MD, Alvarez and Marsal
GOAL IN LIFE: Grow A&M in India. The longterm goal is to make a positive difference to society and contribute to better business practices.
BEST LEADERSHIP LESSON: Persistence works.
When Nikhil Shah joined Alvarez and Marsal (A&M), a business advisory firm, around five years ago, the firm had just six professionals in India. A strong brand globally, it was an unknown entity in India. But today, the firm has emerged as a preferred advisor to banks, private equity firms and large companies, and the staff strength has grown to 75. Shah has played no small part in this growth story.
One of his first tasks was from State Bank of India (SBI) to restructure an IT services provider in Ahmedabad. The company had a Rs 1,000-crore exposure to a group of lenders led by SBI. The turnaround of the firm helped A&M gain a foothold in India. He also advised Jet Airways on optimising costs and improving efficiency and cash flow.
He served as the interim chief restructuring officer of Bharati Shipyard, improving its operating cash flow and order book. Besides, he handled the $1.4-billion carve out and post-merger integration of the hardware and home improvement divisions of Stanley Black and Decker. From being the interim CEO of a transportation company to interim CFO of worsted wool maker OCM India, he has played diverse roles at A&M.
Sankar Krishnan, MD and Co-head of A&M India, says Shah has a great understanding of challenges that businesses face in India. Maintaining the quality of work and keeping core values intact while expanding the team are going to be the main challenges for Shah. "Given the weak corporate governance within stressed companies in India, it is important to ensure that the management and board lead by example," he adds.