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We Try to Grow Our Businesses Systemically: Sumit Khadria, CFO, EbixCash India

Leadership structure at EbixCash has put a premium on people and business empowerment, says Sumit Khadria, CFO, EbixCash India

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The crisis year brought unique leadership styles to the fore. What changed on this front at EbixCash?
I would agree that as an organisation, we too saw change in leadership styles but eventually, it all came down to our linear structure that was empowering our leaders to in turn galvanise our businesses. Ours is a lean organisation and we have a flat structure. The leadership team is enabled to take necessary and timely calls, which work in the best interest of their businesses. The top leadership support this. This is now a prominent trait of our structure and it helps us in managing a diverse organisation.
More specific to your role, and given the different verticals, what are perhaps some of the challenges that you face? 
For every business unit, we have a financial controller that looks after the day-to-day operational finance management. Every decision at EbixCash has digital audit trails as we are essentially a paperless company. We also have a centralised corporate structure over that, which has a broader overview. In essence, this is a hybrid structure that brings the benefits of both operations and the scientific perspective. This helps us in keeping an eye on the overall growth of the company, and ensure that if one unit or element faces any challenges, other business units can support it systemically, benefitting all. This has allowed us to grow as well. As an organisation, in the last three years, we have grown nearly 60-70 per cent on a compounded annual basis. Had it not been the pandemic, that adversely impacted the travel and forex business, we would have done even better.
EbixCash is making a case for its growth coming from its people strategy and its diversified leadership. The crisis year would have led to changes in your teams. How have things changed in that aspect now? 
We, like most other companies in this sector, had to experience layoffs but at the same time, the overall number of people in the company increased because of the organic growth in many of our businesses in the past year. We are already at 11,000 people. As a group, we increased in terms of employee headcount but due to Covid-triggered optimisation, redundancies were also part of the process. We also increased investments in some areas like research and development to stay ahead of the competition.
Please do share more on the investments you just mentioned, whether in R&D or other areas like technology, for example…
These investments are part of an ongoing process. Each business unit has a budget that is allocated towards centralised product development. Continuous product improvement, which happens based on customer feedback, is supported by a larger process to digitise everything. Hence, we are also working on continuously improving customer experiences. Apart from a central team, there are teams across business units that work in sync to undertake strategic projects around product development.

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Magazine 28 Dec 2021 Sumit Khadria EbixCash India