Reliance Industries Limited announced the appointment of Venkatachari Srikanth, 56, as its new Chief Financial Officer (CFO) on March 24. RIL’s long-serving CFO Alok Agarwal, who recently reached 65 years of age and completed 30 years with RIL, will move to the role of a Senior Advisor to the Chairman and Managing Director assisting him on a wide range of strategic issues.
Both the new roles will come into effect from June 1, 2023, according to a stock exchange notification by RIL.
V Srikanth ( joint CFO since 2011) has been sharing a part of the responsibilities of the CFO position with Alok Agarwal for the last few years. Srikanth has been with RIL for the last 14 years. Previously, he worked with the Citi Group for two decades in forex trading and derivatives, later becoming the Head of Markets.
Alok Agarwal is an alumnus of IIT Kanpur and IIM Ahmedabad. He joined Reliance Industries in 1993 and became the CFO in 2005. Prior to RIL, he had worked with Bank of America for 12 years.
“The Board appreciated Shri Alok Agarwal for his contribution in the transformative journey of the Company,” the RIL exchange announcement added.
THE ALOK AGARWAL ERA
Agarwal played a key role in RIL’s multifold growth in the last 30 years. When he joined, Reliance had an annual turnover of Rs 4,100 crore with a balance sheet size of Rs 6,100 crore. Under his watch, the company grew nearly 240x in revenues. RIL became the first-ever Indian company to cross $100 billion in annual turnover in FY22 and has already clocked $90 billion turnover in the first 9 months of FY23. The Balance Sheet size grew 260x in the same period to over Rs 16.25 lakh crore by end of September 2022.
Agarwal successfully managed one of India’s largest corporate treasury operations at Reliance over the years. This was quite a challenging task with multiple volatile factors to oversee like equities, debt, foreign currency exposures, crude oil and derivative prices, interest rates, business cycles etc.
Under Agarwal’s leadership, Reliance went on to achieve many unique feats in the fields of capital markets and corporate finance:
-Reliance became the first private sector company to be rated by international credit rating agencies such as S&P and Moody’s in 1995
-Reliance became one of the first Indian companies to dematerialize its shares in 1997 and issue bonus shares in demat form.
-In 1997, RIL became the first company in Asia to issue 50-year and 100-year bonds in the US debt market.
-In 2004, Reliance became the first Indian private sector company to enter Fortune 500 global ranking.
-Reliance became India’s largest company by market capitalization in 2007. In mid-2020, Reliance became India’s first company to cross $200 billion market capitalization and enter the world’s top 40 companies by market value.
-Reliance became India’s largest private sector company by net profits in FY15
-Reliance carried out the largest capital investment programme by any Indian corporate by investing Rs 330,000 crore in five years 2013-2017.
-Reliance carried out two large multi-year capex cycles in the last 25 years. In 2005-2009 set up the second Jamnagar refinery complex and KG-D6, and then in 2013-2017 set up Jio and J3 projects, which included many world-class projects like Refinery Offgas Cracker, Ethane Imports, Petcoke Gasification, apart from petchem capacity expansions. Most importantly, after each large capex cycle RIL became net debt free – the first time in 2012-13, and then in 2020-21.
Disclaimer: Moneycontrol is a part of the Network18 group. Network18 is controlled by Independent Media Trust, of which Reliance Industries is the sole beneficiary.