RIL restructures its finance wings for the first time in 37 years

In what can best be dubbed as an effort to rise up to the modern global financial challenges and improved accounting and risk management systems, Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) has undertaken, for the first time in 37 years, a reorganization of sorts of its financial wing. V Srikanth, the deputy Chief Financial Officer (CFO)of Reliance Industries, appointed in August 2010, has been raised to the position of CFO alongside the current CFO of the company, AlokAgarwal, who is pegged informally as the ‘hands-on money manager’ at RIL.

As a part of this reorganization, RIL, India’s largest private sector conglomerate, has also divided responsibilities between the two finance heads. AlokAgarwal, ex-Bank of America (BankAm) executive, will be seen managing the company’s global risk management front, moving on from the tasks that entailed managing company’s treasury operations as a CFO.  He will also work closely with the new M&A team, currently being headed by NavinWadhwani, responsible for acquisition and merger of global assets.V Srikanth, a former Citibank executive,will take charge of the day-to-day operations, primarily managing RIL’sextensive treasury operations and fund-raising plans.

Both V Srikanth and AlokAgarwal have been a part of institution of process altering changes within Reliance. V Srikanth was the one whoraised $500 million last month through sale of bonds to foreign investors in RIL’s latest instance of fund-raising transaction; while on the other hand, it was AlokAgarwal who brought in far-reaching changes in the companyin the mid-90s, after he moved out of BankAm operations, most significant of which was raising a 100-year Yankee bond –a bond denominated in U.S. dollars issued publically in the U.S. by foreign banks and corporations – for RIL. This was a first for an Indian company and saw RIL being the first company to raise money from overseas through external commercial borrowings and GDR issues.

This unanticipated restructuring of sorts by Reliance Industries is being eyed as an institution of a new practice to overhaul its financial management related practices on a regular basis, so as to be better equipped to take on changing global financial management challenges.  At present, Reliance’s treasury holdings stand at around 37,652 crore, and given the sheer size and growing complexity of RIL’s business’s, a reorganization like this is certainly a good way to prepare for unfolding financial challenges in the years to come.