The Co-pilot With A Growth Strategy
For Duggal, the vision and purpose of an organisation are not mere words on a mission statement. They are an integral part of his everyday life
One of my mentors said, ‘CFO is a co-pilot with a key responsibility in the business flight’. I believe that finance must enable value creation and ensure safeguards in the entire value chain. The CFO shares the vision and purpose of the organisation, which I have always strived to do,” says Shobinder Duggal. Staying focussed on execution and remaining agile in a dynamic environment, this finance veteran of the company takes great pride in being blessed by a strong team over the years, some of whom are in leading finance roles for Nestlé in India and in other countries.
In terms of value addition, one of the steps taken by Duggal was to ensure that financial controllers in the company are embedded deep into the business, so that they can offer much greater value. “It is imperative to understand the business and the dynamics, while, at the same time, focussing on value drivers. The key is to manage risks effectively, and keep a strong eye on governance and process improvements,” he says.
In terms of creating more wealth for the organisation, Duggal feels it has been demonstrated by the sustained evolution of business and its financials over the years. “For example, in the last 15 years, sales and profits of the organisation have grown almost five times, which has resulted in a consistent return to shareholders over the years.”
While having a distinguished career in the organisation, Duggal has aided his executives to drive the growth strategy from mergers and acquisitions, to geographic expansion and organic growth. “Economies tend to have a cyclical nature, and my role as a CFO is to help the organisation navigate these cycles successfully. I have worked with five different CEOs during my tenure as CFO. By sharing insights of both external and internal environment as well as analytics, I have worked with them in identifying growth opportunities organically.”
As a member of the Board, he has been involved in setting up of robust control and governance processes. “We have adequate internal controls to support speedy and sound business decisions. There is greater awareness on cash flow and a highly ethical culture.”
Talking about the challenges faced in the industry, Duggal says, “Working in an MNC means that some colleague somewhere has already encountered a situation that you are currently facing. Change management, economic ups and downs are challenges everyone encounters in this role. What is the fun of being a co-pilot without challenges?”
As a decision maker, Duggal has always remained open to the unique learning opportunities. “Organisation has excelled due to the collective efforts of everyone involved. I have always strived to drive transparency in figures and discipline in monitoring. I have also empowered and integrated the finance teams at different locations. For example, we have set up a dedicated Shared Service Centre for finance activities.”
On the personal front, Duggal is a family man as he likes to spend as much time as possible with his family, “who have been my pillars of strength in my professional journey,” he smiles.