One of the most widely recognized names in the packaging industry across Asia, Ashish Pradhan is the current President (Asia) at Siegwerk. An Engineer with a Post Graduate Degree in Management Studies, he has close to 30 years of experience in the Packaging industry.
Ashish took over as CEO Siegwerk India in 2016 and was promoted as President, Siegwerk India and Greater China in 2019. He has been responsible for growing the Siegwerk business in the Indian subcontinent. A ‘turn-around specialist’ Ashish was responsible for turning around Siegwerk China into a profitable entity. Moreover, he has brought in a vibrant cultural change to the organization in India and China – a zone that is under his leadership. Before joining Siegwerk in 2015, Ashish served in senior positions with companies such as Huhtamaki, Henkel and International Paper.
The beginning of his career saw a few watershed moments. The first one being whether to choose engineering as a career . This decision was an emotional one as his father was an engineer and Ashish wanted to emulate him in every possible way. But the moment of dilemma soon arrived when he was faced with three options post the completion of engineering – to continue with the same line of study by taking up masters in technology, to work for a few years, or to take up management studies. During his engineering days however, he was fascinated with a couple of subjects that were related to organization and business. He was fond of these subjects and enjoyed learning more and more about running a business. This love for acquiring more business oriented knowledge resolved Ashish’s dilemma. Hence, with a clear vision, he made up his mind not to go deeper into the engineering technology field as a career path and decided to pursue an MBA specializing in Operations Management- a decision that was going to propel him within the business world.
Ashish got serious about business early on and started acquiring high stake managerial responsibilities. At the young age of 23, in his first job, he already was managing the pressure die-casting shop floor of Crompton Greaves where almost 60 workmen and a supervisor reported to him. For Ashish, the primary challenge was “How to get work done”, and this solution-oriented mindset is something that has stuck with him throughout. He has never seen a role where he has had to work independently. Rather, he has always led people, ensuring to get the best out of them, while at the same time acknowledging their contribution to the overall organization. Ashish has the innate ability of aligning people under him to a cause, while making them feel empowered and engaged.
One of the biggest highlights of his career was when he was at the forefront of restructuring the Thane plant of Paper Products Limited. During this time, despite a significant reduction of the workforce (by 20%), the business acumen of Ashish resulted in an increased productivity by over 20%. Later, Ashish turned around the Huhtamaki Australia plant and, later, Siegwerk China. These events etched his reputation in the business world as a ‘turn-around specialist’. Despite these achievements, Ashish is grounded and only considers his various and increasingly challenging assignments as something to treasure.
A great interesting opportunity that Ashish is very fond of was during his posting as a Plant Manager for the Bankstown, Sydney for Huhtamaki. Not only was his role extremely challenging, but also put Ashish completely out of his comfort zone in terms of his work environment. Moreover, from a technology perspective, Ashish hailed from a flexible packaging background and the plant was based on rigid packaging. He even had to go further lengths and make adjustments in his family to make this stint successful. With his extreme dedication and careful study of the region and the people, he adjusted to the foreign environment soon which resulted in one of the most successful turnarounds in the company’s history. This experience provided him with a completely different perspective of getting work done in a foreign nation.
Ashish believes in experiential learning. His personal vision is to drive himself towards self-discovery through experiences. As he puts it, “Experiences are lent meaning, through awareness”. But that doesn’t mean that Ashish doesn’t value leisure. In fact his mission for life is to “celebrate every moment as an experience and feel alive, aware and peaceful”. Ashish’s leisure interests include reading, swimming and trekking. He also follows various sports.
A leader personifying excellence in people management, Ashish is also heavily invested in the CSR activities at Siegwerk, and in his own way is positively impacting many lives. Ashish has completed Executive Education from Harvard and INSEAD, France, and also holds a Diploma in International Trade, from the Indian Institute of Materials Management and a Diploma in Packaging from the Institute of Packaging, UK.
Ashish is driven by his desire for achievement – not in form of titles, awards or incentives, but through empowering the people who work under him, and making the lives of his customers easier through impeccable services. While he has lived an exemplary career, Ashish doesn’t lose sleep over what the future has in store for him and likes to live the moments as they come. “I don’t think too much about the future. I like to stay in the present, in the moment. If I do think about it, I see more exploration and experiencing”, he comments.
Interested in inviting Ashish for an enriching session? Visit: https://www.speakin.co/profile/ashish-pradhan.html