Every assignment has a different challenge involved. Some assignments have the challenge of building teams; some have that of building strategy; and some have that of managing crisis and building or rebuilding reputation and trust of consumers and stakeholders. I look at a challenge as a mission and not as a job, and firmly believe that every assignment has a facet that energises and encourages one to give their best. It is also important to look at the elements of the value chain of the organisation to gauge how we can be more responsive and efficient.

In this context, my first 100 days as the chairman and managing director of Nestlé India was one of the most enriching experiences of my professional stint. It was like anchoring a ship amid a storm. My first task was to rebuild confidence among stakeholders on the quality and safety of Maggi noodles for bringing it back to the shelves. Challenges and conflicts can be resolved through constant engagement with all stakeholders.

The priority was to rebuild the trust and reputation block-by-block by engaging and communicating with stakeholders transparently and constantly. While the management saw in me the skill set to handle the situation, it was the strength and support of our employees, partners, distributors, suppliers and consumers which saw us through. We also engaged with the regulatory authorities to ensure that our point of view was considered.

We were focussed on bringing the best product in terms of quality and safety for the consumer. Business is about relationships and my focus has always been on ensuring that these relationships are as strong as they can be. We place consumers at the heart of everything. To enable direct consumer-connect, we introduced 24x7 consumer engagement services across every single channel. The consumer’s love for the brand and the strength of brand Maggi helped us bounce back with renewed energy and vigour. I did not have a magic wand, or quick and easy solutions, but I had the support of a sincere, courageous, and committed organisation at all times.

( This article was originally published in the September issue of the magazine.)

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