Monish Gaurav Chatrath, a dynamic, hands-on leader scripting the legacy of MGC&KNAV Global Risk Advisory LLP
“I can write an entire book on my journey; however for the sake of brevity I would classify the same as challenging, eventful, stressful, full of the multiplicity of complexities at each step and yet so rewarding.”
The CEO’s role in an organization is unique since it determines, to a large extent,the company’s culture and over-arching philosophy,which is reflected in the organization’s values, beliefsand actions.Monish Gaurav Chatrath, who is a leading, respected and highly accomplished professional specializing in risk management services in India is the epitome of an ideal CEO, which is reflected not only in the growth trajectory that MGC & KNAV has witnessed in two short years, but also in the dedication displayed by his team towards their organization as well as their consideration towards meeting the needs of the clients.Monish is a member of the Board of Governors of KNAV International Limitedas well as the Global Markets Leader for KNAV. Hewas nominated for the prestigious CFO of the Year Award in 2001, while at Barista CoffeeCompany Ltd (‘Barista Coffee’) for completely transforming the organization, institutionalizing best in class governance practices and engineering the profitable and fast paced growth of the Company –the results of which were evident, while Monish restructured Barista Coffee’s equity with the Tata Group taking a minority stake in this company at a landmark valuation in 2001. However it is Monish’sdown to earth attitude and ability to think and talk straight that sets him apart- clearly, he has not let all the success that he has accomplishedget to his head. Blown by his aura and business acumen it wasa delight for me to interview Monish Gaurav Chatrath and get his tips on life, business and an entrepreneurship….
Pooja Kundoo, Editor at The CEO Magazine in conversation with Monish Gaurav Chatrath
Thank you for providing us with this interview. It’s a sincere pleasure to have a conversation with you. Your professional voyage started27years ago…Can we have a brief background on your professional journey? What was your journey like to get where you are?
I can write an entire book on my journey; however, for the sake of brevity, I would classify the same as challenging, eventful, stressful, and full of the multiplicity of complexities at each step and yet so rewarding. My traverse has been both in the profession i.e. with Arthur Andersen, KPMG, Grant Thornton and Mazars; and also the industry- with Schlumberger, Barista Coffee &Exl Services.
You are the Managing Partner of MGC & KNAV Global Risk Advisory LLP. How did you come to get involved in MGC & KNAV?
After having established two successful global professional services brands in the country, I was exploring twoattractive propositions in terms of senior positions in the profession, in 2015. At that stage, a dear friend and one of the founding partners of KNAV (Vaibhav Manek) advised me to also consider the merits of an altogether different proposition of developing a practice of my own, in the area of my core specialization, which is risk advisory services. My relationship with the KNAV Group goes back to 2003, when we had worked together for a period of 3 years. This is an organization that I had respected from the time I got to work with their partners in one of my previousroles, for their professionalism, dynamism and agility. I had implicit trust in all the four founding partners of the KNAVGroup and we have always shared a high degree of mutual respect for each other. All four of them encouraged me to develop a proposition to create one of the most admired risk advisory services practicesand expressed their confidence to back the same. It took us less than an hour to discuss ways in which we could work together and this gave birth to MGC & KNAV Global Risk Advisory Services LLP in September of 2015.
What would be the two-three highlights that you would like to share which fostered your growth as a global leader today?
The ability to compete with the largest global risk advisory services firms and edge them out on specific risk advisory mandates in terms of our technical expertise is one aspect that inspires confidence in our ability to realizeour vision.Our ability to attract and retain the best talent, across levels in the area of risk advisory services is the aspect that shows that our differentiation in terms of culture has strong merit. While I could go a length to highlight some of the recognitions and awards that we have received; what is most important for us is when our clients state that they are able to get sound sleep because of MGC&KNAV.
Your first business breakthrough…
Our first business breakthrough came within the first three months of our existence, when MGC & KNAV was appointed as the internal auditors of three listed entities of the Max Group. The process of selection and appointment was rigorous and we were delighted to make the cut.
One word that describes you the best….
What is your favorite aspect of being a CEO?
Any leadership position comes with its perks. As a CEO, one needs to have his hands firmly on the reins of the business. You get to hire the people you want to, cultivate the services you love, run the business the way you see fit and develop a culture that subscribes to your value system.
