Kaushik Sarkar: A Strategic C-suite Professional with Over Two Decades of Industry Experience in Finance, M&A & Strategy | CEOInsights Vendor
Kaushik Sarkar: A Strategic C-suite Professional with Over Two Decades of Industry Experience in Finance, M&A & Strategy

Kaushik Sarkar: A Strategic C-suite Professional with Over Two Decades of Industry Experience in Finance, M&A & Strategy

  Kaushik Sarkar,   Senior Vice President & Director for Finance & Commercials

Kaushik Sarkar

Senior Vice President & Director for Finance & Commercials

The winds of change are starting to blow more forcefully through the flanks of businesses and industries today, and leaders continue to reimagine their leadership. Possessing a wealth of experience, topping the CCOs'gamut is Kaushik Sarkar, Senior Vice President and Director for Finance and Commercials at Bosch Global Software Technologies (BGSW). Kaushik is dedicated to delivering top-notch commercial and financial business solutions that foster cutting edge growth at Bosch. With a solid foundation in finance, graduating from St. Xavier’s College, Kolkata in 1991 and thereafter finishing Chartered Accountancy, Cost Accountancy, & Masters, his proficiency has contributed significantly to Bosch’s rise as one of the world's leading global technology and services firm. Below is an excerpt of Kaushik’s exclusive interaction with CEO Insights magazine.

Give a brief account of your professional journey
Well, I began my career with Siemens. Exposed to various aspects of business, finance, and operations there, and honing my skills in project management & strategic planning, I had the opportunity to learn and lead roles in various functional departments, managing the commercial and finances of the Factories & Process Automation business. Later, joining Oracle as a Senior Director for Finance, leading their Global Cloud computing business based out of Silicon Valley, I got to work with cross-functional teams and collaborate with professionals from diverse backgrounds. Driven by my passion for innovation and my quest for digital, I then transitioned to Adobe, where I played the leadership role of Senior Director & Head of Finance & Operations for Adobe India, navigating complex technological landscapes.

It was in 2019, I joined Bosch Global Software (BGSW), as the Senior Vice President, CFO & Board Member of the Bosch Global Software Technologies division, along with being the President of the Bosch Software and Digital Solutions Business. My experience with BGSW has been both enriching and rewarding, more so like my initial days at Siemens.

As I reflect on my professional journey, I am grateful for the experiences, challenges, mentorship of great professionals, and achievements that have shaped me into the professional I am today. My greatest strength is my ability to adapt to change and embrace new opportunities, and thriving in dynamic environments. I am excited to continue growing, leveraging my skills and expertise to make a positive impact in the business world.

How has Bosch been consistently maintaining its mark in the market?
Bosch maintains its market leadership position through multiple long-term strategic initiatives, but ‘inventing for life' is the core purpose of our business. This is possible due to our DNA of strong values, focus on quality & reliability, and our commitment to our people backed by strong domain expertise.

Bosch has a global presence with operations in over 60 countries, and it enables us to access diverse markets and benefit from regional growth opportunities. Our extensive network of subsidiaries, joint ventures, and partnerships ensures we can effectively serve customers worldwide. Coupled with our
diversified portfolio spread across automotive, industrial technology, consumer goods, energy, and building technology allows us to capitalize on multiple sectors and mitigate risks associated with individual industries /sectors.

Bosch’s focus on core technology along with seeding for the future has always been a cornerstone for our business. In addition to that, we support social and environmental projects that provide smart and sustainable solutions, which helps Bosch reinforce its market leadership position and align itself with the ever-changing preferences of consumers. Additionally, we have a robust talent capture model, focusing on attracting young talent from the best universities and developing and nurturing them for future strategic roles. These factors help ensure that the software business at Bosch is working at the forefront of cutting edge technology with a strong focus on innovation and is staying amongst the top firms in the industry.

What are the factors you look into when shaping effective corporate growth strategies?
I think foremost, a strategy has to be simple and understood on the ground. It is always good to have a short, medium, and long-term roadmap backed by solid execution plans. An effective growth strategy is the right combination of a market backward portfolio and the right people working within a scalable operating model to deliver customer value. I believe enterprises that correctly match their strategy to competitive circumstances, remain a frontrunner. Winning in uncertain times requires new models of dynamic strategy approach to stay ahead of the curve. I further supplement that by ensuring the team has a startup mindset, thereby fostering a culture of entrepreneurship and executing excellence with a strong focus on people. On a softer note, matching people’s jobs to their passion would accelerate engagement and performance.

