by a team at Deloitte Consulting which sifted through thousands of companies, across the manufacturing and services sectors to come up
with a shortlist.

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