Umesh Revankar, Shriram Transport Finance Company
I have been lucky I should say to be in an organisation for this long. I joined in 1987 as management trainee and worked in various roles. Initially we were trained in different companies because Shriram group has other companies also and after 6 months came to this business.
After that I have been to different places. Initially I was in Chennai, then Hyderabad, Bangalore, Mangalore and then again to Chennai and then Mumbai.
The biggest challenge in life of overall business for me was, we had 4 different companies initially which had 4 different Chief Executives and then it merged into one and I came in Mumbai to integrate all four companies and I worked as a COO initially and then became the CEO of this company.
So, integrity in these 4 companies may be in work culture and trying to put some standard highlight of my journey. However in the last 4 years as a CEO the challenges were plenty because the environment was not friendly, there would be some change in the norms by the regulators, there was change in norms in associates adhering to norms, but we have been able to make changes as per the requirement and team has remained on with me.
The biggest trend for me is team building and I was able to not only retain old people who were with us for more than 20 years but also lots of younger people. We have a great mix of top management people and people whom we take at grass root levels. We strike balance between them and give better career option to both. Probably we have the lowest attrition levels among the industry and since we are specialized into huge equity financing which is a niche market product, keeping the talent with us becomes more important because you don’t get people easily from outside. You have to initially take them, train them, groom them and give them a career. So to the extent it has become a very successful journey for me. The expectations and the customer loyalty both have been high for us. Many of the customers who have started with being small owner of a vehicle taking the loan for the first time would have diluted into bigger vehicle. But nevertheless they became friendly with us. They keep giving us new customers, suggest a new way of financing and come back to us for some other financing which banks do not give. They have also expanded their business from trucks to passenger vehicles to construction vehicles. So we are not stuck to one particular product. Going forward we feel that we can play a bigger role in overall system of logistics. There are lots of opportunities coming in the logistic operations with GST coming, better roads are being built and people in India are becoming very divert everywhere. So I feel next 5 to 10 years will be very exciting to India as lot of opportunity will come to us to contribute in the economy of India.
What strategies did you use to plan your career progression.?
I kept it simple. I thought i will give my best to the current role and didn’t even think of becoming a CEO. But what probably would have helped me a lot is my ability to build a team. I was always able to build a very good team and find a replacement for me in every role so that would have given me a better chance of growth. I travel 15 days a month.
What fascinates you while travelling?
I travel to understand the local situation, local people behavior and culture. I travel mostly by road, not in train and to the distance obviously by air. That gives you lot of insight about what you should be doing next. The things that can make Shriram Finance different from other companies that we need to plan. Thinking, Planning and Implementing the gaps. We also had a challenge, where our customers got attracted to low rate of interest then we have to give reasons by giving other support and product. Many of the time we were ahead in the market therefore we are leader in the industry. People really fascinate me and I keep them in mind while taking bigger decisions or while trying to implement something. And another thing I indulge into is the local food. I ask them what is the local food. I want to try the local food. People feel that as if you are their man.
Tell us something that is the worst and best part of your job?
The worst part is probably if somebody is not performing consistently well and asking him to do something else. That is a part of filtering from our side also and that we are unable to give a more appropriate job. The best part is the drive of the business and scaling new heights. Enjoying growth of my colleagues and accomplish the company objectives.
What do you do on Sunday?
Family time. Spending time watching movies. Having lunch and dinner together and plan the week ahead