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7 Questions with Nitinkumar Parekh

helps you in your leadership.



Jonno White

7 Questions with Nitinkumar Parekh

Name: Nitinkumar Parekh

Current title: Chief Financial Officer

Current organisation: Cadila Healthcare Limited

A dedicated professional with 35 years post qualification experience of handling finance/legal/IT/general management functions in large Pharma and Textile groups. A person with excellent managerial and leadership skills. By qualifications I am CA, CFA and MBA from Indian Institute of Management, Ahmadabad, India

7 Questions with Nitinkumar Parekh


1. What have you found most challenging as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise?

Goal congruence across the organisation is found to be an important challenge. The management of the company does give a framework of important organisational goals and expected behaviours but the executives interpret in their own ways their expected thinking and behaviour.

2. How did you become a CEO or executive of a large enterprise? Can you please briefly tell the story?

I did my MBA from India's No.1 management school, Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad before I started my professional career. I worked for 23 years in a Textile group and lasted 12 years till day in a Pharma global group. What has helped me in reaching the position of Group CFO of more than $ 2 billion Corporation can be described in some traits as under: 1. I believe that knowledge, skills and attitude are all important to succeed in a career. At the initial level knowledge carries more importance, at middle level skills become more relevant and as a leader, the attitude becomes the most important trait. 2. Apart from the general description given above, in functions like finance, legal and IT, which I handle constantly, what is happening in the external world and regulatory environment becomes very crucial. 3. At the senior level leadership qualities like coaching and mentoring, interpersonal skills, communication skills and problem solving skills become very important. 4. The last important point is regarding dealing with uncertainty in the VUCA world. One should not lose confidence in one's ability to handle the challenges of uncertainty and consequential risks.

3. How do you structure your work days from waking up to going to sleep?

1. I start from my home for office around 8.30 am and leave from office around 7.30-8.00 pm. 2. A significant part of my time goes for scheduled performance review meetings and meetings with my team members. 3. I spent substantial time working on different assignments at the group level. The same can include growth strategy, M&As, corporate restructuring, cost reduction etc. These are high value, high impact assignments with long term implications for the group. 4. Then I also spend time in keeping myself updated with the external world in terms of reading various magazines, newspapers, articles etc. Networking is also part of my executive life. 5. I spend time for professional pursuits like participation in workshops, seminars, and webinars both in the capacity of speaker and participant.

4. What's the most recent significant leadership lesson you've learned?

The most recent significant leadership lesson learnt is that large projects would have their own time dimension and at times things may not go as intended in terms of time and outcome. So, patience and flexibility are very important for leaders.

5. What's one book that has had a profound impact on your leadership so far? Can you please briefly tell the story of how that book impacted your leadership?

The book "Good to Great" by James Collins has a profound impact on my leadership. When I joined the company, I found that while the company was doing a good job in terms of interest and other costs, there was enormous scope for further reduction in costs with suitable planning. Thus, an approach to the funding mix, balance between short term and long term means of finance and mix of currencies was agreed upon to reduce the interest cost. Again a number of initiatives have been taken for cost reduction and now a zero based approach exercise is being done in the light of pandemic to ensure that the costs which are reduced do not come back.

6. How do you build leadership capacity in a large enterprise?

Building leadership capacity in a large enterprise requires the following: 1. Timely succession planning. 2. Clear roadmap for career progression 3. Building and developing the second line of leaders 4. Coaching and Mentoring 5. Culture of decentralisation and delegation

7. What is one meaningful story that comes to mind from your time as a CEO or executive of a large enterprise so far?

The story relates to acquisition of Kraft Heinz India Private Limited in January 2019 for more than USD 600 mio. This acquisition is an immense opportunity to broaden the group’s wellness portfolio and invest in brands and products that the company believes are most relevant to health conscious consumers. I have played a leadership role in the acquisition of Heinz India Private Limited (HIPL), by our subsidiary company Zydus Wellness Limited (ZWL) in 2019. This acquisition which was for INR 4700 crores has been the largest acquisition in the history of Zydus Cadila group. It is also the largest FMCG acquisition in all cash deals (acquisition of Horlicks brand by Unilever was by issue of shares). HIPL’s business comprises four brands Complan, Glucon D, Nycil and Sampriti Ghee, two large manufacturing facilities in Aligarh and Sitarganj and teams devoted to operations, research, sales, marketing and support. HIPL also has a strong distribution network of over 800 distributors, more than 20,000 wholesalers covering 29 states. For the four brands, HIPL recorded revenues of about Rs. 1150 crores and EBIDTA of approx. Rs. 225 crores in the last 12 months ending 30th June 2018.