Anupam Ahuja: Transcending Norms
SVP- Strategic Services
Aproficient leader is an important aspect of the success of an organization and the most significant function of management in maximizing efficiency and achieving organizational goals. Great leaders can inspire people, help others see and believe in a goal, and drive organizational innovation. Anupam Ahuja is one such strong corporate leader who has been instrumental in taking several organizations towards great prospects. Anupam prospects.
Anupam Ahuja boasts over two and half decades of industry experience, having held prominent roles in Marketing Communications, Human Resources and Strategic Change Management in various industrial verticals and service sectors. Currently, Anupam Ahuja is heading Global Marketing Communications, Human Resources and Sustainability for AG&P Group as SVP, Strategic Services & Special Projects. In an exclusive interview with Women Entrepreneur Magazine, Anupam Ahuja enlightens us about herself and her role at AG&P Group.
Take us through your early educational journey and prior industry experience that you bring to the table.
I majored in Economics (Honors) at Delhi University. On the professional front, I began my career as a Research Associate at Industrial Development Services, a premier consulting firm in India specializing in project identification, business research, and techno-economic feasibility reports (TEFRs) for the steel, petrochemical, and oil and gas industries.
Following that, I worked for the McKinsey’s India Venture 2000 project as Program Executive, where I was responsible for coordinating and bringing together angel investors and enterprising individuals on a specially developed McKinsey virtual platform to assist in the selection of the business ideas for seed funding.
Subsequently, I moved on to Text 100 India, a marketing and public relations company headquartered in New York, where in my role as Senior Account Manager, I developed and directed overall marketing communications strategy for blue-chip clients, including Cisco Systems, Microsoft, AMD, SAS, Network Associates, McKinsey & Co. among others, and was a recipient of several client and company awards. Thereafter, I moved to New York as Vice President, Marketing & Communications of a fast-growing professional support services firm, OfficeTiger, that was co-founded by Joseph Sigelman (Joe) and Randy Altschuler, ex-investment bankers from Goldman Sachs and Blackstone
Responsible for designing and executing OfficeTiger’s overall marketing strategy, I was able to build a brand equity that facilitated a $52 million investment by Francisco Partners, one of the largest outsourcing investments in the industry at the time. Eventually, the company was sold to RR Donnelley for $250 million in 2006– a tremendous success story.
What drew you to the position of SVP-Strategic Services & Special Projects at AG&P Group?
After OfficeTiger was sold, I returned to India where I co-founded, raised capital, and established Vijyoti as a strategic change management, medical equipment distribution, and marketing services company. Today, Vijyoti is serving top-tier public and private hospitals and medical centres across India including Fortis Escorts, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), and marquee research institutes such as the Indian Council of Medical Research and Reliance Foundation to name a few. Alongside, the company continues to execute several strategic change management projects for top companies in the pharmaceutical, education and oil & gas sectors.
In 2011, I was speaking to Joe – the opportunity was Marketing Communications assignment for the Singapore - headquartered Atlantic, Gulf and Pacific (AG&P) Group in Manila, Philippines. In what began as a few hours a day, to frequent trips back and forth between the two countries, in 2016, I eventually joined AG&P Group and relocated to Manila with my family.
Tell us about your roles and responsibilities at AG&P Group as the SVP-Strategic Services & Special Projects.
As SVP, Strategic Services & Special Projects, I oversee Marketing Communications & Human Resources for the AG&P Group and work closely with the Group CEO to deliver the company’s vision. It’s been an incredible journey. Over the years, the construction business I came to, evolved to become one of the leading and fastest growing downstream LNG and advanced infrastructure development companies in South and Southeast Asia and globally.
“Being kind at the deepest level, regardless of how tough the environment may be, means one is still connected with what makes us human. No leader should lose that connection”
My role rapidly progressed in parallel to include the breadth of strategic support functions of Human Resources, Information Technology, and Sustainability of AG&P Group beyond an expanded global Marketing Communications scope that I spearhead. From building and establishing a top global brand that has won several international industry awards as a leader in our sector, to identifying and securing necessary resources, third-party led systems audit and process improvements, client account management for complex multi-million-dollar projects, industrial relations and stakeholder management, among others, the growth was as exciting as it was sobering.
What is your take on the disproportionate representation of women leaders in top leadership roles, especially in the Asian context? How can we work towards improving the number of women leaders across all industries & functions?
I think that ‘gender’ as a deciding factor for women in leadership roles is not in the forefront as it used to be even a few decades ago. Today, we are faced with tremendous dearth of skills worldwide, both in the old and new and emerging industries and markets. Add to that the increasing cost of living and aspirations, the all-pervasive social media that has overtaken family conversations, relationships and traditions, knitting a ‘new’ society right before our eyes. In a nuclear, middle-class family in a developing nation, say in Asia, working parents is now as common place as is education for girls. The society and the world at large is continuously evolving over time. Ultimately, it is not so much gender but capability that is driving decisions to hire across all levels in all sectors. I don't therefore necessarily think that something major needs to be done to increase opportunities for women professionals, rather, I believe that the opportunity exists as never before and that women simply need to be capable of seizing it.
Anupam Ahuja, SVP-Strategic & Special Projects, AG&P Group
Equipped with more than 26 years of experience in marketing communications, HR and change management across oil and gas, pharma, outsourcing and IT sectors, Anupam is currently heading Global Marketing Communications and Human Resources for AG&P Group as SVP, Strategic Services & Special Projects. Working closely with the Group CEO to deliver the company’s vision, Anupam plays a key role in bringing together diverse stakeholders andmanagement, crafting and executing integrated marketing communication strategies and identifying and securing necessary resource and systems globally for AG&P.