"A crisis shows
real character"

Interview with General Manager of PUMA India & SEA, Abhishek Ganguly

September 1, 2020

Interview with General Manager of PUMA India & SEA, Abhishek Ganguly

September 1, 2020

This year is exceptional in many ways: We’re facing a global pandemic, which not only poses health risks, but also economic challenges. We spoke with the General Manager of PUMA India & SEA Abhishek Ganguly about the COVID crisis as well as diversity & inclusion at PUMA.

The COVID 19 crisis has eased off a bit. Does this make you less concerned?

Abhishek: On the Business front, things have definitely opened up across the world with the easing of lockdowns and restrictions. Our stores and those of our Retail partners have mostly resumed operations, and there is a lot of positive traction. Sportswear seems to be one of the first to make the recovery. However, Covid-19 isn’t under control yet. South America, India and US still have serious challenges in controlling the pandemic. Many countries are experiencing a second wave of the spread of the virus. We need to be extremely cautious in our offices, stores and warehouses. It is imperative to continue to communicate and support each other. In these tough times, it is important to stay positive and have faith that the world will soon find a way to come out of the crisis.


How do you feel PUMA has weathered the crisis so far?

Abhishek: I think we have done a fabulous job. The second quarter of the year has been extremely challenging. However, the way we have weathered the crisis and progressed in June and July shows our mettle as a very resilient company. Our approach towards our retail partners, suppliers and our employees has been flexible and reassuring. A crisis shows real character – in many ways PUMA has demonstrated that. Many of our customers tell me that they like working with us and our approach with them during the pandemic reiterates just that. It is incredible the way we have taken care of our employees when the world is undergoing a massive financial stress.


What are the learnings that you have taken from the crisis?    

Abhishek: Personally I have learnt quite a bit during these times.
1. Very important to be nimble and flexible, so that we can change course and adopt new paths, often and very quickly
2. Empathy, frequent and transparent communication with colleagues and business partners helps to combat a crisis
3. Technology adoption is not a choice, it is an extremely critical lever for consumer business
4. A lot of success comes from creating a culture in the organisation where there is penchant for action speed of execution . During tough times, we cannot let the business take its own course.

What do you think we could have done better? 

Abhishek: A crisis is also a good time to learn from each other. Different markets, countries, regions would be having success on different matters and with varied ways / projects. Maybe we can find more ways to share ideas and success across geographies. The e-commerce Team recently did a workshop on performance marketing, which was very effective. Times like these are ideal for sharing, learning and also picking new skills.

How do you think did the employees manage the crisis?  

Abhishek: Here I would speak specifically with regards to our teams in India and South East Asia, where I have had maximum exposure to. I am amazed by the way the team in India has stuck together as a resolute unit despite having to work from home for a long time. Salvaging 80% of pre Covid business during the toughest times of the virus spread during the last 2 months, is a reflection of grit of the team. The South East Asia team in Malaysia, Indonesia and Singapore has been a super cohesive unit. They are making some big moves in growing business and pivoting some of the business models during a crisis year. I am elated by the way the SEA team is building new blocks of business during such tough times.

What is the most important part in PUMA’s work culture that helped us to get through the crisis?  

Abhishek: Team spirit. In PUMA, we enjoy working with our teammates, it is never strenuous or draining out to interact with our colleagues. This culture stitches us together, making it a potent squad. I have realized that this has kept us going strong during the pandemic.

Although we already have a very diverse employee base, what would you still like to see improving?

Abhishek: Diversity is never an end goal. It has to be the path that we are always treading on and enhancing. Continued pursuit of Diversity of culture, race, gender, backgrounds, expertise and thoughts – This would make us a truly global organization relevant to the entire globe.

Which developments in PUMA’s company culture are you most proud of?

Abhishek: Passion for the brand helps us stand out and work towards the success we have had in the last few years. And, I believe this will make us a tougher force after the pandemic.

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