Lakshmi - General Manager, Mumbai

Location: Mumbai

Year joined in: 2004

Position joined as: Lead process engineer

Tell us about your career journey at Petrofac

I have worked for Petrofac for more than ten years in a variety of roles.

I joined our Sharjah office in 2004 as the lead process engineer and worked on the Kashagan and Harweel projects.

In 2006 I moved to Mumbai to set up the process department. As the head of the process group in Mumbai I grew the department to more than 90 people.

In 2014 I went to our Delhi office to take on the role of the general manager and since January 2016 I have been the general manager of the Mumbai office.

Lakshmi receiving the 'Woman Executive of the Year' award in December 2019

What does your current role involve?

I manage the Mumbai office operations. We have about 850 employees in Mumbai and the office handles the engineering activities for the projects executed by Petrofac offices world-wide.

This means that I oversee project and engineering functions, including all the engineering disciplines, as well as the support groups, to ensure we complete key projects on schedule, and meet quality and client requirements.

I also set the long and short-term goals for the office and am responsible for the yearly budgets and the implementation of Petrofac policies.

What do you do on a typical day at work?

  • Review performance of the teams on the various projects; typically our office handles five to eight projects and proposals at various stages of execution
  • Interact with the teams in Sharjah / Abu Dhabi for to keep the projects running smoothly
  • Review the allocation of people and their roles in the office
  • Authorise payments to our service providers
  • Walk around the office to get a feel of what’s happening on the ground (this also helps me get some exercise!)

What do you like most about your job?

To see the project take shape as it goes through the various stages, moving from documents, to a 3D model and then to a finished structure gives me pleasure. When I visit sites or see photographs of the plants we have built - knowing that my team has contributed to designing it and has brought it to life is a great feeling.

Also I am particularly happy when I see the young graduates mature over time, and go on to becoming very confident professional engineers.

What are the biggest challenges you face at work?

Since all the projects we execute are large and often have several locations, ensuring we all work together to achieve project goals and objectives is a major challenge.

Keeping our people motivated and engaged so that we retain talented professionals and providing them with development opportunities is a big challenge too.

What is your biggest achievement to date?

I went to our Delhi office in 2014 when Petrofac was awarded the KNPC-MAB1 project. My mandate was to grow the office’s refinery engineering capabilities and this meant hiring people with the right skills. I grew the office from 280 employees to more than 500 within four months and we went on to successfully engineer this project, which was a first for Petrofac in the core refinery sector.

As well as this being new ground for Petrofac, it was a new location for me and I was away from my family. Additionally, most employees were new to Petrofac and needed to be inducted; everything was a challenge. To have managed it successfully gave me a great sense of achievement.

Do you have any career advice?

It’s really important for women to use every opportunity to network and ask for promotions or assignments that have a management focus. Women can achieve whatever they wish for in their careers.

How has Petrofac supported your career development? 

I think the USP of Petrofac is the opportunities it provides people. It is then up to the individual to make use of the opportunity to the best of his/her ability.

The London Business School programmes that Petrofac organises for its senior staff also helped me in visualising my career path and strategy.

Find out more about our Mumbai office.