Veteran finance professional Ajay Goel rejoined Vedanta as the new chief financial officer (CFO) after the mining conglomerate owned by billionaire Anil Agarwal recently announced a major demerger plan.
Goel’s appointment is effective from October 30.
This is his second stint with Vedanta as the out-going CFO Sonal Shrivastava quit in five months.
Vedanta said Goel’s return is part of the company’s structured rehiring programme called ‘Gharwapsi’, which was introduced less than two years back.
Goel’s previous stint with Vedanta was as the acting CFO from October 2021 to April this year. In the interim, he served as the CFO at the troubled ed-tech company Byju’s.
Shrivastava, who joined from Holcim, in her letter to Vedanta’s management, cited personal reasons for tendering the resignation.
Vedanta has not had a steady leadership for its finance department since 2021.
GR Arun Kumar quit Vedanta as the CFO in February 2021.
In October of the same year, Goel was appointed CFO in an acting capacity.
Shrivastava’s exit, and Goel’s return to Vedanta took place at a crucial point, where the company announced plans to demerge its businesses. Vedanta has started the process to ultimately list its businesses as six different listed entities.
More immediate than the demerger, Goel will have to also address concern on the debt side and proposed asset monetisation.
Rating agencies have raised concerns over Vedanta and the promoters’ ability to service debt in a timely manner.
Earlier this month, Crisil placed the long-term bank facilities and debt instruments of Vedanta Limited under ‘Rating Watch with Negative Implications’.
The agency said the ratings may also be downgraded if Vedanta is not able to bring down its end-of-year financial leverage to below 2.7 times through the asset monetisation route, which is to be completed by December this year.