Rajesh Arora: CEO, Business Development, JVs and Adjacencies, GMR Airports

CEO, Business Development, JVs and Adjacencies, GMR Airports

Rajesh Arora has around three decades of experience with a proven track record in the manufacturing and infrastructure sectors. He is presently leading business development activities for the GMR Group’s airport business as chief executive officer (CEO), business development, joint ventures [JVs] and adjacencies, of GMR Airports Limited. GMR Airports is the holding company that oversees the functioning of the group’s airports. These are the Delhi, Hyderabad and Mopa (Goa) international airports in India, and the Cebu and Clark airports in the Philippines.

Arora has been associated with the GMR Group since 2007 and has served in various capacities including chief financial officer (CFO) of GMR Hyderabad International Airport Limited (GHIAL). During his stint as CFO, he was instrumental in tapping both the domestic and international capital markets to raise cost-effective financing to meet various funding requirements of GHIAL and its subsidiaries. He was also involved in the consolidation of stakes in JV undertakings, amalgamation of businesses and streamlining various systems and processes.

He believes that the government opening up the airport sector for private investment has created new opportunities for private players. Besides, the increased interest and entry of new players has also increased competition in the aviation sector. “The trend which was started by the privatisation of the Delhi and Mumbai airports 15 years ago has been followed by the recent wave of privatisation of the Goa and Navi Mumbai airports, and six airports of the Airports Authority of India as well as Jewar airport,” he says.

With a strong aircraft order pipeline, robust consumer demand and significant airport expansion coupled with the focus on development of Tier II and Tier III airports under the Regional Connectivity Scheme, he expects strong growth in the Indian aviation sector. Arora considers it a matter of significant pride that he was able to contribute to the development of Hyderabad airport, the country’s first greenfield airport on a privatepublic partnership basis.

Before working with the GMR Group, Arora was associated with Chambal Fertilizers and Chemicals Limited, where he served for over 17 years in a number of senior positions in the corporate finance, regulatory, mergers and acquisitions and taxation verticals, among others.

Arora is a commerce graduate and a cost accountant by profession. On the personal front, he loves to spend time with his family whenever possible and explore new places in India and abroad.