Ashish Kumar: Seasoned Financial Strategist &Transformative People Leader | CEOInsights Vendor
Ashish Kumar: Seasoned Financial Strategist &Transformative People Leader

Ashish Kumar: Seasoned Financial Strategist &Transformative People Leader

Ashish Kumar,  CFO

Ashish Kumar


In the past, financial leaders had a simple mission: to maintain financial records, ensure accurate sums, and keep tabs on the cash flow. But as time swept forward, the role underwent a metamorphosis, weaving its influence into every corner of the organization through actionable insights. This evolution propelled financial leaders to be strategic leaders and evolved from a CFO to Chief Performance Officer, Chief Ownership Officer & Chief Agility Officer, thus wearing many hats of the organization.

As economies ebb and flow, businesses now are in need of more than just strategic solutions. They require novel ways to lead their people, to manage and support them in fresh and meaningful ways. And right here, at the juncture of finances, strategies, and people, a CFO takes center stage. Meet Ashish Kumar, the CFO of SPICEJET, who champions such versatile leadership.

This maven is a package of wisdom, read through this interview by CEO Insights with Ashish Kumar and take advantage of his valuable inputs.

What is the motivation that fuels your daily routines?
Through my professional journey of 27 years, a simple mantra has guided me: Meraki (to do something with soul, creativity, or love). Love what you do is the philosophy that has driven my growth, facilitated by encounters with diverse people across various cities, fostering a thirst for learning. My days start with embracing positive challenges and end with accumulating experiences. Success is within and I measure it by overcoming challenges and learning lessons. I see each day as a new learning opportunity, tapping into my four pillars of fitness physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. This holistic approach aids me in managing my role as a CXO, where emotional and behavioral skills are as vital as technical expertise.

A positive attitude shapes my outlook, and I firmly believe that an optimistic mindset shapes one's path. No matter the situation,
solutions are always attainable, while it requires navigation. Planning my days, weeks, months, and years is a practice, monitoring my progress against self-improvement benchmarks, much like an athlete aiming for a personal best every day.Continuous learning is my cornerstone, a sentiment that ignites my enthusiasm each morning.

Waiting has great power! Consistent efforts & patience will bring results at the right time

How would you define SPICEJET as an organization and its position in the market? What is the unique proposition that your organization offer to clients?
SPICEJET is like a tough sailor, navigating through rough waters and emerging stronger. Despite facing challenges like Boeing issues and the pandemic, the airline showed incredible strength. They even turned the situation around by starting cargo operations during lockdowns, which earned them around $280 million in their first year. What's special about SPICEJET is the ability to adapt and stay strong team spirit; each one in the team are tough sailors because even when facing unexpected storms, they stand tall. This unique resilience and teamwork make SPICEJET shine, showing their exceptional character and determination.

SPICEJET stands out with its pioneering role in the regional connectivity scheme and its upcoming expansion into tier three and tier four cities. Our commitment to cost optimization is an ongoing, confidentially rooted practice ingrained in our organizational DNA.

How would you describe your leadership approach?
Humility is the biggest ornament a leader can wear. Titles don't define leaders; actions do. Whether a prime minister, CXO, or team captain, humility matters most. I foster emotional connections with team members, leveraging their strengths, supporting their weaknesses, and inspiring continuous growth. Success and failure both teach invaluable lessons; my role is to ensure no one's demoralized by setbacks. As leaders, we ignite inspiration, foster alignment, and infuse a vibrant, fun, and passionate workplace culture. Encouraging continuous learning, embracing change, and maintaining resilience are vital, regardless of circumstances. Leadership to me means cultivating growth with heart,
head, and unwavering determination. To me 'Leadership is not about being in charge. It is about taking care of those in your charge'.

How did you overcome challenges and what did you learn from them?
Daily challenges are a norm, and I tackle them using a first-principle approach deep diving into root causes to drive my solutions. The pandemic was a big challenge some businesses thrived; others struggled. Amid global hospitality mergers, the pandemic struck, leaving a $100 million bank debt and bridge loan dilemma. We engaged with the government and suggested corrective measures to NITI Ayog. Challenges come big or small, but being part of solutions and daring unconventional approaches is key to conquering them.

What is the future destination you are heading towards?
Regarding my individual future, I'm eager to contribute to the younger generation by sharing my experiences and wisdom. I recently engaged with students at IBS Hyderabad, recognizing the value of guidance in their journey. Through mentoring and coaching, I aim to offer direction to emerging professionals, blending the insights of different generations. As for SPICEJET, we're on a growth trajectory. With fleet expansion underway, we're targeting sustained profitability. Embracing India's economic momentum, we'll focus on travel and tourism's promising prospects. Our commitment to delivering quality services, punctuality, and innovation will remain unwavering, ensuring our continued success in the evolving aviation landscape.

Ashish Kumar, CFO, Spicejet
Ashish carries over 27 years of diverse industry experience in corporate finance, treasury, and strategic decision-making. Formerly the head of corporate finance and treasury at INTERGLOBE Enterprises, he successfully fund raised to the tune of Euro 1 billion and drove hospitality acquisitions across Europe. Prior to that he worked with Tata Value Homes in Mumbai and contributed significantly to Suzlon Infrastructure, Reliance Infrastructure, and Hindustan Petroleum. Holding a myriad of prestigious qualifications, Ashish is an Associate Chartered Accountant (ACA), an Associate Company Secretary (ACS), a Fellow Certified Management Accountant (FCMA), M.Com from Kolkata University & B.Com (Hons) from St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata. These impressive credentials are a testament to his expertise and skill in the financial sector.

Trending Stories