K Mahendra Kumar: A Finance Maestro with Variegated Industry Experience

K Mahendra Kumar: A Finance Maestro with Variegated Industry Experience

Einstein once quoted - ‘The only source of knowledge is experience’. This statement stands true even today in the highly competitive world we live in, where diverse workexperiences not just help a professional to learn from his mistakes, but also bestow him with unparalleled success. K Mahendra Kumar, Executive Vice President & CFO, Tube Investments of India (TII), is indeed a true manifestation of the aforementioned quote. Mahendra outshines as a senior finance professional with profound yet diverse experiences in almost all the key areas in finance, including accounting, treasury, marketing & sales finance, profit forecasting & analysis, business planning, corporate taxation, IT finance and much more.

For a span of more than two decades, he has immersed himself in the world of finance across a spectrum of sectors like chemicals, automotive, IT, wind energy and elevators. He believes that handling challenging assignments early in his career and regular job rotations were the two biggest backbones that shaped his career towards the acme. Some of these challenging assignments were managing treasury in an organization that is under financial turmoil and handling taxation in an MNC known for stringent regulatory compliances.

At TII, Mahendra and his team are currently deploying a customized Oracle ERP system, while plunging into automation and simplification to make further improvements. Recollecting his old moments, Mahendra has spokenin great detail about his professional journey along with his current stint at TII, with CEO Insights. Below are the excerpts.

Enlighten us about your journey before joining TII.
Holding certifications like CWA, CA and CIMA (UK), I kick-started my career with Southern Petrochemical Industries Corporation and later on worked with various MNCs like Ford India, Vestas India and Kone Elevator India. It was after holding Finance Director roles at Vestas and Kone, I became the EVP & CFO at TII in the year 2016. During the entire span of my career, I was fortunate to work closely with some of the best senior leaders in the industry from different countries, who edified me the importance of thinking clearly, staying well-organized and
inculcating a mindset of continuous improvement. Their combined insights further helped me in self-improvement, while I strongly believe that the greatest spurt in learning happens only when you are working for the toughest and most demanding bosses.

What gave me immense satisfaction all through my career was developing my team members and providing them regular job rotation for their career growth

Having worked for reputed MNCs along with my current role at TII, a part of Murugappa Group that is known for strong ethical values, are indubitably making my job as a CFO much simpler.

What were some of the crucial milestones in your journey so far?
In my current role at TII, I successfully managed to tighten working capital management, introduce special free cash flow initiatives and enhance profitability, which were my biggest milestones till date. Fortunately, we witnessed a reduction of 23 percent in the net debt during FY 2018-19; thanks to the collective efforts of operations & finance teams under the supervision of S.Vellayan (CEO) and Group’s management. Moreover, today at TII, the free cash flow concept has been imbued even across the lower levels, while everyone understands the importance of small and continuous improvements in working capital.

Also at my previous roles, driving financial improvements at branch level with balance score card, bringing cost reductions, ensuring robust regulatory compliance, and revenue enhancement in a highly competitive automotive industry were some of the vital achievements. Above all, what gave me immense satisfaction all through my career was developing my team members and providing them regular job rotation for their career growth. I’m also extremely content to have had a multi cultural and international team at one of my previous roles.
Throwsome lighton the major initiatives that you undertook across the diverse industries you were part of.
I was involved in developing initiatives for revenue management in the cutthroat car business, margin improvement in wind turbine industry, performance management in elevator industry, and debt reduction, currently at TII. Besides, I had to tackle some of the critical responsibilities independently during the initial phase of my career.

Tell us about your family’s support in your career.
I hail from a family of engineers, basically a non finance world. My wife a scientist, son pursuing B.Tech at IIT and daughter studying class VIII, are all fun loving and create a peaceful ambience at home. Altogether, I’m blessed to have inculcated strong ethical as well as spiritual values from my parents and elder brothers.

What attributes are helping you strike the perfect worklife balance?
A lot of attributes like seamless smart working, effective delegation and prioritization! Besides, I encourage my team members to maintain their own work-life balance. I also ensure to achieve maximum productivity of myself and my team members by simplifying work and focusing on the bigger picture.

Are you engaged in any sort of mentorship programs?
Not formally, but I stay in touch with my ex-team members from other organizations and regularly advise them regarding their career development. I also keep myself abreast of the latest industry trends by tuning in news every day.

Key Management:
K Mahendra Kumar, Executive Vice President & CFO
Mahendra boasts an exceptional financial acumen along with an agile, analytical and innovative mind that is placing him at an unrivalled position in the world of finance.
Most Used Apps:Evernote & Cam Scanner
Hobbies:Gardening at home, planting trees by roadside & organic farming
Favourite Cuisines:South Indian, particularly Andhra
Favourite Travel Destination: Helsinki

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