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Fashion brand icons: Shailesh Chaturvedi of Arvind Fashions

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IndiaRetailing brings you a series in which we highlight the brand icons in India’s thriving fashion and lifestyle industry. Today, the spotlight is on Shailesh Chaturvedi

Bengaluru: No business can survive for long without a vision; even if it does, it would be susceptible to every disruption and upheaval that generally comes in its business cycle. It needs a leader who has the capacity to translate, create that vision, or make it clearer and turn it into reality. The very essence of leadership is having a vision in the first place. Moreover, as you can’t blow an uncertain trumpet, it should be clearly articulated so that they can manage and lead people. A team led by a visionary leader with a clear direction knows what it can achieve and how far it can go.

In this special feature, IndiaRetailing highlights the brand icons in India’s thriving fashion and lifestyle industry. Today, the spotlight is on…

Shailesh Chaturvedi

Managing director and chief executive officer, Arvind Fashions Ltd

Brief education profile

Bachelor of Engineering and MBA

Career history and experience

With expertise in development of premium fashion brands, Shailesh has been running business of Tommy Hilfiger, Calvin Klein, Sephora, US Polo, Flying machine, Aeropostale and Arrow brands at Arvind Fashions Limited as its ‘Managing Director and CEO’ since February 2021. Shailesh is very well known in industry for building Tommy Hilfiger as a powerful force in India since its start up days in the year 2006. His career started with the British Madura Coats Group as a management trainee in the year 1992 post his Engineering and MBA. The assignment with Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein has given him the opportunity to demonstrate methods of rapidly scaling up premium businesses of very high standards profitably, a unique feat in India. Before Tommy Hilfiger assignment, he had worked in Hong Kong with Benetton plc of Italy as the Head of its wholesale business in Asia Pacific region.

Role and responsibilities

My responsibilities are to build AFL as a force in the industry, with focus on profitable growth and capital efficiency. Key responsibilities include revitalizing growth of brands profitably, design and implementation of long term strategy, deleverage balance sheet and deliver high ROCE.

Strengths and weaknesses

• Evolved sense of detailing
• Analytical skills
• Empathy for team

• Impatience
• Often looking at life in black and white terms ignoring shades of grey
• Very demanding

Aspirations you want to fulfill

My aspiration is to be a catalyst for international standards of retailing in India where we manage minute details, consistently with high standards and not indulging in any jugaad or short cuts. To see an industry which is a fun place for employees and delivers fantastic return on capital employed through successful moat creation and unique capability building. At a personal level, I aspire to teach and mentor high potential companies and people so that I can give back to this industry what I have been taught over the last 3 decades.

Game changing retail technologies according to you

• Omni linkages so that there is one consumer view of inventory to be had at warehouse or in stores.
• CRM and consumer engagement details at point of sale.
• Staff training tools that impart focused training on consumer experiences and product knowledge.

Skills that helped you succeed in this industry

• Common sense, empathy, appreciation of aesthetics and tons of hard work.

Lessons learned over the years

My firmly held belief is that there are no shortcuts to success. We have to strive for improvement continuously. Gettingbetter never stops. There is no wisdom without love and care. This corporate world is starved of compassion. Keep an eye on young colleagues. Inspiring young minds is not easy for a leader and it makes you learn new values and practices.

Your take on the future of industry

Our industry is low on profitability and focuses unnecessarily on vanity of topline. In future, shareholders will demand much higher return on capital employed and for that industry will have to push for building unique capabilities, improve capital allocation, reduce attrition and push for higher stock turns.

Role model in the industry

• Mr. Tommy Hilfiger
• Mr. Sanjay Lalbhai
• Lots of young members of my team

Life mantra

There is no short cut to success and no matter what, we will rock.

This article first appeared in IMAGES Group’s Business of Fashion Magazine March 2023 issue.

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