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Vinay Razdan, the recipient of the “Exemplary Leader” award in the BFSI sector, has demonstrated exceptional leadership across domains, making significant contributions to the HR fraternity over three decades. 

In his current role, with a workforce spanning 7000 locations in India, Razdan leads over 600 HR leaders as CHRO at HDFC Bank, playing a pivotal role in facilitating dynamic branch expansion plans and the recruitment of 5000 individuals each month. His strategic vision extends to culture creation, and a dedication to diversity and social initiatives such as the “Bank Again” program, which has significantly increased gender diversity within the organization.

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In his speech, Razdan emphasized the importance of a sense of humor in a leader. ‘Often you demand a lot of people, and to be able to keep the atmosphere light is very, very important.’

Looking back to the start of his career, in 1988 in ITC, he recalls a time when he was restless to diversify and did a shift in a different department. When he finished, the shift manager asked him what he’d learned. ‘So I told him, “this is the process, this is the speed, this is the machine, its capacity, input, output, quality parameters, and so on.” The manager said, “how many people did you meet and what are their names?” That was the first lesson I learned about how you need to connect with people and care about people.’ His time at ITC also taught him about the cultural underpinnings of excellence in all you do.

Looking back on the leaders he has worked alongside at ITC, HCL Technologies, Idea Cellular and HDFC, he notes that great leaders share a boldness of vision and generosity of spirit. He emphasizes the latter, noting that ‘some leaders are very competent, but insufferable, so a generous spirit is very important.’ 

On a lighter note, he reflects how much has changed but stayed the same in business. ‘We used to value dedication at work – today we call it passion, which would have held a completely different significance at one time! Delivery used to be the bottomline. Today we call it execution, which no longer means something fatal. We’re told to be authentic at what we do, but really, other than your authentic self, do you have any other self to be?’

With this no-nonsense commitment to being true to oneself, and his ability to seamlessly lighten a speech full of insight, Razdan once more demonstrates the qualities that make him an exemplary leader.