Sandeep GambhirMD and CEO ‐ Orix

A 1996 batch CA, articled with Price Waterhouse and has worked with large MNCs such as KPMG, Lucent Technologies, Citigroup, Barclays and Orix, over a career spanning 21 years across various functions. Sandeep’s career saw a big shift when he became the CFO for Citi financial at a fairly early stage in his career and then shifted to a business role handling the entire Secured and Unsecured Lending business for Citi financial spread over 452 branches covering 157 locations. Sandeep is a proven turnaround specialist and post a successful turnaround of the Citi financial operations, he moved in as the MD of Barclays Finance, the NBFC arm of Barclays. And then moved to Orix in 2013 as the MD and CEO of the Indian operations. At Orix, Sandeep has been instrumental in transforming the business and operations and has led Orix to become the largest B2B Car Rental player in India, the largest B2B Car Leasing company in India and the 2nd Largest Employee Transportation player in India. He has helped Orix to expand its footprint on the financial services space as well through SME targeted Secured Lending against Property and Commercial Vehicle Financing to ensure that the Financial Service Business has a larger role to play in Orix India operations in the years ahead.

1. What was the mandate given to you by the Board when you took over in your role?

The thought process was very clear and the mandate was to revamp the business operations, assess the existing business lines to analyze their future profitability and scalability, realign the processes and values in line with Orix’s expectations and create a sound platform that helps expand the ORIX footprint in India across various diversified sectors, in line with ORIX’s Global philosophy.

2. How much of that has been achieved? What were the challenges faced?

Today, we are the market leaders in all the operating businesses that we run. We are the Largest B2B Car Rental Player in the country, we are the Largest and the most innovative B2B Car Leasing Player in the country, having grown almost 300% in the last 4 years in terms of new originations. In the Employee Transportation space, we are again one of the largest player in that space having demonstrated in excess of 300% growth in Revenues.

3. What are the key challenges your organization is facing currently? And what are the steps you are taking?

There are new disruptive business models that are emerging and our challenge right now is to keep pace and adapt to this changing environment and at the same time look at opportunities some of these disruptions are offering us, in order to scale up and grow.

4. How How have the changes in technology/globalization/economy affected your sector?

Technology is the name of the game going forward and its clearly leading the way in terms of how business is being done. There was a time when Technology used to be a facilitator, we are now in times where Technology determines your business model and its best one aligns to this reality sooner rather than later.

5. What is your talent strategy? How do you draw the balance between home grown vs lateral hiring at the leadership level?

We have been lucky to have a great Talent Pool within the organisation, we have business leaders and their one downs who are industry veterans, subject matter experts and very well respected by our clients and competition. However the pace at which we have grown over the last few years and because of the new product lines we have added, we have had to add a lot of people at the leadership level.

6. How does your organization identify and develop future leaders?

We follow a blended approach in terms of creating leadership talent to meet our future needs. Its a combination of grooming internal talent as well as hiring from the market where we have internal gaps.

7. In a world full of volatility, Uncertainty, complexity & Ambiguity (VUCA), innovation has become one of the most important factor to transform a crisis into an opportunity. How do you promote Innovation?

We are living in an era where the only this that’s constant is change. And that change is being brought in largely led by technology and new ways to solve old problems.

8. How do you define & practice leadership?

To me, it starts with believing in my team and with a lot of mutual trust and respect. A Leader is not someone who is best at everything, infact he is the one who gets the best out of everyone.

9. How Indian leaders can become Global Leaders?

A lot of factors are working to make this happen. Apart from our emphasis on education which is clearly helping, Indias continued economic growth at a very healthy pace is also an important contributor to the growth of Indian leaders. We operate in complex business environments locally and people are getting that opportunity now to lead organisations through these complex business environments

10. What are the 3 most pivotal moments in your career that you either learned from and/or that got you where you are today?

Over my career spanning 20 years, I have had quite a few pivotal moments that have helped shape my career thus far. The first and probably the most important one was in Citi ie a shift from being a CFO to a Business Head Role.

11. What message would you like to share with young professionals at the start of their career?

At an early stage in your career, don’t plan too much, take it as it comes. Spend time on doing as much as possible in diverse areas, that will help you get clarity on what you really want to do. I meet a lot of people who come with a fixed mindset and get disoriented because the grass is not as green as they thought it would be.