Atul Sobti: CMD, Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited

CMD, Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited

Atul Sobti can see the first green shoots of recovery in the power sector after a period of slow growth over the past few years. Currently CMD of BHEL, he attributes the upswing to various government efforts such as the Ujwal Discom Assurance Yojana.

Sobti wants BHEL to focus on enhancing the share of the industry in its revenue mix. “We are working on many fronts to enhance our business in the transmission, transportation and defence segments. Solar is another big opportunity. With over three decades of experience and strong manufacturing capabilities, we are placed very competitively in this segment. We are expanding our solar photovoltaic manufacturing capacity to garner a larger share in the market,” he says.

Prior to this, he was director on the BHEL board, heading power and finance. Earlier, he held additional charge as director, engineering, R&D. Besides, he is chairman of the Raichur Power Corporation, a JV of BHEL and Karnataka Power Corporation Limited. Before joining the board in 2013, he was executive director, power, at BHEL in Delhi and held concurrent charge of the Industrial Systems Group. During his 35-year career in BHEL, he has worked in a manufacturing plant at Hyderabad, as well as the Corporate Planning and Development, New Capital Projects, and Project Engineering and Systems Integration divisions at BHEL Hyderabad and Bengaluru, and International Operations.

“I have set three priorities for BHEL. First, enhance the responsiveness to the needs of customers, employees and shareholders. Second, strengthen the existing capabilities and build new sources of competitive advantage. Third, put in place drivers for sustaining long-term growth. I will be working on these three strategic focus areas,” he says. Sobti strongly believes in execution. “In any strategy, the absence of effective execution is the single biggest obstacle to success and the cause of most disappointments, be it dissatisfied customers or disengaged employees.” He works closely with his people, irrespective of hierarchy, so that the actions they take align with BHEL’s strategic direction.

Sobti is a prolific reader. “I catch up on reading while travelling outstation or commuting on Delhi’s busy roads,” he says. “I am also fond of travelling. Work requirements give me an opportunity to visit diverse places: from the most modern cities to the most difficult places.” Working at BHEL, he says, is not just another job; it is contributing to nation building.