Mr Vik Bansal
Vik Bansal (b. 1967) is an Australian global business executive. He is the chief executive officer at the Australian integrated steel manufacturing and recycling company InfraBuild. Prior to that, he was managing director and chief executive officer for Cleanaway Waste Management Ltd., Australia’s largest waste management solutions company.
Bansal has earned international recognition for his work in championing sustainable business models and leading business transformations. During his time as chief executive officer of Cleanaway, the company was awarded the Turnaround Management Association’s “Turnaround of the Year Award” in the large company category.
Bansal was born in Karnal, a small town in northern India. He attended St. Theresa’s Convent School, which he has described as a strict Catholic school that took a no-nonsense approach to teaching and placed an equal level of importance on both academia and sport. According to Bansal, it was through his time playing sports in secondary school that he first learned the importance of team dynamics.
Bansal attended the National Institute of Technology Kurukshetra, graduating with honors in 1987 with a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. After graduating, he worked for three years as a projects engineer for the Indian home appliances company Voltas Limited where he managed building automation and HVAC projects in commercial and industrial applications.
After meeting his wife, who is Australian-Indian, Bansal made the decision to move to Australia and in 1991 was also accepted to attend RMIT University in Melbourne for a master’s degree in computer science. However, he first needed to acquire a post-graduate diploma and enrolled at the Swinburne University of Technology to do so.
Bansal has said that cultural assimilation was one of the biggest challenges he has faced in his lifetime, and was rejected from over 100 positions while looking for a job to support his studies. Calling the time “character-building,” he took every piece of advice given to him at the time, including changing his name from “Vikas” to “Vik” at the suggestion of one recruiter. Eventually landing a job selling advertising space for small suburban newspapers for $85 a week plus commission, Bansal kept the rejection letters he received and has since gone on to acquire some of the companies that had initially denied him employment. He has been known to read these letters out loud as a motivational tool to employees.
After completing his post-graduate degree Bansal decided against pursuing a master’s degree in computer science. Unsure yet of exactly what path he wanted to follow in his career, he began looking for engineering jobs in Australia and was hired by the French manufacturing company Alstom to work within process automation for their subsidiary Endress+Hauser. The role had a sales component, and Bansal has said it was this job that made him realize his passion for business. He enrolled at Deakin University to pursue a master’s degree in business administration, graduating in 1996.
Bansal earned his master of laws degree in enterprise governance from Bond University in 2021.
Bansal began working at Alstrom in 1992, and when the company acquired a new product portfolio that had seen success in Japan but had not been tested in Australian markets yet, Bansal was made responsible for marketing and strategy of the product range servicing multiple segments across Australia and New Zealand. The uncertainty surrounding the category had made many hesitant to take it on, and according to Bansal his boss warned him that even he was unsure of its potential. However, within three and a half years the category became the most profitable product for Alstrom and Bansal was promoted to group marketing manager, making him responsible for strategic marketing and product position of the entire Australian market in 1998.
In 2000, Bansal left Alstrom to become the divisional general manager and executive director for Delta plc, a subsidiary of the Eaton Corporation’s electrical group that had been experiencing difficulties in recent years. In the role, he was responsible for the company’s $50 million automation and electrical distribution business and was also made an executive board member for its UK subsidiary Delta Group. In 2003, he was promoted to managing director and country head for Delta’s Australia and New Zealand region, but just four months later the company was globally acquired by the United States operations of the Eaton Corporation. Bansal has said that many people told him to jump ship because acquisitions could be messy, but he made the decision to remain at the company and help integrate the acquisition for his region. Bansal’s management of the division saw it become the head of Eaton Electrical for the Asia and Pacific region, and in 2005 he was made vice president and general manager for the region. In the role, he aided in the successful completion of the acquisition of Delta & Powerware across Australia and Southeast Asia. He also managed a portfolio of multiple subsidiary companies throughout Australia, New Zealand, Southeast Asia, and India, spanning 22 sales offices and manufacturing sites which employed over 1,000 people between them.
Bansal became the divisional general manager for Steel & Tube, the largest steel distribution and metal processing service in Australia, in 2007. A division of the company OneSteel (now InfraBuild), he oversaw strategic and operational leadership for the division which had a turnover of $528 million and a portfolio of 11 regional business unit P&Ls across the country.
After three years at Steel & Tube, Bansal moved to Omaha, Nebraska in 2010 when he accepted the role of group president for Valmont Industries’ Asia Pacific region. The American manufacturing company was experiencing difficulties with a global product, and brought Bansal in due to his previous successes in creating success for categories. In the role, he oversaw 35 manufacturing sites, 25 sales offices and over 3,000 employees across 14 countries in his region. In 2013 he was made group president/divisional chief executive officer of Valmont’s global infrastructure segment and became responsible for the company’s largest global vertical segment in addition to expanding his scope to 21 countries and over 6,000 employees.
Bansal was made chief operating officer and president of Valmont Industries in 2014. The company had a history of long-serving chief executive officers and in the position he was poised to be next in line for the role. However, upon reflection he realized that he did not desire to make the United States his permanent home, and instead made the decision to search for a position in Australia. After considering multiple offers, he accepted the chief executive officer role at Cleanaway Waste Management in 2015, then known as Transpacific Industries. According to Bansal, the company was the worst-performing of all that he considered and indeed it had experienced high management turnover within the past few years, but he found that in meeting with the people “the core of the company was good.” While he has said that typically one doesn’t make big changes early in a new leadership role, one of his first major decisions for the company was to change the name of its largest brand, Cleanaway to better reflect its transformation to a sustainable waste management organization.
In his time at Cleanaway, Bansal oversaw the work and livelihoods of over 6,000 people, operating in over 250 branches across Australia, and he worked to streamline the company’s operating model and better position it as a waste management company poised for sustainability and a circular economy. He introduced a massive strategy known as Footprint 2025, a plan to invest in technology and facilities to drive resource recovery in Australia. During his time with the company, revenue increased by 10 percent per year, net profit by 23.3 percent, and return on capital went from 3.7 percent to 5.5 percent. When he began his time at Cleanaway market cap was at less than $1 billion, and by the time he left in 2021 it reached over $5 million, moving 120 places and going from an ASX 200 company to an ASX 100 company.
Bansal is currently the group chief executive officer and managing director of InfraBuild. Returning to the company after previously working for it under Steel & Tube, since taking on the role he has worked to promote the company’s sustainable steel practices and build infrastructure for the largest integrated steel manufacturer in the country.
Bansal has also held a number of non-executive board member positions throughout his career for companies including the Australian Steel Institute, the National Association of Manufacturers, Disability Services Australia, and the Waste Management and Resource Recovery Association of Australia. He has been a member of the board and chairman’s advisory panel for the Great Barrier Reef Foundation, and was a non-executive director and founding board member of the National Waste and Recycling Industry council, whose mission is to act as the industry’s national policy-setting body and core activity is to proactively engage with all of the industry’s key stakeholders to promote solution for the legislative and regulatory challenges in the sector.
Bansal is based in Sydney, where he resides with his wife and daughter.