A chartered accountant by training, Ben Fraser is currently chief financial officer at Hero Future Energies (HFE), his first professional stint with a team based in India. During his career spanning over two decades, he has worked in the areas of financial discipline and corporate governance across diverse industries. He has worked in various international markets, including Eastern Europe and the Far East.
At HFE, a notable development in 2020 was the creation of a roadmap for digital transformation, Fraser notes. “With everyone working from home, we have managed to move away from some traditional formalities and transitioned to a more automated way of working. Going forward, we must stay flexible and constantly revisit the need to adapt to newer technologies,” he says. Meanwhile, the company is exploring global markets. In fact, Fraser’s most interesting assignment has been the implementation of HFE’s first ground-mounted solar project in Eastern Europe.
According to Fraser, while renewable energy is expected to take massive strides, a few investors have rightly raised concerns regarding delayed payments by utilities for power purchases and the viability of projects won recently through aggressive bidding. “To ensure realisation of the full potential of renewables and make this sector sustainable, industry leaders and the government need to take incremental steps on the regulatory and technology fronts,” says Fraser. He believes that faster implementation of reforms will improve cash flows in the sector. “The sector has recently witnessed the entry of several new players, with access to cheap funds. Industry leaders need to explore the global bond markets and continue to focus on returns and costs, as well as adapt faster to new technologies to stay competitive.”
Fraser’s professional aim is to maintain business profitability, create value for shareholders and develop strategies for growth in countries where HFE is planning to expand. He follows a collaborative approach to management, combining strategic and tactical subject expertise. “At HFE, instead of relying on a single input resource, we involve creative resources across multiple functions, teams and countries, thus creating a meaningful difference in output,” he notes.
For Fraser, working from home has clearly been a bonus. It has allowed him to spend more quality time with his family, which he is enjoying thoroughly.