Vedanta Resources appoints former Anglo Gold Ashanti CEO, indicating African interest
Multinational metals and mining company Vedanta Resources Plc has appointed its new CEO – current AngloGold Ashanti CEO Srinivasan Venkatakrishnan (Venkat).
Venkat has been CEO of Johannesberg-based AngloGold Ashanti for five years, and has spent much of his working life in Africa. This will be the first Vedanta CEO to have been based in Africa, and according to Bloomberg the appointment “points to the growing importance of the Indian group’s investments on the continent, where its assets include Zambian copper and South African zinc”.
- Africa’s richest man picks up $1.5bn investment plans for Zimbabwe
- Hyatt will double number of hotels in Africa by 2020
- Business Chief, Africa edition – read the April issue here!
- Johannesberg – an untapped retail hub
Vedanta is a multinational metals and mining company chaired by Anil Agarwal. Speaking about the appointment, Agarwal said: “We have gone through a very thorough search process and are delighted to invite Venkat to join Vedanta in the position of CEO. Venkat is a widely respected business leader in the global resources space, who brings Vedanta an impressive set of values and a wealth of experience on corporate and other roles in the UK, Africa, Australia, South America and India.” He also pointed to Venkat’s vast experience in Africa as a benefit.
Looking forward to his new role, Venkat said: “My initial focus will be to ensure continued operational excellence, efficient cost management and capital discipline across the portfolio, while continuing to drive improvements to the overall sustainability performance of the business, thereby creating long-term value for stakeholders.”
Venkat, who was born and educated in India, worked as CFO of Ashanti Goldfields Ltd before its merger with AngloGold. His appointment ends a year-long search for Vedanta’s new CEO.
According to Bloomberg, Agarwal recently described Africa as “tomorrow’s rising sun”.
Venkat spent 18 years with AngloGold and will assume his new role in August. His current employer’s chairman, Sipho Pityana said: “I offer my heartfelt thanks to Venkat for his exceptional contribution over almost two decades, and in particular the last five years at the help. He has embedded a culture of consistency and accountability in the business, and has created the ability for the company to thrice in a range of market conditions.”
He added: “Venkat has led by example, always displaying the highest standard of ethical and empathetic leadership in creating the enabling atmosphere for our efforts to improve safety, environmental stewardship and the overall sustainability of our business. He leaves behind a very strong foundation for us to take the company forward. We wish him the very best in his new endeavour.
5 minutes with... Janthana Kaenprakhamroy, CEO, Tapoly
Founder and CEO of award-winning insurtech firm Tapoly, Janthana Kaenprakhamroy heads up Europe’s first on-demand insurance platform for the gig economy, winning industry awards, innovating in the digital insurance space, and leading with inclusivity.
Here, Business Chief talks to Janthana about her leadership style and skills.
What do you do, in a nutshell?
I’m founder and CEO of Tapoly, a digital MGA providing a full stack of commercial lines insurance specifically for SMEs and freelancers, as well as a SaaS solution to connect insurers with their distribution partners. We build bespoke, end-to-end platforms encompassing the whole customer journey, but can also integrate our APIs within existing systems. We were proud to win Insurance Provider of the Year at the British Small Business Awards 2018 and receive silver in the Insurtech category at the Efma & Accenture Innovation in Insurance Awards 2019.
How would you describe your leadership style?
I try to be as inclusive a leader as possible. I’m committed to creating space for everyone to shine. Many of the roles at Tapoly are performed by women and I speak at industry events to encourage more people to get involved in insurance/insurtech. Similarly, I always try to maintain a growth mindset. I think it’s important to retain values to support learning and development, like reliability, working hard and punctuality.
What’s the best leadership advice you’ve received?
Build your network and seek advice. As a leader, you need smart people around you to help you grow your business. It’s not about personally being the best, but being able to find resources and get help where needed.
How do you see leadership changing in a COVID world?
I think the pandemic has proven the importance of inclusive leadership so that everyone feels supported and valued. It’s also shown the importance of being flexible as a leader. We’ve had to remain adaptable to continue delivering high levels of customer service. This flexibility has also been important when supporting employees as everyone has had individual pressures to deal with during this time. Leaders should continue to embed this flexibility within their organisations moving forward.
They say ‘from every crisis comes opportunity’, what opportunities do you see?
The past year has been challenging, but it has also proven the importance of digital transformation in insurance. When working from home was required, it was much harder for insurers to adjust who had not embedded technology within their operating processes because they did not have data stored in the cloud and it caused communication delays with concerned customers at a time when this communication should have been a priority, which ultimately impacts the level of customer satisfaction. This demonstrates the importance of what we are trying to achieve at Tapoly in driving digitalisation in insurance and making communication between insurers and distribution partners seamless.
What advice would you give to your younger self just starting out in the industry?
Start sooner, don’t be afraid to take (calculated) risks and make sure you raise enough money to get you through the initial seed stage.