And as the old adage goes, “Change is the only constant in the world.” Time changes everything around us, but what makes a winner out of each one of us depends on how we adapt to the change, learn from it and evolve with it.
Vikash Sureka, CFO, IBS Software Private Limited, is someone who has evolved with time, facing the challenges thrown in front of him with focus and determination. And that makes him an unconventional, yet successful leader of today.
Born and brought up in Bangalore, Vikash was a happy-go-lucky teenager, mostly on the road riding his fully modified 100cc Yamaha. All that seemed important was to have a plan for the day, finalized each morning. Sudden death of his father compelled Vikash to start early on his career to support his family. At the age of 16, he joined a small firm in Bangalore as an assistant to a typist. “This was perhaps the most defining moment for me. I realised the importance of hard work and the need to respect each and every aspect of a professional work environment.” says Vikash.
Soon after, Vikash started working as an articled clerk with S.B. Billimoria & Co. and completed his Chartered Accountancy. Later he moved to Wipro Limited where he spent a decade working across various functions and businesses which ultimately uplifted Vikash’s career to the next level. After working for a few years with Wipro, Vikash joined AppLabs (in the UK) as their global CFO.
AppLabs (later acquired by CSC), introduced Vikash to the real concept of management. He shares his experiences and says, “The exposure to a variety of stakeholders, taught me the value of positioning and articulating the corporate story. Subsequently I returned to India to join IBS as its CFO.”
Memorable moments that marked Vikash’s life
There are personal moments in everyone’s life, ones that make you swell with pride every time you think about it, another that makes you emotional and apprehensive of your decision yet that makes a good learning for you, and a few that makes life worth looking forward to and living.
Vikash had his share of such moments as well. When he completed his Chartered Accountancy and made his mother proud. Vikash also recalls his daughter doubling his pride of being a father, “My elder daughter at a young age and on her own accord, took up charity and did her first ever bake sale in our community. The feeling of achievement in her was truly remarkable for me and indeed a proud moment seeing her work towards helping others.”
For Vikash, the winning moment as a leader was when one of his team members told him – “Your trust and confidence is sufficient for me to take on new responsibilities and I know I will be super successful.” Containing his excitement Vikash said, “All I had done was to listen to the individual, encouraged and told that it’s OK to fail as long as you have tried – this taught me the power of empathy.”
Vikash had to close down a development centre in the north of England, due to certain business reasons. What then appeared to be a simple and easy decision sitting in the Board room, turned out to be an exhausting experience on the ground for him. “I had completely underestimated the disruption in people’s lives and other complexities. This was indeed an emotionally draining, yet a learning experience for me,” he said.
Failure was never a deterrent for Vikash to take up challenges. There had been many instances in the past, but the one on top of the mind that he quipped with was the one at IBS when he was very new to IBS. The Board Meeting was set and Vikash was marked a copy on the invite as an optional attendee. He not only decided to be part of the meeting but to the surprise of everyone on the board, defended the company’s performance, despite the risk of failing amidst a strong Board.
About the Company – IBS Software
IBS Software is a leading provider of new generation IT solutions to the global Travel, Transportation and Logistics (TTL) industry. Founded in 1997, IBS is today a multinational corporation employing over 3000 professionals from 20 different nationalities spread across Americas, Europe, Middle East, Japan, Australia and India. IBS’ software products and customized solutions today manage the mission-critical operations of some of the largest airlines, busiest airports, major oil and gas companies, luxurious cruise lines, top hotel groups and tour operators world-wide.
IBS currently owns the IP rights to 17 software products in the areas of airline passenger services, airline & airport operations, airline cargo & logistics, oil & gas logistics, travel & cruise management, hospitality distribution and ocean & surface transportation. IBS also offers bespoke software services in these business domains. IBS has 3 Data Centres for SaaS operations, in Ashburn, Sydney & Tokyo.
Under Vikash’s guidance, the Company on-boarded Blackstone (the world’s largest private equity player) as a strategic investor in the Company.
The Leader’s Speech to the Budding Entrepreneurs
“It’s a cliché to say ‘if you aren’t changing, you aren’t growing’. In a highly connected and digital world the pace of change is very fast. The rapid changes are caused by emergence of newer technology, access to better information, changing global regulation, changes in government and alliances, etc. and the businesses have to constantly reinvent themselves amidst the chaos and adapt to the change. An organization that is constantly evolving along with its ecosystem significantly improves its longevity, market position and has a better chance at attracting talent.”