Sodexo India has appointed Sambit Kumar Sahu as the new Managing Director. Earlier, he was serving as the Country Segment Director of Health & Care segment.
Sahu took the reins from outgoing Country President and CFO, Rohit Bahety, who has joined Sodexo North America. Atul Agrawal, the Finance Director, has been elevated as the new CFO.
He joined Sodexo India about 18 years ago and has held a number of leadership positions across the operations and food & digital transformation segments.
In an exclusive interaction with People Matters, Sahu said, “Food service is the stamp of my career journey. I began my career with the food production division of the hospitality industry. I then shifted to the aviation industry wherein I was part of flight catering services. Thereafter, I joined Cafe Coffee Day and later joined Sodexo. At Sodexo, I was part of the Corporate, Manufacturing and Healthcare segment.”
He also shared his views on the digital transformation of the F&B industry. Here are some excerpts from the conversation:
How do you look at the transformation of the F&B industry over the last ten years?
The F&B industry’s transformation peaked during the pandemic. Digitisation and user convenience in the form of food delivery apps, online payments, cloud kitchens, food delivery channels, sustainable sourcing and more have ushered in a revolution of sorts faster than imagined.
Still ,there are pebbles strewn on the road too. Today’s customers are enthusiastic and well-informed about authenticity and sustainability. They want to know where their food is being sourced from and how it is being ferried and if this approach is costing the environment dearly. This is where Sodexo steps in.
We anticipate all sorts of requirements from all kinds of customers (corporate, factory, retail) and cater to them on time. We go beyond set menus, improve turnaround times, offer healthy options and ensure utmost safety, hygiene in the prep areas. We aim to do today what will be in practice tomorrow.
What is the status of skills availability in the industry at present and how is Sodexo investing in the skills transformation of the workforce?
At Sodexo, nearly 33% of the talent pool comprises freshers. Almost 8% of our hires stem from the National Skill Development Council.
Diversity, equity and inclusion is the cornerstone for Sodexo when it comes to hiring people. We have also modified the way we hire, onboard and train our teams. By building digitised informational nuggets and practical training, we make sure that our teams are abreast of the current happenings and are equipped to leverage their knowledge in their workplace.
How are your previous work experiences going to influence your leadership style in the new journey?
Having worked with brilliant minds throughout and gained experiential learnings, I always give greater importance to mapping people and organisational capability with the requirements of a business segment. Every segment has diverse requirements.
Hiring talent is not enough but getting hands on the right talent, i.e. matching competencies and attitude with the organisation’s culture and values is critical.
I’m someone with an entrepreneurial mindset. I’m always restless to learn more and do something new. While such spirit is always appreciated, not many organisations really offer opportunities outside your domain expertise to kindle something new. But at Sodexo, things are different. Our Employee Value Proposition is centered on the pillars of belong, act and thrive, which allowed me to lead my teams with the mind of an entrepreneur and meet the business goals.
I believe in empowering teams to take decisions independently but in line with the company's priorities. At the same time, it is also important to stay connected with your teams on the ground to be aware of how they serve the customers and if they are able to serve them right.