Woman of the Year Winner: Rashmi Joshi

Published: Jan 2020


Photo of Sophie Jackson, Rashmi Joshi, Castrol India Ltd and Meg Coates.

Rashmi Joshi

CFO and Whole Time Director


Rashmi Joshi has more than 25 years of experience in the finance departments of FMCG, pharmaceutical, consumer durable and lubricants industries. Her expertise has seen her play a key role in creating and implementing a five-year growth strategy and vision for India and South Asia for Castrol India, whilst leading the India finance team and working to develop talent for India and the wider BP company, of which Castrol is a subsidiary.

Road to success

Having been with Castrol India for almost 15 years, Rashmi has progressed through the roles of General Manager Finance and Accounts, Performance Reporting and Forecasting Manager for the Asia and Pacific Region (for BP), before entering her current role in 2013 as CFO and Whole Time Director.

Alongside her role at Castrol India, she is also a member of the National CFO Council of FICCI, and an independent director for both Thirdware Solution Ltd and Godrej Industries Ltd.

Having studied for her Bachelor of Commerce in Accounting and Auditing at the University of Mumbai, Rashmi later became a Chartered Accountant and Company Secretary. Alongside these traditional qualifications, she completed the Women’s Directorship programme at Hong Kong University, as well as the Women on Corporate Boards programme for Independent Directorship run by FICCI.

Prior to her current position, Rashmi worked in various finance roles for Carrier Aircon Ltd, Nutricia, and Godrej Sara Lee Ltd. Alongside her career at Castrol, these previous roles gave her experience in leading large and cross-cultural teams across countries. This valuable knowledge led to her current success.

Communication + an open mind = successful leadership

Communication is an important part of Rashmi’s role, and she is always keen to listen to new ideas whilst collaborating with business partners and service providers to drive the change that creates a better environment for all involved.

Her managerial skills were admirable in her initial roles too, as Niket Ghate, previously Legal Head and Corporate Secretary at Carrier Aircon Ltd, notes “Rashmi demonstrated exemplary leadership to help the business on the ground,” and that her key qualities, “willingness to collaborate, decisiveness, and ethical leadership,” are what made her so great to work with.

Rashmi is always open to new ideas and is enthusiastic about embracing positive technological change. With her leadership, Castrol now has more than 98% of its collections electronically, and approximately 80% of those are by direct debit. This is one of the best examples in an industry where cheque payments generally prevail. Rashmi is a recognised thought leader in exploring and using digital technological disruptions to drive innovative solutions for business growth and to explore future business models, and she regularly speaks on panels to share her insights on the subject.

Innovation and execution

Rashmi’s role involves rallying support to devise and implement digital strategies and maintain a driving focus on key digital transformation initiatives. Fast Scan is an example of this. It enables mechanics to receive automated incentive payments instantly into their bank accounts, supporting strategic brand growth. The use of bank accounts instead of cash payments marks a milestone for financial inclusion in an industry that traditionally preferred cash transactions.

“I am humbled and delighted to receive this recognition. The credit for my success goes to the enabling environment created by leaders at Castrol and support of team members from various functions. This is a great platform for me to connect with a wider network of peers in other corporations in Asia, to learn how the changing technologies are developing and shaping the future of various businesses and what we need to do to stay differentiated. I hope that this recognition will inspire other fellow women professionals to continue to strive for more.”

Rashmi Joshi, CFO and Whole Time Director

Ewald Van der Ven, who worked as the Managing Director of Nutricia India Pvt Ltd with Rashmi, says that “her openness and trust was a major support,” as well as her good sense of humour. Her wide array of knowledge not only covers finance, but also corporate and company governance, which according to Van der Ven, is important for any CFO so they can help to bring the business forward and come up with ideas – exactly as Rashmi does.

“Rashmi’s great strength is that she has been able to both develop a coherent digital strategy for Castrol India and help lead flawless execution. It is this combination of innovation and execution that makes her stand out amongst CFOs,” according to Jos Sclater, Lubricants CFO, Castrol.

Going above and beyond

Within her position as Whole Time Director at Castrol India, Rashmi serves as a member of the Country Leadership Team and Global Lubricants Finance Leadership Team. Additionally, she has previous experience as both Ethics and Compliance Leader for Castrol India from 2014-2015, and as the Presiding Officer of the Internal Complaints Committee under the POSH Act from 2015-2017.

It is this type of regular engagement with the wider organisation that has allowed Rashmi to use her expertise to support the company’s growth ambitions without compromising on the compliance requirements, according to Omer Dormen, Managing Director, Castrol India Ltd. Her “highly developed commercial and business development sense benefitted the organisation as it was navigating through tough market conditions.”

Champion for women

Alongside her professional responsibilities as CFO and Whole Time Director, Rashmi has a keen interest in coaching and mentoring women for professional success at various levels. It has been during her tenure and due to her positive intervention, supported by the organisation, that the female talent pool in finance has increased significantly at Castrol India. Over the past five years she has worked on developing the potential of women in her team, successfully building a female leadership talent pipeline. Rashmi is passionate about encouraging women to move higher, supporting their development and taking an active role in mentoring and coaching them.

In the same vein, Rashmi has been able to promote many women in the last three years, believing that deserving women should progress based on merit and should take the initiative when promoting themselves. She aims to encourage this outlook and inspire women by speaking on panels at various relevant forums to discuss and share her experiences.

Rashmi is so encouraging of progress that during her time in Singapore as the Asia Pacific Planning and Performance Manager, she took an active role in a Women Development Programme in Asia Pacific, where she hosted sessions to mentor women.

She has completed BP’s Coaching Training Programme and her offer to coach people – men and women – within the organisation is always open. Women and men from outside of Castrol India also seek out Rashmi’s mentoring and guidance to navigate issues both in their careers and personal lives, which only acts as a testament for the level of support and guidance she offers to all.

Rashmi’s perseverance and determination are what makes her “one of the biggest contributors to the successful transformation of (Castrol India) in the last four years,” according to Dormen.

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