What is the hardest thing about being a CEO?
Making tough decisions and aligning all stakeholders with the same. It is so easy to give in to the temptation of taking decisions that boost a CEO’s popularity; however, the popular path is not necessarily always the correct path. As a champion of change management, a CEO needs to demonstrate the courage of conviction to take bold decisions, have the ability to influence change in the thought process of all stakeholders, to take the organization to new, higher and on occasions unprecedented levels; and to make the impossible a reality. As a CEO, one needs to be focused towards unlocking the true value of a business, by demonstrating, integrity, honesty and a true sense of living by a value system. Unfortunately, there are more scars than trophies involved, when you are the CEO.
How do you keep your business focus – Any learning you want to share with entrepreneurs who are experiencing challenging times?
My learning is largely from self-introspection, from observing and assessing the manner in which successful leaders across the globe conduct themselves, by being receptive to feedback and by staying in touch with developments that impact the areas of my specialization. Most importantly, I do not view setbacks as failures; rather I embrace them as important lessons in my pursuit of excellence and sustainable success.
What does Monish like to do most when he is not thinking about the growthof MGC &KNAV?
At this stage, it is difficult to divest my thought process fromthe growth opportunities before MGC & KNAV. Yet, I have responsibilities in leadership positions within the KNAV Group in terms of developing the KNAV brand and also developing and monitoring the growth strategy for KNAV Group’s members firms in North India, which take up a fair share of my time. Both these roles, which are independent of my role in MGC &KNAV, are extremely exciting as they provide me an opportunity to apply my experiences in spearheading initiatives relating to change management and business transformation.
Outside work, I try and create some time to engage in activities, which give me time to spend with my family.
What do you hope to accomplish within the next year from personal as well as professional point of view?
From a professional perspective, maintaining and improving upon the growth momentum that we have gathered at MGC&KNAVis one key objective that I hope to accomplish over the ensuing year. From a personal perspective, I hope to strike a greater work-life balance.
Pooja: What is the best advice you have ever been given which you wish to be shared with young entrepreneurs…
Dream. Dream big and live your dream. Only those who dare to dream are the ones who succeed.
In a nutshell
Monish is seen as a strong and respected advocate for good governance and he was closely involved with the production of several publications on corporate governance, which include – ‘Governance matters’ (released by Shri Pranab Mukherjee)& ‘Governance matters for India Inc’.Monish has been anchoring panel discussions on Corporate Governance on various media platforms that have featured prominent names from the industry..
In the Spotlight
MGC & KNAV Global Risk Advisory LLP
‘Catering the Intangible value’
MGC & KNAV Global Risk Advisory LLP is a joint venture between Monish Gaurav Chatrathand the KNAV Group, which is a fast growing international association of legally independently-owned accounting and consulting firms with offices across the globe. KNAV P. A. has been rated as one of the ‘100 fastest growing Asian American businesses’ by the US Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce Education Foundation and also as one of the ‘2017 best accounting firms to work for’ by Accounting Today. All member firms of KNAV International Limited in India, United Kingdom and North America are member firms of Allinial Global, which is a leading association of accounting and consulting firms located across the globe and is headquartered in the US. This membership allows MGC & KNAV Global Risk Advisory LLP access to specialized expertise and a wide range of global business services, fully backed by AllinialGlobal’s 97 member firms, which currently employ more than 1,400 partners and 8,500 staff in 253 locations in 13 countries.Currently, the firm has its presence and capabilities to serve its clientele in India as well as in Canada, France, The Netherlands, United Kingdom, USA, Singapore & Switzerland.
The organization has cultivated a one-team and customer-centric culture. In a short period of two years, the Firm has been recognized as being one of the top 10 most promising governance and risk consulting firms in India. The organization has rapidly grown to a team of over 90 dedicated risk advisory professionals across India (who operate from New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Hyderabad) and the US, who are undertaking a wide range of risk advisory services assignments that include internal audits, process engineering, controls assessments, forensic work, corporate governance assessments and enterprise-wide risk management. With this, the organization has edged out its competition, standing above some of the largest global risk advisory and accounting firms. MGC & KNAV was preferred by the United Nations to undertake an assessment of the ethical code of business conduct of their vendor, which is one of the largest IT services organizations in India.