SuperChat with SuperCFO – Sandeep Kumar Sarawgi

This week on SuperChat with SuperCFO, we are delighted to present a tete a tete with Sandeep Kumar Sarawgi, who is the Chief Finance and Risk Officer at Antwerp Diamond Bank N V, Mumbai Branch. Winner of the first CFONEXT100 Award for 2012. This is an annual award conducted by the prestigious CFO Institute of India to recognise leaders in the field of finance and accounts.

In this freewheeling SuperChat Sandeep sheds light on his personal facet; his likes and dislikes, his role model, who inspired him to be where he is today and many more such interesting trivia.

For more on the SuperChat with our SuperCFO, Sandeep, please read on……

Education: Fellow Chartered Accountant (FCA); Bachelor of Commerce (B.Com.)

Companies worked with: In his 21 plus years career, Sandeep has been associated in senior leadership roles with various companies including Antwerp Diamond Bank N.V., ICICI Bank Limited, Bombay Stock Exchange Limited, E-City Ventures (Fun Republic), Intelenet Global Services Limited (now called Serco Global), IDBI Bank Limited, ICICI Securities / ICICI Securities Primary Dealership Limited and Arthur Andersen & Co.

SuperCFO: What particular skills or talents are most essential to be effective in your job apart from formal training?

Sandeep Kumar Sarawgi:

Ability to read situations, communication, handling pressure, planning and execution, people management.

SuperCFO: Who is your role model and why?

Sandeep Kumar Sarawgi:

Gautam Buddha – the way he forgave self interest and gave his life for the good of others.

SuperCFO: What has been your biggest achievement professionally?

Sandeep Kumar Sarawgi:

1. Ability to interact with top management through various corporate lifecycles of start ups, expansion, transformation, consolidation and shareholding changes.

2. Have successfully managed various corporate avatars: standalone companies, joint ventures, subsidiaries, associates, Trust structures, SPVs, AOPs, branch of a foreign company etc.

SuperCFO: Who are the 3 Corporate Honchos you admire a lot and why?

Sandeep Kumar Sarawgi:

1. Azim Premji: for his philanthrophy.

2. Ratan Tata: for sticking to retiring himself.

3. Steve Jobs: for being foolish and hungry.

SuperCFO: Which are the 3 companies you admire a lot and why?

Sandeep Kumar Sarawgi:

1. Apple – for reinventing itself.

2. Air Asia – for employee focused leadership.

3. Mercedes – for sustainability of brand through such a large geography in the world.

SuperCFO: Assume that you are indulging in role play. If you were given the position of the Finance Minister of your country, what would your top priority agenda items be?

Sandeep Kumar Sarawgi:

Increase the direct income tax base, which is pathetically low: there can’t be only 42,000 assesses with over Rs.1 crore of income. As head of the tax administration, to have a fair tax system, is a primary responsibility. Also, tackling black money economy.

SuperCFO: What would you advise aspiring CFOs on dos and don’ts to become a successful CFO?

Sandeep Kumar Sarawgi:

Do’s: Always have a long term and a macro outlook. Focus only on short term goals may lead to compromising situations.
Dont’s: CFOs should be principles and value based and should be able to challenge – people rely on them for the monetary results – don’t let them down.

SuperCFO: What are your 3 “Must Ask” questions in an interview?

Sandeep Kumar Sarawgi:

1. What is your career outlook?

2. How would you handle a particular situation?

3. Why are you looking for a change and why do you think that this is a good match for both?

SuperCFO: Which is one accounting software that has impressed you and why?

Sandeep Kumar Sarawgi:

SAP – it constantly upgrades itself to handle ERP data and information challenges.

SuperCFO: How do you manage talent within your team?

Sandeep Kumar Sarawgi:

By being honest, transparent and straight forward. I hate politics and dislike who cut others throats to move forward.

SuperCFO: Are you a gizmo freak? What is your favorite gadget?

Sandeep Kumar Sarawgi:

Not much – am a practical, need based person. I don’t make the gadgets into status carriers.

SuperCFO: What is your favorite piece of literature?

Sandeep Kumar Sarawgi:

Ghazals – I like the depth of thought expressed in few verses.

SuperCFO: Any sport that you are passionate about?

Sandeep Kumar Sarawgi:

Cricket – but due to the commercial aspects spoiling the game, I have become a diluted diehard fan.

SuperCFO: Describe some of the activities that you undertake to de stress yourself?

Sandeep Kumar Sarawgi:

Watching movies, listening to music and to top it all, spending quality time with my young daughter.

SuperCFO: What has been your favorite vacation destination and why?

Sandeep Kumar Sarawgi:

Switzerland – it is post card, picture perfect.


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