SJ speech at CFO Awards PDF Print E-mail
Tuesday, 26 March 2019 00:00
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Award winners,

Members of the Jury,

Our Chief Guest, the doyen of the finance world, Shri Deepak Parekh,

Our Knowledge Partner Deloitte,

Ladies and Gentlemen,


A big thank you for being here this evening. This is our third year of the CFO Awards and thanks to a great jury, we have yet another year of very deserving winners. The Chairman of the Jury was ex-UTI MD Leo Puri and he was ably assisted by Amit Chandra of Bain Capital, Pradip Shah of IndAsia Fund, Paresh Sukhthankar ex-DMD of HDFC Bank, ad Manish Kejriwal of Kedaara Capital.


It has been a fascinating journey. As journalists, as economists, as commentators, more often that not, we look at just the big numbers, GDP, Inflation, Sales, Profits... This award is about the people who make the profits happen, who ensure companies remain solvent, who ensure banks get paid ... in a sense, they are the conscience of the company.


These are trying times, times in which you CFOs have an even tougher job, and the times are going to get even tougher for a while. The economy is very definitely slowing, even by the new inflated GDP numbers. Whether it is not enough jobs, or jobs that pay less, and the farm distress -- a combination of low global prices and bad govt policies -- both have ensured consumption growth is slowing rapidly. Fitch has just lowered FY20 projections, others will follow.


Add to the local issues, the fact that global growth is slowing -- you could have a global recession in a year or so, certainly global bond markets are suggesting that. The high UPA growth, make no mistake, was fuelled by global growth -- India's exports boomed -- and plenty of easily available bank finance in India. None of that is going to available in the immediate future.


There is uncertainty over which party will come to power in May, but even if Modi comes back, many of his reforms, though desirable -- GST, RERA etc -- will further slow the economy. And it will take a few years for IBC to start delivering enough, for the economy to adjust to more white and less black. In many areas, for whatever reason, like telecom and power, Modi hasn't been able to make the necessary reforms; if he doesn't gather the courage, this will continue to drag growth. In any case, a twin balance sheet crisis takes a long time to get out of, even the US took a decade ...


The normal practice for most awards is to get a politician to address the gathering and to give away the trophies. We have consciously stayed away from this model for the CFO Awards. We've had economist Bibek Debroy, who was with Niti Aayog, in the past since he brought a lot of insights of the sort that CFOs will benefit from. This year, we have the best mind in the financial world, Shri Deepak Parekh. And we have a very timely discussion on how to avoid the mistakes of the past, the sort that contributed to the twin balance sheet crisis that has already lasted for 7-8 years and could well last another few.


Thank you once again


We've had very well-respected winners in the past, and I will mention just some of them. R Shankar Raman and YP Deosthalee in 2017, both from the L&T family and,

in 2018, Seshagiri Rao of JSW, Anshula Kant of SBI and Bharat Doshi who was with Mahindra & Mahindra for the period in which he won the award.


Picking winners has never been easy, particularly since industry has been through very tough times since we instituted the award. But, between Deloitte and our jury, we have picked very deserving winners, winners who have managed to do well especially in trying times. So, a big hand for our winners.




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