Abhishek Deshpande

Adviser, Key Commodity Analyst, OMV, Vienna, Austria

Abhishek Deshpande believes in strong but caring leadership. Previously the global head of oil strategy with JP Morgan Chase & Co., he has brought that leadership style to OMV where he is able to mentor his team members and lead by example.

“I enjoy managing a team,” Deshpande said. “I feel energized by teaching new topics, getting work done from team members or leading a project but delegate and give ownership of mini projects to each team member, providing my team members visibility especially in front of senior management.”

Originally from London and Mumbai, he is now based in Vienna, Austria, serving as an adviser and key commodity analyst with OMV.

Background in banking

“I am a chemical engineer by academic background. While pursuing my chemical engineering degree, I completed my undergraduate internship at India’s largest state-owned oil refiner Indian Oil Corp. Ltd. (IOCL). Since then, I knew I wanted to work in the energy industry. During my Ph.D., I had the opportunity to visit Shell’s refinery in the U.K., which further firmed up my determination to work in the oil and gas sector. Although I wanted to work in the oil and gas sector, on a daily basis I wanted a role that was more dynamic and more quantitative research-based. Hence, when the opportunity to help set up an oil and gas research team in  French bank Natixis SA, part of France’s second largest bank BPCE, came up, I was delighted to apply and eventually take up a full-time position as the head of oil and gas research. I spent over 10 years in banking within energy research, which I enjoyed thoroughly, and have recently moved to Austria’s largest oil and gas firm OMV in Vienna as an adviser to the senior management.”

Distinguished accomplishments

“After I graduated from Cambridge with a Ph.D., I wanted to find a job at the crossroads of the banking industry and energy sector. Once I got my first job in banking in 2011, I had set myself a goal to rise up the corporate ladder within 10 years and become an executive director in a leading bank worldwide. Not only did I manage to reach this milestone within seven years but also managed to gain global experience and be recognized as a talented economist in my field of expertise. 

My team at Natixis SA won the best overall commodities research house of the year for two years in a row. I am immensely proud of my team for their hard work but also to all our mainly U.S.-based clients who recommended us for this award presented by Energy Risk, an authority in energy commodities. 

I was awarded energy executive of the year award by Petroleum Economist, a renowned and a global authority in energy research publications. The award itself is one of the international energy industry’s most prestigious awards given in recognition of outstanding leadership by an individual recognizing his or her major contribution to the industry, either regionally or globally. Petroleum Economist later in 2018 also selected me as one of the top 100 Global Energy Elites and top 10 in banking and finance category when I was at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.”

From mentee to mentor

“I have had several mentors, some from inside the job and some from outside. One clear and valuable advice I received from them was to focus on my goal. Winning the final war is more important than the battles in the way. My leadership skills were developed through a mix of mentoring from seniors and stepping up to take roles where leadership was necessary, which required courage and vision. I have always led a team by example, as clichéd it might sound. I kept a flat structure and always valued mentoring and tutoring junior employees. And for that, I took out time from my daily responsibilities to make sure I developed good analysts who would deliver results as expected by senior management.”

Thinking younger

“Today a leader in any sector, but oil and gas in particular, needs to be open-minded, as the next generation of employees are millennials. Their ideas have to be heard, as they will drive energy transformation in the next decade. And to do this, a leader must see above and beyond the skills that were needed in last decade’s job. The oil and gas industry is known for its bureaucracy. Today’s leader must eradicate such hurdles in order to transform an oil and gas firm into a successful energy company with sustainable goals. The current young generation can drive and lead the energy transformation in a sustainable way. The industry must prepare itself technologically and widen its scope sector-wise to different types of energy to thrive in the current energy transition environment.”

Three More Things

  1. I like to run long distances. I have completed two full marathons (London and Berlin) and several J.P. Morgan races.
  2. I enjoy managing a team. I feel energized by teaching new topics, getting work done from team members or leading a project but delegate and give ownership of mini projects to each team member, providing my team members visibility especially in front of senior management.
  3. I have a weakness for ice cream. I can never stop at one serving.