Last Updated 15 Jun 2020

Characteristics Of A Daring Leadership (Part-II)

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Changing the perception

Being at the helm of affairs from the time Gionee set foot in India, Arvind Vohra has been able to get the company grab a little less than 5% of the country’s market share. Aiming to build a $1 billion company by end of FY 16 he shares more on his leadership style.

“India as a nation was very skeptical towards Chinese products and entering India with a Chinese brand was a risk one had to take. Back in 2013, I took the lead and insisted that Gionee should take the plunge in India because I believed in the brand and knew that India is a potential market one needs to tap. I always had strong faith in the brand and have always believed that it is Gionee that has paved the way for other Chinese brands to follow and make their way to India. I have a different approach to build an effective organization where no one is hesitant in speaking their mind. I believe in an Open Cabin Culture and promote transparency in my organization. The open, start-up culture at Gionee accredits the fact that Gionee has only lost 1 employee so far so the attrition rate is nearly zero,” said Arvind R Vohra, Country CEO & MD, Gionee India.

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Low-Cost Solutions

“My journey at Philips Innovation Campus has always focused on building complete products for India and emerging markets, in addition to developing solutions and products for global markets, across Healthcare and Lifestyle. Now it is pioneering the digital journey at Philips. At Philips Innovation Campus, my key learning has been all problems have a solution and the solution can be found by taking a balcony view to connect the dots differently. Innovating for the emerging markets is always a classic challenge and companies continue to struggle to address this.

A customer demands the best solution for an economical price range and we have to ensure business viability while meeting such a demand! Intensive care units (ICU’s) in hospitals are an important element for providing quality recovery and care. The challenge was to build a product that brought down the cost of critical care significantly without compromising on the quality and reliability of the solution.

To address the requirement our team had to overcome the telecom infrastructure hurdle and successfully brought out the product in less than a year. This was possible through a combination of taking a customer centric approach and through commercial innovation. This solution is today making inroads in to other markets around the globe,” said Srinivas Prasad, CEO-Philips Innovation Campus.

Ahead Of Its Time

Coming from a very diverse background, and taking over the operational reins of a port which was newly inducted was a huge bet and a big dare for him. His skill and competence, however, not only steered the port on the path of development and better governance, but is today giving a tough competition to all the major ports on the east-coast of India.

Sharing one such incident Anil Yendluri, Director & CEO, Krishnapatnam Port says, “When the whole world was looking at coal and iron ore in its traditional forms, we realized that iron ore may be temporary and this was even before the ban of iron ore. We then decided to build heavily on coal imports infrastructure. In this scenario our first decision was to dredge the port to 18 metres draft.

At that time it was a huge cost and many were not ready to put in the money. So there we were the first to bring cape vessels into the country for coal and then we invested heavily on road infrastructure, rail infrastructure because coal requires a lot of evacuation infrastructure in terms of both road and rail. So it was a tough decision and today if you see all the ports in the country are talking about bringing capes and dredging the port to 18.5 metres and investing heavily on evacuation infrastructure.” 

Decisions make or break an Organization

“Before I joined Dr. Oetker India in 2008 there was a small liasoning office operating out of Mumbai and with the help of an importer called “Exim Products” several products from the international baking and dessert mix range were test launched in about 50 outlets in Mumbai. This was a real nightmare as the majority of products were not suitable for the Indian market. Not recipe-wise, neither appli cation-wise nor culturally.

Yes, Indians love to eat cake but baking cakes and cookies is just not enrooted in the Indian culture. And this was the dilemma. All these home baking categories like baking ingredients, baking aids, baking mixes, baking decor and pudding mixes are core business for Dr. Oetker. It was upon me to redefine the India entry strategy for Dr. Oetker.

It was clear that we cannot run an India business based on some baking and dessert mixes. Back in Europe we discussed the option of an acquisition. I shortlisted several acquisitions targets and visited them all. In the end, I convinced the headquarter in Germany to go for Fun Foods Pvt Ltd, which was a small player in processed food based out of Delhi,”  said Oliver Mirza, Managing Director & CEO, Dr. Oetker India.

This article first appeared in the Indian edition of Entrepreneur magazine (May 2016 Issue).

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