Rajiv Warrier: On A Mission To Impact People's Daily Lives In A Positive Way | CEOInsights Vendor
Rajiv Warrier: On A Mission To Impact People's Daily Lives In A Positive Way

Rajiv Warrier: On A Mission To Impact People's Daily Lives In A Positive Way

  Rajiv Warrier,     CEO - GCC

Rajiv Warrier


Having a supermarket in your locality is bliss because you do not have to spend much time traveling. Currently having an extensive distribution network of supermarkets and store outlets, Choithrams established its first store in UAE in the year 1974. The company is bringing freshness, goodness, and convenience to their customers’ everyday lives. Under the leadership of Rajiv Warrier, the company’s conveniently located stores and unrivaled distribution network have made Choithrams a household name.

Rajiv Warrier has completed his Bachelor of Engineering in Industrial & Production Engineering from Gogte Institute of Technology, Belgaum. He also completed his MBA in Finance from IIM Calcutta and after that, he joined Essar Shipping. Before joining Rediff as the CFO in the year 1998, he worked with SCICI which later merged with ICICI.Currently, he is the CEO at Choithrams for the GCC region and over looking all aspects of retail, distribution, and production at Choithrams. The excitement about the unpredictability of the VUCA world and the opportunities to learn from new experiences and challenges inspire him to keep moving forward.

Rajiv Warrier engages in an exclusive interaction with CEO Insight.

Could you tell me about the unique experiences IIM Calcutta offers? What did you learn from the campus beyond academics?
The experience at IIM Calcutta was a defining moment in my life where I had more learnings outside than in the classroom. The interactions that we had, the games we played, the fun, and the overnight sessions in the common room in the very open and enabling environment at IIM Calcutta with people similar to our peers and colleagues over the next 3 decades provided us with a great learning experience at IIMC.

How would you define Choithrams as an organization and its position in the market?
Choithrams is a leading grocery retailer in UAE, Bahrain, and Qatar
and a leading food FMCG distributor in UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, and Oman. In India, we run hospitals and schools that have positively benefited many lives and touched people’s lives in many ways. In retail, we are known to have a great range of offers on products, imported items, and good customer service in our stores whereas in distribution we sell our products across different channels ranging from modern trade to general trade, cafeterias, pharmacies, petrol pumps, duty-free shops and so on. Choithrams is probably the only player in the market with full-fledged retail and distribution operations under one roof. Amongst grocery chains in the Middle East, we are a pioneer in the online shopping space when we went online in 2016.

As a leader, you must listen to your team, organization, environment, & everything else that is happening around you

Could you tell me about your leadership approach and the guidelines or methodologies you follow to lead a team?
My leadership approach has been consultative and I give importance to communication and transparency at all levels. These factors actually helped me to gain the trust of my colleagues which helped me in forming a great connection with them and their businesses. Also, I am accessible to my team members regardless of their level or position in the company. Our company’s values such as customer centricity, integrity, and meritocracy have been embedded in my leadership approach as well. We do not pay much attention to vertical or horizontal boundaries, we are not hierarchy conscious which helps us access each other without any hindrance.

What are the quality control procedures you have adopted in your organization to deliver highquality products?
To ensure proper quality control and maintain good food hygiene, we have a full-fledged Quality, Health, Safety, and Environment (QHSE) department in UAE and representatives of the department in other countries. Our operations in every store and warehouse are certified under the HACCP food safety certification. External auditors conduct an annual audit to ensure that we comply with the standards of HACCP. Apart from that, we also conduct weekly and monthly internal audits to ensure that the quality is intact and not
compromised for any reason. We have been successful in implementing a food safety culture across all our stores. When customers place their orders online, our picking teams ensure that we deliver fresh vegetables and fruits for a better customer experience.

What has been the success mantra that constantly helps you arrive at positive outcomes? What advice would you like to give to budding industry leaders?
My success mantra is having a fair approach, open, and transparent discussions with all stakeholders, and keeping myself accessible to my team members. Every year we make a business plan by seeking input from every stakeholder and we present the business plan to the Board of the company. We review our operations against the business plan and adjust and revise our forecasts based on markets and company performance. We have a proper performance management system for our employees and a feedback mechanism to help them grow in their professional careers. We keep ourselves abreast with all the recent trends and that helps us to stay ahead of the curve, conduct experiments in the market, and launch new initiatives. We aim to be available to our consumers on a variety of platforms and sales channels so that consumers can access us from anywhere be they our stand-alone supermarkets, community stores, convenience stores at hotels, our online shopping site, marketplace platforms, dark stores, Whatsapp and on call.

The advice that I would like to give budding industry leaders is to improve your listening skills. As a leader, you must listen to your team, organization, environment, and every thing else that is happening around you. Listening gives you great feedback from your stakeholders and a sense of where new opportunities lie. Apart from that, we need to make sure that we carry our teams and that we take care of them because our strength comes from the teams we have.

Rajiv Warrier, CEO-GCC, Choithrams
With a demonstrated experience of over two decades in different industries in various senior level positions, Rajiv Warrier is skilled in business planning, budgeting, launching new initiatives, legal compliance, finance, and account, to name a few.

•Hobbies:Reading, Cooking, Music, and Driving.
•Favorite Cuisine:All kinds but I particularly like Indian and Asian.
•Favorite Book:The Passenger and Stella Maris by Cormac McCarthy.
•Favorite Travel Destination:London

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