Understanding the larger picture

It is going to be busy times for Dhiren Mathur, ITER’s new Internal Auditor, who arrived from India only two weeks ago to succeed Sandy Holt who returned to the US at the end of last year. Talking to all of ITER’s Departments and Directorates to learn about the project—how functions work and interact, what the procedures are, and also to understand the issues—is going to take all of his time in the weeks to come.

Because auditing is not just about checking that the figures match, but also about organizational performance, procurements and contracts, and understanding technical needs and expectations.

And understanding the larger picture of the way in which an organization functions is what Dhiren has a long experience in. A mechanical and mechanical design engineer by training along with other auditing qualifications, he has spent a number of years in the engineering consultancy companies of India and with overseas multinationals in the gas/oil and nuclear industries.

About 20 years ago he joined the Indian Audit & Accounts Department under the Comptroller and Auditor General of India; in this capacity he audited multiple projects and organizations both inside as well as outside India, among them the FAO (Rome), UNICC (Geneva), WHO-TDR (Geneva) and other audit assignments in more than ten countries.

When the opportunity arose to join ITER, Dhiren did not hesitate a moment and took a sabbatical from the Indian Auditing Department. „ITER is such a unique project, built by so many different countries and breaking all known technology barriers to demonstrate to the world that fusion is a viable energy source,” he says. „Being part of something so complex, something that has never been done before, is a challenge that I would not have wanted to miss.”

The key missions of Dhiren at ITER concern the cost and schedule: ensuring that effective cost containment measures are in place for the project to remain on track, reinforcing controls, implementing measures against cost slippage, assessing procurement and contract processes and timeliness of payment, but also carrying out independent auditing and management reviews in other areas. 

He will perform a 2013 risk assessment for the ITER Organization in relation to the ITER audit charter with an aim to further align the work of internal audit with ITER business goals and objectives.

This very busy agenda will not leave much spare time to Dhiren, whose family will not be moving to France just yet. But whenever he gets the chance, he plans to be on the seaside practicing his favourite water sports and adding a couple of new words each day to his school French.