Get to know : Niranjan Gidwani, Deputy CEO, Eros Group

Eros Group recently promoted its senior VP, Niranjan Gidwani, to the position of deputy CEO. As he begins the task of settling into his new role, we grilled him on his challenges, mistakes and achievements.

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Get to know : Niranjan Gidwani, Deputy CEO, Eros Group
By  Andrew Seymour Published  September 14, 2010

What’s your career history in the industry to date?

I am a mechanical engineer with an MBA by background. I started working in an engineering MNC in Mumbai, then shifted to HSBC, moved to a division of Xerox in India, and then I joined a large transnational group in Hong Kong. From there I was transferred to Dubai in early 1992. I have had exposure to handling a dozen global brands in consumer electronics, appliances, photo products and FMCG, and the experience of handling 40-plus countries.

What is the biggest mistake you have ever made?

There are two mistakes I have made in the past. The first is allowing costs to progressively rise without being able to increase margins. And the second is being lax in terms of giving credit. I believe the majority of companies have failed because of these two mistakes.

What would you improve about the channel?

Besides improving operational efficiencies, which is an ongoing exercise, I would focus on raising the bar in terms of quality of commitments, and in terms of our group genuinely walking the talk.

What product should the channel look out for this year?

The new range of notebooks based on Intel’s new processor architecture, coupled with Windows 7, will offer consumers a media-rich computing experience. Tablets or Pads will begin to flow from various vendors, creating new sales opportunities.

What is your proudest career moment to date?

My proudest career achievement has been, along with my team and my group CEO, driving between 15% to 35% year-on-year growth for the past four consecutive years, despite the global meltdown. I also feel proud to be associated with a group which is slowly but surely picking up more and more brands for quality distribution.
Additionally, I have built an OEM brand from ground zero upwards and taken it to over 40 markets on a shoestring budget. That has been a herculean task.

Which company, other than your own, do you most admire?

As a brand, I greatly admire Samsung because of their grit, determination and drive, and Apple because of the manner in which every product launch is a huge success. In the distribution space, my most admired group in the region is Al Ghanim of Kuwait. I admire any company that follows and implements good HR practices.

What is the biggest challenge facing the Middle East channel?

My personal view is that the two biggest challenges facing the technology channel are giving unfettered credits and still running a business on a very old distribution model where volumes are just dumped at ridiculously low margins and an eye is only kept on the top line.

What sort of interests do you have outside of work?

I am an avid reader, and read motivational books, fiction novels and good management literature. I am very fond of good music. I keep myself reasonably fit by going for long, brisk walks thrice a week, going to the gym once a week, and doing a bit of deep breathing and meditation. I love to travel and to try different kinds of cuisines.

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