How do you ensure the financial health of the company is maintained at all levels amid market fluctuations and regulations?
A strong financial foundation is at the core of any large organization. Data-driven decision-making, and predictive financial modeling supported by a system of tools and an agile team is my mantra.

Striving for excellence and competitiveness prepares you to be resilient and navigate industry fluctuations. As a first in our organization, I have formed a business finance team, which is responsible for critical financial analysis, which assesses the company's financial performance, identifies trends, and spots potential risks by reviewing key financial metrics and KPIs. This helps us to be ahead of the curve and take necessary business decisions at the right time.

Supporting this we have a centralized finance controlling group, which is responsible for effective cash flow management, risk management, compliance, and strategic cost management.

At the base of it all, we have a strong IT backbone bolstering the resilience of the finance teams through innovative solutions (Data Lakes, remote collaboration tools, analytical platforms, and more), that enhance agility and risk management.

Advanced algorithms enable real-time analytics, reporting, and decision-making. We have a cloud-based architecture that optimizes data storage and processing, ensuring a seamless experience.

Also, for our global software and solutions business, we have a diverse portfolio with balanced market penetration helping us to hedge risks in times of fluctuations and demand. The company has a strong focus on profitability, free cash flow, and capital efficiency. Remember, maintaining financial health is an ongoing process.
Tell us about your leadership approach.
I wear 3 different hats, for which I must keep switching between different styles. Today we live in the VUCA world and our leadership has to match the environment to be successful. I believe in situational leadership where I can adjust my style based on the maturity of the organization & people. Leadership is about creating a vision and enabling and motivating people to achieve a common goal. At the core behaviourally, it is about building trust and not authority, networking, and inspiring others to make decisions through self awareness.

Hence, when I’m wearing the CFO hat, I adopt a combination of three styles. First, for cases involving annual planning and demand forecasting, I follow a ‘Democratic leadership’ style and in my experience, I’ve seen this approach foster collaboration, creativity, and a sense of ownership among the team members. For cases around solving unique business problems, I adopt ‘Laissez-Faire leadership’, where I act more as a facilitator, offering support when needed, but largely trust the team's expertise and abilities. Lastly, for instances where we are setting our annual goals, I hold a ‘Transformational leadership’ approach and try and inspire/motivate my team to exceed their own expectations. This fosters high levels of performance and commitment.

When the global software and solutions business is in the mode of market expansion, I adopt more of a Transactional Leadership avatar, where I focus on setting clear expectations, establishing performance targets, and rewarding or disciplining team members based on their performance. There have been instances, where I too have had to roll up my sleeves and fight battles alongside my team and it is these instances which have helped define how I and my team operate in crisis situations.

Well, it's never a dull moment during my day and it's these people's experiences that are the most rewarding!

Where do you see yourself headed in the
upcoming years?

The future of our global software and solutions business is very exciting. The process of digital transformation across different industries is in different stages, which helps us capitalize on opportunities across the spectrum. Our diverse solutions portfolio ranges from creating connected enterprises to factories of the future to healthcare and sustainability solutions which are in high demand currently and are the sunrise sectors of technology today.

What is your anticipation about the market and what would be your advice to budding industry leaders while accessing new opportunities going forward?
The global market is headed toward a future characterized by diversification, technological advancements, and sustainability. Emerging markets will continue to play a crucial role in reshaping the global economic landscape. Companies that embrace innovation and prioritize sustainability will thrive in this VUCA environment.

The global market is headed toward a future characterized by diversification, technological advancements, and sustainability. Emerging markets will continue to play a crucial role in reshaping the global economic landscape. Companies that embrace innovation and prioritize sustainability will thrive in this VUCA environment.

Hence, be the architect of your own passion, surpass the competition, and turn customers into evangelists.

Kaushik Sarkar, Senior Vice President & Director For Finance & Commercial, Bosch
A strategic astute professional with extensive experience of 27+ years working in multi functional, multi-cultural, and fast-paced complex environments

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