Offbeat: Peshwa Acharya – medicine’s loss is marketing’s gain
Adgully’s special feature section – ‘Offbeat’ – seeks to give a peek into the lesser known facets of our very well-known industry leaders. We present, in the industry leaders’ own words, an interesting read on areas that are not usually highlighted in regular media coverage – be it about their childhood days, secret skills that they possess, how they unwind from their hectic schedules, and much more.
Peshwa Acharya, Chief Marketing Officer, Sterling Holiday Resorts Ltd (a Fairfax and Thomas Cook company), began his professional journey at P&G and has worked across FMCG, retail, telecom, e-commerce, digital products, and the hospitality sectors.
Over the last 25 years, he has worked with P&G, Reckitt Benckiser, Pepsi, Dabur, Vodafone, Reliance Retail, Housing.com, etc. One of his career highlights was the ideation, launch and rollout of the various formats/ businesses of Reliance Retail (Reliance Fresh Mart, Super, Reliance Digital, AutoZone, Apple store) as the Chief Marketing Officer.
Acharya is an avid reader, writer, and guest faculty and industry speaker. He enjoys travelling the world, trying out interesting new cuisines, writing on Consumer Marketing, Digital Marketing, etc. He also founded his own entrepreneurial ventures: Think as Consumer and Leven Healthcare.
He is an alumni of IIM Calcutta and IIT Kharagpur. In 2015, Acharya was handpicked as the first CEO of IIT Bombay Research & Innovation Park (ASPIRE).
A precious childhood trait that you still possess?
It’s a difficult question, but I would say that the childhood trait that I still possess is curiosity. I have always had a very curious mind as a child, in search of new places, new destinations, new people, new inventions, new facts, science, technology, cuisine, etc. My childhood trait of curiosity has only gotten stronger with time.
Ever wished you had superhero powers?
There was a comic character named Mandrake - the Magician whom I deeply admired. I was fascinated by his magic tricks and dreamt of having similar magical powers.
I also wish to have the power to teleport, wherein I can be across all locations in spite of being in one place.
What is your biggest fear and how do you face it?
One may have a lot of fears, but to name my biggest fear – I fear losing connectivity with my loved ones. Considering this fear, I always keep a lot of technology backups, such as multiple SIM cards, landlines, etc., to make sure I am never disconnected from my family and friends.
A secret that you have which no one knows about?
I think most of my colleagues are not aware that I was an ace water polo champion and swimming champion. In my school days, I even represented West Bengal in swimming tournaments.
What would one find in your playlist?
I have a huge playlist mostly consisting of retro songs. However, my most preferred song is ‘Where do you go my lovely’ by Peter Sarstedt.
Your go-to activity to relax?
I love long drives on a smooth road, usually out of the city with my family and friends, as I feel that’s the best way to spend time with my family.
What is the greatest lesson that you have learnt from life so far?
I have experienced a lot of great lessons in the last 27 years. However, the greatest one is that no matter what, we should always be humble and have gratitude towards what we already have.
A social cause that you are most passionate about?
Even though our country is prospering, I believe somewhere education has been getting defocused for the last two decades. Addressing this aspect, I want to contribute by encouraging education in the most productive manner, with concepts like vocational education and language training, etc.
What’s the one thing you would like to change about yourself?
There are a lot of things. I am emotionally connected to food, but I want to reduce my love for it, for the better.
If not in your current designation, what would you have been?
After my 12th grade, I got into in AIIMS medical institution to pursue my career as a neurosurgeon, but my mother insisted I get into IIT. Surgery is what I really wanted to study. If I had perused it, probably I would have been a neurosurgeon by now.
What are the three apps on your mobile that you couldn’t live without?
I cannot live without Uber. Other than that, Netflix and Instagram keep me socially connected.
Any content/ film or book you saw or read recently and why?
I really liked the book ‘Back of the Napkin’ by Dan Roam. The content is in the form of several diagrams, like the way you give ‘fundas’ on a napkin. It addresses various business problems, and I would recommend it to all the young managers, entrepreneurs and executives.
Which two organisations outside your own do you know the most people at and why?
For a really long time I worked with Reliance, which is a very large organisation. Being once the CMO of Reliance Retail, I know a lot of people in that organisation.
The second organisation where I know a lot of people would be the ‘Government of India’. Except for the police authorities, I am connected with the other set of bureaucratic authorities.
Two things about this industry you don’t like or don’t understand?
I actually kind of like the holiday industry. But for the young ones who seek to make a career in this industry, the initial period is highly stressful along with being away from home (not necessarily in metros), and sometimes doing jobs where work hours can extend to 24x7.
Another unfortunate aspect of this industry is to be in high gear during holidays, weekends or public holidays, while others are vacationing and taking a break.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would you live?
As most of my life I have lived in metro cities, I wish to live in a small beautiful place away from the city buzz. There is a place called Ölüdeniz, located in the southern side of Turkey in Ontario coast, and another place called Tranquebar, the only Danish settlement which is around 5-6 hours’ drive from Chennai.