We have the pleasure of sharing with you a video that documents an interview with Aditya Sehgal, former COO of Reckitt, a FTSE 20 company and a global leader in hygiene, health and nutrition products, by The Barber Shop with Shantanu, a popular talk show in India.
Between 2008 and 2015, Adi ran Reckitt’s business in China. I have the great pleasure of working with him, Rakesh Kapoor, Reckitt’s CEO at the time, as well as many senior people at Reckitt. When Rakesh became Reckitt’s CEO in 2011, China was a very small market for the company. When he retired in 2019, China became the company’s second largest market.
What made Reckitt so successful in China under Rakesh’s and Adi’s reign? Adi had explained that to me in our dialogue back in January 2022. Attached is our Viewpoint article that covered that conversation.
In this dialogue with Shantanu, Adi shared his view on the economic success of China, Reckitt’s success in China, and what India could learn from China.
In a comment posted on LinkedIn, Rakesh put down the following, “I personally don’t know any Global Indian who understands China like Adi does. Our business in China grew around 20x over 10 years. Beyond the growth, the entire company learnt so much for being a better, stronger company in China.”.
Watching Adi operate in close distance for a long time, I’d put Adi into a very prestigious group of foreign executives who knew intimately how to make things work in China.
Of course, Adi is smart and capable, but lots of many other foreign executives are too. What distinguished Adi (and Rakesh and Reckitt as a whole) is a certain sense of humility, willingness to listen and adapt to the local culture and ways of doing things, while not forgetting about the global ties. Adi was clear on the company’s purpose in China and was persistent with it. He also was a firm believer of win-win and of people.
In our interview, he also mentioned how he thought the realization of the similarities between the Chinese and Indian cultures were also very critical.
I highly recommend this interview for you. It’s quite long - about 2 hours and 10 minutes.
I’d like to thank Adi and Shantanu for approving us to distribute their interview.