Sanjeev Rastogi, Managing Director, Syngenta Services Pvt. Ltd, believes that one should always walk the talk
Q. Please tell us something about yourself. What have been the key highlights in your career? Any awards/achievements that you would you want to share with us?
In my current role as the Managing Director of Syngenta Services Pvt. Ltd, located in Pune, I have dual responsibility of leading the Global Delivery Center and Finance Operations across APAC and supporting Global Finance operations servicing the whole of the Syngenta organization. I also manage the strategic relationships with outsourced partners, specially F&A.
The GDC Pune is a knowledge center and supports – Business Transformation, Finance Operations, implementing Digital Finance, IT, HR Services, Digital Lab and Strategic Supplier Management.
I have over 28 years of extensive experience in setting up and managing large operations in Shared Services/BPOs areas of Finance, Insurance and Procurement verticals. Before joining Syngenta, I was the Operations Director at Metro Global Business Services where I had set up the backend operations for Metro Cash Carry in Pune. My experience encompasses senior leadership roles at Hewlett Packard, Accenture, Standard Chartered Bank, and American Express. I firmly believe that desire, dedication and discipline are the three important keys to success in whatever you do and as a leader you should always walk the talk and treat everyone the way you want to be treated.
I completed my Bachelor of Commerce (Honors) from Delhi University and hold several professional accounting degrees. I am a Chartered Accountant, Cost Accountant and Company Secretary and have completed my M.Phil. In addition to that, I am a qualified executive coach and currently pursuing PhD from Coimbatore University. I have travelled to numerous prestigious universities across the globe, including INSEAD, IMD and Temple University Japan for various short term trainings.
Q. How digital savvy is your organization? What about you personally?
Digital organization is a broad term and has multiple facets to it. We, in Syngenta, are focusing on multiple avenues when it comes to digital, to leverage and implement new digital technologies and get the job done. We are also working on setting up a digital mindset within the organization. As part of the organization, I’m also a participant in the journey and have been trained on multiple new tools and techniques to cope up with the digital era.
Q. How do you see Analytics and new technology – IoT, Blockchain, Cognitive computing- shaping up the pharma sector in the context of future of work? Do we have enough talent pool in our country for us to become market leaders globally?
All these new digital technology will definitely serve a great role in shaping the future of work. The important point while working with these technologies is that they are industry agnostic. These can work for any industry. We just have to find the right use case and a right technology to work with.
As more and more organizations are driving their digital agenda, there is obviously a scarcity of the right talent. But I am sure, we Indians have the skills and tendency to learn and equip ourselves with all that’s coming next. I am sure we already have the talent pool and can definitely become a market leader globally.
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Q. Do you see India’s rise in EODB (Ease of doing business) index attracting higher FDI in the near-term?
Yes, the current government is keen to get the economy and the GDP growth back on track. FDI over the last 3 years has gone up and with GST and other tax reforms underway, I believe the EODB will definitely go up and India will continue to be a favorite destination for doing business and will attract huge amount of FDI and investments.
Q. While hiring senior leaders in your organization, which competencies, other than domain expertise, do you assess?
Syngenta has a good framework of leadership competencies. Leadership potential is an aspect which is considered for both internal employees as well as while hiring senior leaders from outside. As part of Syngenta Values Leadership Commitment and Learning agility, we have certain questions which have to be answered by senior leaders. Two of those questions are mostly close ended: The senior leader should have a track record of consistent high performance and strong learning curve in the past (recommended benchmark, excelling either in the “how” or the “what” for at least two out of the last three years). He/she should also have the aspiration to be a senior leader (i.e. territory leadership team level or equivalent and above) at Syngenta as well as a strong focus on succeeding and positively impacting others. We also have other important questions on Syngenta Values Leadership Commitment and Learning agility. The senior leader should demonstrate behaviors relating to the leadership commitments of Syngenta, should be able to thrive in the new and challenging assignments and accept it as an opportunity to gain new knowledge or skills. He or she should continuously push oneself out of one’s own comfort zone, proactively seek out feedback and visibly demonstrate self-improvement, ensure a strong focus on the continued development of people around them to drive business performance and challenge openly and directly the status quo to achieve better outcomes.
Q. Would you like to share your a-ha moment as a CEO?
During my journey, there have been a couple of instances when I have felt the vision getting executed in a manner that was the best for the organization and the larger teams. One such moment was the vision of creating a Global Delivery Centre, a state of the art enterprise with the best talent pool in the market, led by dynamic leaders and teams that can drive the vision. Syngenta Pune GDC has been one such a-ha moment for me. We have been consistently working to bring it up to the best in the global standards and so far we have been able to achieve it very successfully. Year 2019 has been a year of sorts with major work processes for Syngenta being insourced in the Pune GDC center; it being the best in terms of talent and capability across the globe. We have grown the GDC center from 150 people to close to 900 people since I joined in February 2016 and that truly has been a A-ha moment.
Q. How would you describe your corporate higher purpose and how do you help your employees share your vision for the company’s role in society?
My corporate purpose is to cater to the world’s growing demand for food and “Bringing plant potential to life”. Our vision is to become the most collaborative and trusted partner in agriculture, leading seeds and CP innovations to enhance the prosperity of farmers wherever they are. We cover these in day long sessions, which is called Syngenta backbone to engrain this in the way our employees work and also connecting employees with growers to understand the issue and co-create solutions using digital.
Q. What personal development goals have you set to keep yourself professionally relevant?
I am pursuing my PHd after finishing my M.Phil in 2016 to stay relevant with current economic challenges. I am also on the board of AEGF, a company formed by Syngenta and Tata Trust to enable growers to become entrepreneurs. In this process, I am trying to learn new technologies and create solutions relevant for small holders in India and also taking new technology to the farms.
Q. What keeps you awake at night?
Actually nothing keeps me awake at night as I have a good team of talented leaders who manage the operations very well. It is always said that as a leader you are as good as a team is. In Syngenta, I have invested and hired the right set of talented leaders from the industry and I have empowered them to manage the operations and that has really helped me to focus on strategy and managing the day to day operations very well. So, in a nutshell, nothing keeps me awake at night.
About Sanjeev Rastogi
Managing Director – Syngenta Services Pvt. Ltd, Pune
Sanjeev Rastogi has more than 28 years of extensive experience in setting up and managing large operations in Shared Services/BPOs areas of finance, insurance and procurement verticals. Before joining Syngenta, he was the Operations Director at Metro Global Business Services where he set up the backend operations for Metro Cash Carry in Pune. Sanjiv is well connected with various industry forums like SSF, NASSCOM, IMA and CII etc. and is a regular speaker at multiple forums.