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Investing In People & Processes
At L&T, Raman has redefined the role of finance through processes & people management
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Larsen & Toubro’s (L&T) CFO R. Shankar Raman has played an instrumental role in the sustained progress of the company by making finance a business enabler. Among many of his contributions, he led the Mumbai-based company’s initiative to structure some award-winning foreign currency convertible bonds and Global Depository Receipts (GDR) while strengthening the capital base of the company. He was also instrumental in establishing an enterprise-wide risk management framework for the company as well as upgrading the company’s processes for investor relations which enabled the company to gain repeated recognition for best investor relation practices. Of his total 35 years of professional experience, he has spent 25 years at L&T, where Raman oversees the entire finance function at the group level including functions such as risk management and investor relations.
“We have defined the role of finance function as one that assists business take risks which can be responsibly managed. My value addition has been to ensure consistent availability of liquidity at best possible cost for L&T to pursue its business goals. I have also contributed with my team to the development of financial risk and business risk management processes within the group which provides a sustainable risk framework for the company to operate within. My contribution to the wealth creation effort has been to help the business add to its competitive advantage by providing inputs for achieving cost optimisation and operational excellence. We have also constantly worked to create the finance function as a centre of excellence where bright young minds combined with digitalised and automated processes help L&T produce consistent performance. We have developed the best-in-class investor relations practices to feed inputs to the investing world and worked with the businesses on their value creation levers for stakeholders’ benefit,” states Raman, who has been L&T’s CFO since September 2011 and was subsequently elevated to the board on 1 October, 2011.
Raman, who is a qualified chartered accountant and a graduate from the Institute of Cost & Works Accountants of India, joined L&T Group in November 1994 to set up L&T Finance, a wholly-owned subsidiary. He was later transferred to a group finance role at the corporate headquarters in June 2000. He is also on the board of management of several companies within the L&T Group.
Under Raman’s stewardship, the Mumbai-based firm has invested in people and processes that helped it provide financial resources, manage costs, track transactions and their cash flow, monitor peer / industry developments, provide timely well-analysed information, facilitate consistent decision making and remain a benchmark for compliance standards, financial reporting and disclosures.
Talking about Raman, V. Balasundaram, CFO - India, Middle East and Africa, Frost & Sullivan, says, “On top of Mr. Shankar Raman’s sharp financial acumen, his bold and transparent approach to analysing government policies and actions is remarkable. He simply does not hesitate to call a spade a spade. His views always reflect the big picture, and there is always a take away from a conversation with him. He exhibits a great deal of warmth and simplicity towards people.”
“I have been fortunate to work with a team which has helped create value for the organisation through its domain expertise and global outlook. The biggest change that has occurred over time is gaining the respect of business units as an important ally in their value creation journey. Changed mindset within the organisation about the immense potential of the finance function to partner and add value to business has been the most satisfying part of the change management initiative,” says Raman.
Shankar Raman was chairman of the CII CFO Forum for 2017-18. He is also a member of CII’s National Committee on Economic Affairs.