R.S. Raghav: Inspiring Leader Soaring Majestically like Phoenix

R.S. Raghav,CEOWe all know how tough it can be for a first-generation entrepreneur to raise a fund of more than Rs.151 crore from a Private Equity firm! But, R.S. Raghav (CEO, Oaknet) gained more than what he bargained for, in his very first meeting with investment bankers; tremendous credit to his stellar reputation &rich expertise. All he wanted was a few bucks to manage the cash flow of Oaknet Life sciences, his bootstrapped pharmaceutical company with sheer focus on Non-Communicable Diseases (NCD). Serendipitously, his entrepreneurial journey took a fairy tale-like diversion, as the bankers suggested Raghav to acquire Adcock Ingram, a Rs.115 crore company. Proving them right, today Raghav has propelled Oaknet to an impressive 87th position with over 1200 employees spread across the country. Headquartered in Bangalore, the company has offices in Mumbai& Goa by building humungous promotional tactics and fast-tracking them with technology – a strategy huge companies were reluctant to pursue.

Unquenchable Thirst for Knowledge

Born in a family that has been in army for generations, Raghav aspired to join the army, but got rejected due to a small medical evaluation. Nevertheless, the solidarity that runs in his veins has shaped him into a man with high sense of discipline, commitment, integrity & courage. “Technology changes at the blink of an eye. Reading about business & technological trends
will help you find the kind of technologies that can ameliorate your business,” recommends Raghav. He is confident that his reading habit constantly upgrades his knowledge, enlarges his vision and style of operation. This avid reader He moved on to become a medical representative in 1985 in Fulford(India) and moved to Lupinin 1986 and kept on building diverse capabilities as he played various roles such as Regional Sales Manager & General Manager, which ultimately chaired him as Lupin’s Executive Vice President. He further honed his plentiful hands-on knowledge by doing an MBA course in correspondence in 2000 and a certification course in ‘Aligning Strategy and Execution’conducted by Harvard Business School, which aided him to understand the thought process of millennial generation.

believes that Bhagavad Gita has all the philosophical answers, while‘The fortune at the bottom of the pyramid’ tops the list of his favourite business books.This unquenchable thirst for knowledge has won him numerous trophies akin to ‘5th INDY’s MARCOM Professional of the Year 2011– pharmaceuticals’,‘CMO Asia Awards for Excellence in Branding & Marketing’ and ‘Brand Leadership Award’ (2010) conferred by World Brand Congress 2010.

Such profound capabilities, knowledge regarding the bountiful opportunities available in IPM (Indian Pharma Market) and confidence in creating a better value for stakeholders prompted him to embark on his own venture in 2015. Raghav amassed a team of experts who have as deep roots (cumulative experience of 150 years in IPM) as the Oak tree for which the company was named.His first six months of entrepreneurship taught him that there tend to be copious hits & misses that can derail overall cash flow & projections. Having invested all his life savings in one go, he approached banks for loans. Though his mother, wife and a few friends encouraged him to follow his heart, many advised him to get a good job instead. Rising like a Phoenix from the
ashes with a resolute attitude, Raghav avoids the reoccurrence of such dreadful stress by charting out detailed plans.

Operational Excellence

As a member of Lupin’s management committee, Raghav has often interacted with its Founder & Chairman Dr.Desh Bandhu Gupta, whose optimism, habit of chasing higher goals and empowering teams to achieve the same has amazed and inspired him. Imbibing those values, Raghav often brainstorms with his team, derives their (historically helpful) inputs, teaches them to transform their free wheeling ideas into business; thereby fostering future entrepreneurs. “They are encouraged to take risk and taught to stick to the value system – never compromise and don’t look for shortcut,” asserts Raghav. Oaknet’s representatives are getting armed with tablets, which will facilitate them to communicate effectively with doctors with latest scientific reports. Raghav’s operational excellence and Oaknet’s inspiring growth story has been keeping attrition at bay.

The Yardstick of Success

His wife (a PhD doctor& Head of Languages in Delhi Public School), daughter (Captain Army Medical Corps) and son (Chartered Accountant) has been tremendously supportive throughout his career,as he was changing places along with jobs. They unfailingly find quality time to spend with each other, despite their busy schedules. Raghav measures success with not the yardstick of money, but with the ability to contribute to the society, good health and maintaining proper relationship with family & friends. Supporting the education of underprivileged children is a cause very close to his heart. In fact, he is sponsoring some of such education initiatives. Raghav intends to grow Oaknet inorganically as well by acquiring more organizations working in NCD area that are a strategic fit, scalable, has room for value creation and comes at a right price.