Aditya K Mehta, President & CFO, Orion Group

Orion Group is one of the largest and most diversified business groups in Bangladesh. Employing over 18000 people, Orion’s business portfolio ranges from Pharma & Healthcare, Infrastructure Development to Power Generation & Energy to Textiles to Consumer Durables. Managing Orion’s vast financial actions is its Senior President & CFO, Aditya K Mehta, an industry leader with over 20 years of experience in the corporate and financial services sectors, having accomplished outstanding professional achievements in sales and finance with the TVS Group, Citibank, and Cargill. “Joining Orion as the Group’s CFO has helped broad base my profile portfolio and provide insights into a privately held corporate business group outside India,” says Mr. Mehta.

Mr. Mehta joined Orion in 2021 when the world was still fighting the pandemic. Like many other business groups worldwide, Orion had had its fair share of challenges. Mr. Mehta recounts, “It is an exemplary achievement of the Group that we managed to implement the country’s largest renewable energy plant by the end of 2021, and it has been supplying uninterrupted electric power to the Bangladesh Grid since then.” For this crucial project in Bangladesh’s green energy roadmap, Mr. Mehta arranged the major portion of the bridge financing – USD 100 million!

The Underdog Story

Born in Chandigarh but raised in Kolkata, Mr. Mehta did his schooling at St. Xaviers Collegiate School and La Martiniere for Boys, two of the premier day schools in India. He was elected House Captain and School Captain in Xaviers. But Mr. Mehta’s school life was not too perfect as it looked. He underwent depression early in high school after not being elected the Prefect in the LaMarts. However, Mr. Mehta was not someone who would give up too soon. “I was determined to do my B.E. & MBA and got selected one of the top management institutes in the country via the all-India CAT exam. I can proudly say that, throughout my academic and professional journey, I have always been selected on merit. No donations, no back door entries, no sucking up to bosses – only on pure merit,” Mr. Mehta proudly states.

Mr. Mehta has always been the underdog. He was never the favorite to stand first in class or win any prize because he needed to be more brilliant and naturally gifted. He says, “I have been sincere and transparent in my approach towards life and work. Yet I used to be among the top 5 students in the class of 50 at the end of the year.” Mr. Mehta was a versatile doer, representing his class and school in sports, quizzes, elocution, and debate contests. At the same time, he had the uncanny ability to surprise people since most didn’t expect him to win or to do well.

In February 2022, Mr. Mehta was honored with the “Man of Excellence Award 2021-22” by the prestigious Indian Achievers’ Forum. In March 2022, he won another prestigious award for CFO of the Year 2021-22. He was conferred the “Man of Excellence Award at the National Summit on Atmnirbhar Bharat: Vision New India in July. He was felicitated, in August 2022, among the “Most Admired Global Indians” by a leading luxury and lifestyle magazine. He is a distinguished Life Member of Leaders Excellence at Harvard Square and has recently completed an exclusive CFO program in IIM-Calcutta with an “Excellent” grade. And, the success continues for Mr. Mehta.

From Sales to Finance: The Making of a Versatile Leader

Mr. Mehta started his professional journey when he was recruited by TVS straight out of campus as a Management Trainee, where he sold the company’s computer peripherals to the dealer, distributor, and institutional channels in Mumbai Metropolitan Region. In 2005, he joined Citibank and has been in the financial services sector since. Mr. Mehta then moved to Cargill and was its Senior Director of their Trade & Capital Markets (TCM) business, covering Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Mauritius, Nepal, and Sri Lanka when he left the company to join Orion. “During COVID in 2020-21, I felt I had outgrown my role as Senior Director in South Asia. The fact that I was in a niche business like Cargill’s TCM for more than a decade didn’t help matters further,” shares Mr. Mehta.

However, when Mr. Mehta joined Orion in an entirely different profile from his earlier roles, he was advised to unlearn. He says, “I was proud and possessive of my Citi banking stint. But Cargill is not a bank; its Trade & Structured Finance business is way more innovative and nimbler footed. This resistance to changing my approach and unlearning the past didn’t help me. I performed better when I started going with the flow and stopped resisting the unlearning.”

At Orion, Mr. Mehta and his team have started tracking “revenues generated out of innovation” as one of the key metrics in the organization. He shares, “I want this unique capability to become a strategically valuable resource for Orion in the near future.”

Beyond the Work

Holding the top financial position in a large private conglomerate means that Mr. Mehta is hardly away from work. His typical working day involves at least a couple of official meetings with his team or overseas calls, discussions with the promoters, and keeping track of various regulatory requirements in the Group. Mr. Mehta unplugs from work by trying to spend quality time with his family, going for leisure walks, and listening to Mohammed Rafi songs. For young professionals to stay focused and productive, Mr. Mehta shares, “John F. Kennedy once said, “Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.” Similarly, to stay focused and productive daily, ask not what your company can do for you – ask what you can do for your company.”

Mr. Mehta believes in the idea that life itself has no meaning, as it depends on us what meaning we want to derive from it, and for that, we need to attach purposes at different stages in life. “If you want to see the rainbow, you gotta put with the rain. This has been my mantra for growth, development, and success in corporate life. I see my father still working at 76, and that inspires me to keep going and never stop – the passion for contributing, in whichever way, to my profession,” concludes Mr. Mehta.

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