FE CFO Awards: Masters of the metrics

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Sunil Jain, managing editor, The Financial Express , (L) presents a memento to YM Deosthalee, chairman, L&T Finance Holdings, winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award.

Chief Financial Officers (CFO) are the unsung heroes of the corporate world; their competence and hard work often go unnoticed, their efforts to ensure that companies stay safe and that all risks are covered are rarely lauded. They remain in the shadows shouldering their responsibilities quietly. It was to bring these unassuming professionals into the limelight that The Financial Express decided to launch the FE CFO Awards 2017. The awards were initiated with a view to recognizing the outstanding financial performances of companies and appreciating the role that CFOs had played. The celebrations to felicitate companies that had turned in good financial performances in the last three years and compliment CFOs for their good work, were held in Mumbai, on March 24.

Chief guest Bibek Debroy, member, Niti Aayog did the honours, presenting the awards to two dozen CFOs from companies, big and small and across the manufacturing and services sector. The mood in the ballroom of the ITC Grand Central was upbeat; everyone agreed it was an occasion to celebrate. YM Deosthalee, chairman, L&T Holdings was presented the award for lifetime achievement. His contribution to Larsen &Toubro over four decades—during which he handled the company’s complex financial portfolio—was applauded with a standing ovation.

R Shankar Raman, director, Larsen& Toubro, walked away with the CFO of the Year award. Shankar Raman has been overseeing the finances of the engineering giant in a challenging environment. Cheering the winners to the stage was a large gathering comprising the who’s who of the financial world. Among the companies that bagged awards were giants such as Coal India Limited, state-owned firms such as Rural Electrification Corporation (REC) and private sector players such as Bajaj Auto. Smaller companies such as Bajaj Corporation, Dr. Lal’s Pathlabs, Gruh Finance, Repco Home Finance, and GIC Housing Finance were also among the many winners.

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The winners had been selected by a high-powered jury headed by R Seshasayee, chairman, Infosys, YM Deosthalee, chairman, L&T Finance Holdings, Leo Puri, managing director, UTI Asset Management, Amit Chandra, managing director Bain Capital and Pradip Shah, chairman IndAsia Advisors. Picking winners from hundreds of companies across a variety of sectors was not an easy task given every sector has its own set of challenges and each operates in a different business cycle. Earlier, the team at Deloitte sifted through the numbers and ran the checks to make sure nothing had been missed.