“I think the more successful one is, the more humble you need to be,” says Preeti Arora Razdan, managing director of Diageo Southeast Asia, and member of the Robb Report Singapore Thought Leaders community
Just as it is with Diageo’s portfolio of premium spirits, the work and people involved with making and selling them require time, sensitivity, and a careful melding of the past, present and future. Preeti Razdan, who joined Diageo in 2017 and was appointed its managing director for Southeast Asia in November 2020, is more than cognizant of what it takes to amalgamate the different elements for success.
“The more I visit the distilleries, the more I understand what it takes (to build something),” she says. “You really have to nurture and curate. That’s the beauty of it. That’s what really inspires me in this business.”
Even so, it appears that Razdan has a knack for turning in results fast. It is reported that sales grew by 33 per cent in Southeast Asia for 2023. But Razdan isn’t one who only uses financial growth that uses as a barometer for success. She counts community building initiatives, such as the Diageo Raising the Bar and CleanServe campaigns to help hospitality businesses affected by COVID-19, as well as spearheading movements that amplify the message of sustainability and gender equity as equally vital to her work at Diageo.
What are some initiatives at Diageo that you are most proud of?
When I assumed this role of as Diageo’s managing director of Southeast Asia, I embarked on a clear strategy, which is to lead with luxury, and to anticipate the future. I think that’s what we have done over the last couple of years have helped established our brands to be where they truly belong.
Beyond the financials, I’m proud of how the company is looking to the future with a spirit of progress. For example, we introduced circular packaging in Indonesia, and that is now being taken on by the company in 18 other markets.
How do you stay passionate about what you do?
I’m passionate about growth. I want to be better and I learn continuously. This keeps me honest, humble and happy. That said, I also apply this to the brands and people I work with – I get satisfaction from seeing growth there, too.
What is your take on success?
I think the more successful one is, the more humble you need to be.
Where do you think your industry is headed?
There is a big move towards preminumisation. By that, I mean an emphasis on value over volume. At Diageo, our agenda is not for you to drink more, but to drink better. And that doesn’t necessarily mean having more expensive drinks, either. It is about drinking safely and responsibly at the best price.
What defines you as a leader?
Having clarity of vision and the courage to follow it through. But it is also important to have an engaged and motivated organisation that is passionate about what we want to deliver. When the business grows, the people grow. To me, that’s a very sustainable model.
When was the last time you were truly inspired?
I seek inspiration from everything and everybody I meet. It doesn’t have to be a big thing or personality. When you connect with people, there is always something they can teach you.
Photography by Eugene Lee, Enfinite Studio
Hair & Makeup by Sophia and Victoria, Suburbs Studio