Kailash B. Gupta – CFO, Inox Leisure Limited – Interview

Kailash B Gupta

We had an opportunity to interview an industry leader. He is a Seasoned Finance Professional with 21 years of rich experience in General and Business Accounting, Taxation, Banking, Treasury, Business planning & review, Budgeting, Commercials, Legal, Controlling, and relationship Management. 

Tell us about yourself

I’m a pure business and finance guy. I love dealing with numbers. My passion lies purely in building a strong team and taking them forward along with me. I love doing what I do and I look forward to new challenges every day and positively overcoming them.

What inspired you to join Inox Leisure Limited

The entertainment industry has experienced a strong phase of growth, backed by rising consumer demand, an increase in discretionary spending, and increasing advertising revenues. With the well-diversified distribution of multiplexes across India, there is also access to a wide variety of regional content. The industry generates employment for 5-6 million people, including both direct and indirect employment. India produces the maximum number of hours of content globally, across 2,000 films, 800+ television channels, 250+ radio stations, 100,000+ newspaper and magazine editions, and thousands of live events. The M&E sector reached about Rs1.5 trillion in 2017, a growth of around 13% over 2016. Without a doubt, this is a growth driven by digital media that has notched up the highest and most phenomenal numbers of the year, growing by 29.4% in 2017. This includes a 28.8% growth in advertising and a 50% growth in the subscription. The latter, which was just 3.3% of total digital revenues in 2016, is expected to grow to 9% by 2020.

I have always been passionate about movies and it was my affection for the entertainment industry that inspired me to join the sector. Earlier, I worked for 3 years at an entertainment company and I joined a pharma company for a year, where I realized I was meant for the entertainment industry and the challenges it threw at me. I grabbed the opportunity at INOX with open arms.

What is your life mantra?

If you work with full passion, it would never seem like work to you.

What was the most challenging part of your journey till now?

Every single day, of my career journey for the past 21years, has been full of emerging challenges and new learnings. However, currently, we’re all dealing with the same challenge, COVID-19. And that has to be one of the most challenging parts of all our business journeys.

How do you protect yourself from work stress?

I have the power to switch off my brain when I’m off work. When I’m away from the office, I enjoy spending time with my family and that makes me feel mentally relaxed and happy. I believe in a good work-life balance.

Share one habit that you think makes you more productive?

Starting my day early!

Share one habit that you wish to change in yourself?

Sometimes being too hard on myself when I’m at work.

  • Answer in one line:
  • One tip to success – Hard work and only hard work!
  • One mistake you believe every individual must avoid – Everyone makes mistakes and they learn and evolve from them. You don’t make mistakes purposely, so you can’t avoid them.
  • One most important lesson that you have learned till now – Always empower your team and keep a strong focus.
  • Apps you can’t live without – The calculator app on my phone
  • Key in the workplace – My key is empowering my team

If you get a chance to start your career again what would you do differently this time?

I always had an interest in numbers. Ever since school and throughout my childhood, I have been very good with the permutation and combination of numbers, with savings, etc. This is what lead me to the path of Chartered Accountancy and that’s what I would always choose.

Share a quote that inspires you the most.

“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others.” – Jack Welch

What makes you excited about Mondays?

I’m a very enthusiastic and energetic individual and also a workaholic of sorts. I like waking up to new challenges every single day and Monday is just one of those days.

According to you how important is self worth and happiness, in a job?

It is the Topmost priority for me, and I encourage the same in the Company as well. We make sure our employees are happy and content at their workplace.

Describe some difficult leadership situations and how you managed people through them.

So before coming to the level of the CFO, the role of an individual is 80% functional/technical and 20% leadership skills. Once you reach the CFO chair, this equation becomes the complete opposite. As a leader, I focus more on problem-solving and decision making along with taking care of communication and influence within my team. You need to be available throughout, even for the smallest of trouble coming your way. And also, most importantly, you need to always have a positive and solution-oriented approach. Some of the instances which come across my mind are:

  • When I first joined INOX, I had the responsibility of building my Finance team from scratch. I personally interviewed each candidate and got in the strongest set of people. Today, I have created a fundamentally strong team and also built a second layer for each Function within our department.

In the current COVID19 scenario, we have started remotely working from home. This, being the year ending, was a crucial time for us. It was one of the most difficult times where we had to prepare our financial statements for the year, manage the Audit to be conducted, and execute everything for our Board Meeting from home. However, we, as a team, emerged outshining in this entire scenario.  

Kailash B Gupta is a great leader and an amazing personality. He loves his work and promotes positivity in the work environment.

Shishir Gupta, CEO of StartupLanes

Kailash is the CFO of INOX, one of India’s top multiplex chains that operate 626 screens in 147 multiplexes across 68 cities of India. The entertainment venture of the renowned INOX Group started its journey in 2002 from its 1st multiplex in Bund Gardens Pune, now entertains 70 Mn guests across the country annually.

In the process, INOX has set high benchmarks of ‘Luxury’, ‘Service’ & ‘Technology’ in the cinema exhibition industry. Thriving on innovativeness, INOX has pioneered plenty of ‘firsts’ in the industry. INOX operates Megaplex at the Inorbit Mall Malad, Mumbai, a multiplex with the highest number of cinema viewing experiences in the world, which is also home to India’s first ScreenX as well as India’s first screen with MX4D® Theater Effects.

INOX was the 1st cinema chain in the country to operate a Laserplex, a multiplex with all the screens enabled with Laser Projection. With the grand & immersive IMAX screens already a part of its repertoire, INOX also has to its credit, Mumbai’s first Samsung Onyx LED screen at the Megaplex. INOX’s 7-star cinema viewing experience, INSIGNIA, has emerged as the top luxury proposition in the country. INOX’s desire to offer tailor-made experiences to its patrons led to the creation of home-grown formats like the vibrant and lively KIDDLES for the young audience, the smart luxury experience CLUB for the discerning guests, and BIG PIX a premium giant screen cinema format. INOX also maintains a sharp focus on F&B and architectural design to stay ahead on the ‘Experience’ curve. INOX has curated a lot of F&B concepts, cuisines, and menu options.

INOX’s focus on developing captivating architectural designs make the multiplexes look aspirational and also complete the ‘Experience’ promise. Driven by its passion to improvise unremittingly and deliver moments that may be treasured by patrons, INOX is committed to operating a sustainable, responsible, and profitable business venture and attain new levels of operational brilliance.