CEO, Bestseller India
GOAL IN LIFE: Wants to open a restaurant someday.
BEST LEADERSHIP LESSON: Never take your customers for granted.
In the five years that Vineet Gautam has been with Danish clothing retailer Bestseller, the company has grown at a quick pace. In 2010, the company had only 38 employees. It now has more than 1,800 employees at more than 450 outlets in 54 cities. When other retailers were cutting store sizes, he chose to open bigger stores. "A lot of brands were built with slow growth, we built it with rapid growth," he says. "We invested heavily into everything."
Even in his previous job, at Benetton India, Gautam had expanded the business aggressively. He increased the number of stores to 100 from 25-30 in a span of two years as the head of south and west zones at Benetton.
"The retail industry in India has not matured, so one needs that aggression to grow and to reach that actual potential," says Pawan Khandelwal, who brought in Gautam at the time when the apparel brand, though quite strong in the North, had a relatively weak presence in southern and western India. Khandelwal, who was then the sales director at Benetton, says Gautam would persevere to get better results than expected. "It's good if you have people in your team who are aligned with your thoughts and want to do much more than you're expecting," he says.
The aggression to grow the business continues today. "We have achieved what we set out for and now we can make a plan for 2020," says Gautam.