CFO India, magazine for finance pros launched

Wednesday, October 28, 2009, 5:34 by Business Editor

Nine Dot Nine Media has unveiled CFO India, a monthly magazine targetting finance professionals in India. Priced at Rs 50, CFO India has been launched with a controlled circulation, and won’t be available on newsstands for now.

BY A CORRESPONDENT

In the inaugural issue, Editor Anuradha Das Mathur writes that the Economist group’s CFO publications were a major inspiration for CFO India. The newfound self-belief and aspiration of Indians in the last decade have made her confident enough to launch the new magazine, she writes.

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The advisory panel of CFO India includes Bhagwan Chowdhry, Professor of Finance, UCLA Anderson; Don Durfee, Hong Kong Bureau chief, Reuters News, and former editor, CFO Asia; Giri Giridhar CFO, Aditya Birla Retail; JK Jain CFO & Senior V-P, DCM Shriram Consolidated; and TV Mohandas Pai, Director, HR, Infosys; Hari Mundra, Former Joint Director, Essar Oil; R Natarajan
CFO and Investment Advisor, Helion Ventures; Ameet Parikh, MD and Founding Partner, Axis Risk Consulting; Ravi Ramu, Director, Puravankara Projects Ltd; and Suresh Senapaty, CFO and Director, Wipro.

The issue kicks off with Topline and International Topline, a wrap-up of brief stories on recent events in business and politics. Topline leads with the Ambani family row over Krishna Godavari gas, and includes stories on swine flu, the Maoist uprising and L&T’s cement business consolidation, among others. International Topline speaks about Nobel Peace Prize for Barack Obama, and the Chemistry Nobel won by India-born Ramakrishnan. The issue moves on to first-person accounts by Harsh Goenka, chairman of RPG Enterprises on the role of the CFO and by V Balakrishnan, CFO of Infosys on the challenges in finance for his company.

In the next pages, Bennett Voyles, a Paris-based writer pens a profile of Tata Steel CFO Koushik Chatterjee. Tata Steel had purchased Corus two years back for $12 billion, in a bidding battle with CSN of Brazil. The Tata-Corus acquisition is the biggest purchase of an overseas company by an Indian group, and made Tata Steel the fifth-largest steel producer in the world. In the story, Chatterjee draws attention to his mentor Ishaat Hussain, currently finance director of Tata Sons, and former CFO of Tata Steel. ““Mr Hussain is an extremely high-quality coach. He let people do what needed to be done. He is not interfering, he gives them space and yet holds people accountable to decisions,” Chatterjee tells CFO India. The article also quotes B Muthuraman former MD (and currently non-executive vice-chairman) of Tata Steel commending the choice of Chatterjee as the CFO of the metal giant.

The next to come is a profile of Robin Banerjee, CEO of wind-power firm Suzlon. The Bose-and-MontBlanc-loving CFO has clinched mega-deals at Mittal Steel and Essar group, and has worked at other marquee names like Hindustan Unilever and Thomas Cook. The challenge before Banerjee, this time, is not to sew up big deals, but to tackle the company’s huge debt burden. With careful equity dilution and encashment of assets, he feels that Suzlon will ride out the storm. In the course of the interview, the Suzlon CFO also explains the components and workings of a wind mill to CFO India’s consulting editor Ullekh NP.

Other interesting articles in CFO India cover the declining political risk in India, how companies are resorting to temporary fixes to ride out the slowdown, new mindsets for growth, infrastructure offshoring, and a detailed survey-based article on the choice of news delivery platform by finance professionals. The survey finds that most finance guys depend most on magazines, and less on print and TV.

Towards the end of the edition, CFO India also features gadgets, book reviews and an art review.

As niche magazine, CFO India does justice to the theme of targetting finance professionals in India. The magazine is designed well and the language maintains the gravitas required for a niche, elite readership. However, given the controlled circulation of the magazine, it is doubtful how CFO India will gain in readership in the near future.

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