Rajesh Warrier: An Accomplished Leader Spearheading The Organizational Growth Through Effective Business Strategies

Rajesh Warrier: An Accomplished Leader Spearheading The Organizational Growth Through Effective Business Strategies

Rajesh Warrier , Group COO

Rajesh Warrier

Group COO

A true leader has a knack for current in­dustry trends and innovation. In this current era of extremely volatile market growth, leaders across the world have become highly adaptive to be able to swiftly react to ever-changing industrial scenar­ios to ensure both individual and organizational growth. Starting his career as an Accountant, Rajesh Warrier later moved to Dubai in 2000 before joining Air Cargo Trader, a Dubai-based leading Cargo Airline Management service pro­vider, in 2004. Over the years, he has taken up various responsibilities and portfolios while ris­ing through the ranks and learning the trades in the transport & logistics sector. Today, as the Group COO of the firm, Rajesh has been using his extensive experience and able leadership to create a culture of teamwork while spearheading the organizational growth in terms of portfolio diversification as well as geographical expansion. In an exclusive interview with CEO Insights ASIA, Rajesh sheds light on his professional journey, his leadership approach and career accomplish­ments, and much more.

Could you give a brief account of your profes­sional background and experiences? What is the motivation that fuels your daily routines?

I started my career as an Accountant in Mumbai almost three decades back. In 2000, I moved to Dubai and later, joined Air Cargo Trader, again as an Accountant, in 2004. Being a part of this organi­zation gave me a deep insight into the Transport & Logistics sector with Air Freight being our core ex­pertise. That is when my interests gradually started to swing more towards the commercial side and I quickly started learning the tricks of the trade. Later, I decided to gain experience in different do­mains other than accounting and tried my hands at various portfolios, such as administrative work, commercial business development, and many more.

I also had a good boss who, down the line, helped me unleash my full potential. Later, I was promoted as General Manager in operation centers and com­mercial front business development before finally becoming the Group COO of this organization. I am one of those classic examples of an individual growing within & along with the organization he is associated with. As aptly said, “An organization is not about the offices or the desks and fixtures but about the people who run it together.” What drives me is the fact that my performance is not just ben­efiting me or my family but also our employees and their families.

Define Air Cargo Trader as an organization and its position in the market. What are the skill sets you look for in fresh candi­dates?

As a neutral Cargo General Sales Agent, the core activity of Air Cargo Trader (ACT) is to represent Airlines and sell the cargo capacity that they have in the offing within the territory of UAE. Apart from that, we are also involved in multiple other business functionalities, including flight handling at the airport. Coming to its market po­sition, founded in 2004, ACT is currently one of the leading Cargo GSA organizations in the UAE.

There are mainly three attributes that I look for in a fresh candidate - Attitude, Reliability, and Adaptability. The right attitude helps an in­dividual in taking up a job while keeping his ego away. Reliability makes you honest in what you do and finally, adaptability is the ability to adapt to any situation or job profile. Other than these three parameters, any individual can be trained in any other parameters or skill sets required.

Tell us about your leadership approach. Reflect on some of the toughest challenges you have encountered in your journey so far and how did you mitigate them.

Ever since I took over the charge as the Group COO, the first thing that I successfully executed is to create a sense of ownership in each & every employee of the company. As a firm believer in teamwork, I don't believe in micromanagement and have been able to build a successful team by making everyone on the team a manager of their given tasks or generating a sense of ownership in them.

If you want to walk fast, walk alone. But if you want to walk far, walk together

One of the biggest challenges in my career has been transitioning from an administrative/ back-office profile to a full fledged Commercial & Business Development forefront while dealing closely with the vendors/service providers and the customers. To mitigate this challenge, I decid­ed to get back to the basics and accomplish some professional courses in Logistics, especially Air Freight. Recently, I completed my Master’s degree from Michigan State University in Supply Chain Management & Logistics. Even though I was ini­tially worried about the transition, I am proud of people’s immediate acceptance and recognition of me in a different portfolio.

Going forward, what are the changes in market behavior that you anticipate and what are the opportunities that you fore­see?

Given the fact that the world is fresh coming out of the challenging times triggered by the pan­demic, I foresee a lot of opportunities, especially in our industry. The supply chain was disrupted for a good couple of years, leaving us all in a bottleneck. However, gradually, we are witness­ing ease in that area. I foresee all players in the supply chain, including Shippers, Freight For­warders, Maritime movers & Airlines, becoming mighty dynamic in their approach and coming up with creative ideas to recoup what’s lost in the recent past. Even many of the reputed Maritime companies have started diversifying and forming their own Airlines to grab the Air Freight market. Coming to the future roadmap of ACT, I aim to diversify and expand our business portfolio and have been extensively traveling across the world, especially to the US, Far East countries, and Af­rica. In the next five years, I foresee a portfolio diversification for ACT, especially in the trans­port & logistics sector.

In light of your strong experience within the industry, what advice would you give to budding industry leaders?

I strongly believe in one of the quotes shared by Ratan Tata ji that says 'If you want to walk fast, walk alone. But if you want to walk far, walk to­gether.' My advice to budding leaders of this in­dustry would be to adopt this philosophy at work and dump the style of Micro Management. Add­ing to that, keep yourself updated & upgraded with the latest tools that IT and AI has to offer and incorporate those in your company to stay at par with the competition, if not ahead. Be the right person to be at the right place at the right time. While the latter two are not in your control, ensuring that you are the right person is in your hands.

Rajesh Warrier, Group COO, Air Cargo Trader

An accomplished professional with extensive experience of more than three decades in various domains, including Finance, International Operations, Commercial & Financial Affairs, and many more, Rajesh currently works as the Group COO at Dubai-based leading Cargo Airline Management service provider, Air Cargo Trader. An inspiring leader with a strong focus on team building, Rajesh has completed his Bachelor’s degree from Bombay University and his Master's in Supply Chain Management from Michigan State University in the US.


Hobbies: Sports and music

Favorite Cuisine: Indonesian

Favorite Book: And Then There Were None by Agatha Christie

Favorite Travel Destination: Lucerne and Interlaken, Switzerland

Awards & Recognition: (For organization)

ACT has been winning the top performer awards by Emirates Airlines for the last eight years.

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