Nestle CMD Mr. Suresh Narayanan at Great Lakes
Mr. Suresh Narayanan, Chairman and MD of Nestle India, visited Great Lakes as part of Great Lakes Industry Interaction series. Welcomed by Dr. VaidyJayarman, Associate Dean of Great Lakes Institute of Management, Chennai, Mr. Suresh Narayanan addressed the Great Lakers and shared interesting and insightful experiences from his 30 years rich corporate journey, especially in the field of FMCG. Talking specifically about the Maggi fiasco and how Nestle as a company handled the crisis, Mr. Narayanan had interesting responses to various questions posted by Great Lakers.
The students of Great Lakes were enthralled to interact with the Nestle Chairman. Setting the tone for his lecture by stating that Crisis is an opportunity for a company to come together and stay together, Suresh spoke about how Nestle bounced back into action following the Maggi Fiasco and advised the young managers about crisis handling and the power of relationships in Business. "Not a single supplier, vendor or distributor left us during the crisis, that's the power of relationship”, stated the Nestle CMD while answering a question on how different stakeholders were handled during the crisis. He also remarked that as future managers, one should not be afraid of uncertainties, as we are living in an age of uncertainties.
Talking about the importance of a strong leadership, Suresh opined that a leader’s strength is put to test at the time of a crisis. Because, how you manage such a situation has a direct impact not just on the company but on the various individuals associated with it. He added that the Maggi crisis was a test of the true grit of the leader as well as the company as a whole. Having the mind-set of finding opportunities in adversities is what has helped Maggi gain strongergrounds. The immediate recall of Maggi and destruction of Maggi packets, indicated the brand’s beliefin quality, he explained.
Having been associated with Nestle from 1999 and working at various capacities and countries like Singapore, Egypt, Indo-china, Philippines, Srilanka and many more, Mr. Narayanan shared his experience of handling different geographies and the importance of thinking Global. The students were also keen to know more about his Journey right from being a Management Trainee at Hindustan Unilever to being one of the Top Industry Titans in the country today.
During the Q&A, Suresh fondly recalled the time a young marketer came up to him with an idea to create storiesabout Maggi. Being skeptical about the idea first, Suresh explained how he was convinced by the Young professional when she vehemently described that Maggi is much more than a Noddle in an Indian House-hold. And that is how, he said, Maggi rekindled the memories of people who have been associated with the brand for a long time.
He concluded by reinforcing that a crisis gives an opportunity to step back and focus onstrategizing newer initiatives for the company. The Nestle Head signed off with a thunderous applause with the lines - Keep to your values. Be Humble. Listen and stay connected. Above all,be human.