Ashish Khanna is currently serving as the managing director (MD) and chief executive officer (CEO) of Tata Power Solar, and president, renewables, Tata Power. He has over 30 years of industry experience with a focus on project management and contracts.
One of his first jobs was with Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited. Subsequently, he joined Punj Lloyd and then Engineers India. He went on to work for Bechtel in the US but after a few years, returned to India. After joining Tata Power in 2007, he worked as head of contracts and procurement at Tata Power’s $4.25 billion, 4,000 MW Mundra ultra mega power project for two years.
Under Khanna’s leadership, Tata Power Solar, the country’s largest integrated solar company, has emerged as the number one rooftop player and among the top in utility-scale solar projects, solar agricultural pumps and the engineering, procurement and construction business. He has been instrumental in streamlining the business for increased efficiency and profitability by focusing on state-of-the-art technology and engineering, and strengthening customer and employee satisfaction. One of Khanna’s most satisfying achievements was turning the company around and more than doubling its revenue.
For Khanna, it is a matter of passionate concern that the current opportunities to invest in renewables must be seized with both hands. He believes that in a country as price-sensitive as India, quality will be compromised if prices are reduced beyond a certain point. And quality, he feels, is crucial, which is why the industry should learn from what happened with fossil fuels when reforms were not conceived of properly.
Khanna makes sure the communication with his staff is two-way. He holds informal meetings with them. For one hour every Friday, anyone can speak to him. This, he feels, creates a connection and provides space for non-work-related conversations about what is on people’s minds and how their families are doing.
He has an engineering degree from the Delhi College of Engineering and a master’s in management and systems from Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi. Home is in Mumbai’s Cuffe Parade. For relaxation, he meditates and walks in the mornings to enjoy nature. By the time he reaches the office every morning, he is ready to take on the two or three biggest tasks of the day. On weekends, he plays badminton and spends time with his wife, Prabha, and their 14-year-old daughter Saiesha.