Financial Express announced that FE CFO’s Lifetime Achievement Award has been won by JSW Steel’s Group CFO and Joint MD Mr Seshagiri Rao for his outstanding performance over four decades. The fifth edition of the FE CFO Awards would be held on Friday evening in Mumbai. Mr Seshagiri Rao has played the roles of negotiator, strategist and peacemaker and his ability to fight against all odds has found him a seat at the high table. Over a career spanning more than four decades, Mr Seshagiri Rao has been much more than a mere caretaker of balance sheets. He has played the roles of negotiator, strategist and peacemaker and his ability to fight against all odds has found him a seat at the high table.At one time JSW Steel’s debt-equity ratio was 6:1, thanks to a sharp jump in iron ore prices following the ban on mining in Karnataka, forcing the Vijayanagar plant to operate at just 30% of the capacity. Mr Rao says it took all his goodwill with the bankers to get the necessary credit lines to keep the production going. Despite the ups and downs of the steel business, close to 35% of JSW Steel’s growth in the last two decades has been inorganic. No matter how tough the situation, he has closed around 10 acquisitions, including those of SISCOL in 2008 and Bhushan Power & Steel in 2020.Mr Rao has managed to stay slim and trim with a regular regimen of yoga and a brisk morning walk. An agile mind needs an agile body-that’s the lesson he learnt as a young boy when he used to cycle 5 km to school every day in his village Gudem in Andhra Pradesh. His ability to stay calm in difficult times, he never raises his voice, has helped him win over contractors and bankers. Mr Rao recalls the nightmarish situation during the global financial crisis when getting dollar credit to import coal was nearly impossible and how he persuaded banks to help out.Inspired by the late YM Deosthalee, former Croup CFO at Larsen & Toubro, Mohandas Pai, former CFO at Infosvs. and Indra Nooyi, former Pepsi chief, Mr Rao says CFOs must take on additional responsibilities and strive to move up the learning curve. Among his favorite books is Stephen Schwarzman’s What it Takes, but Rao is also drawn to the scriptures. He has been reading Chinmayananda’s commentary on the Gita. At 63, he is clearly in no hurry to hang up his boots. But before he takes on another acquisition, he plans a second honeymoon, a promise he made to his wife some years ago.