Mukesh Ambani-led conglomerate Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), India’s largest private sector company and second largest in terms of market valuation, has roped in a leading British national to head its refinery division. The world’s largest refining complex run by Reliance Industries will now be headed by Tony Fountain, ex-chief executive of the Britain’s Nuclear Decommissioning Authority and one of UK’s highest paid civil servants.
As the new CEO of Reliance’s flagship business, Tony Fountain’s primary objective, as speculated, will be to shore up RIL’s refining capabilities and improve refining margins which have been gradually contracting since the last few years. Additionally, the new CEO, within his sphere of power, will be expected to empower RIL’s business heads, bring on-board new and diverse global talent and create a more agile and responsive structure to deliver better value at every level of refining operations. PMS Prasad, who previously headed Reliance’s refining division, will continue to hold his position as the oil and gas refinery head at Reliance, however day-to-matters related to the functioning and operations of the division will be the onus of Tony Fountain from now on.
Tony Fountain comes from a heavyweight corporate background and has held many significant positions at leading global organisations. He is an Oxford graduated economist and has served more than 25 years at British Petroleum (BP Plc.). He held the Group responsibility for BP's Strategy, Planning and Performance Management, following which he took over the role of the chief operating officer of BP's Fuels Value Chains business, responsible for the strategic and operational leadership of BP's integrated businesses in the Eastern Hemisphere. He was also the president of BP's North American power unit. He moved on to join Nuclear Decommissioning Authority, the taxpayer-funded body responsible for dealing with Britain's estimated £73 billion radioactive decommissioning and clean-up of 19 civil public sector nuclear sites, as its chief executive in 2009.
Taking the reins of one of the world’s largest refining operations facility, Tony Fountain is expected to optimize Reliance’s efforts and improve its output producing capabilities. At present, Reliance’s refining business is bigger than most listed operators in India. Its Jamnagar complex is one of the world’s largest with refining capacity of 27 million tonnes per annum (540,000 barrels per day) and one of worlds the highest refining complexities in the world, standing at a mark 14.0.