Everyone has their own definition of success. For some, this word may be a huge term, but for others, even small goals achieved may be considered successful. It is a word that many people desire in their lives, but it must be accompanied by a larger-than-life goal and loads of determination.
For Niranjan Gidwani, an Indian national who has lived in the UAE for over 30 years, success is defined by his personal vision and mission statement. It is the ability to rise above the immediate pain of any given situation. It all comes down to imagination. It is about being sensitive to both large and small people. It is about fostering inclusion, being connected to a larger world existence, and giving back more to life than one wishes to take.
Niranjan is currently a Consultant Director, Board Advisor, Member of the UAE Superbrands Council, and a member of the HBR Advisory Council. He is also a board advisor to a new B2B ecommerce TEXUB. Recently, he has also been invited to be a founder member of a new society being formed under the auspices of the UAE authorities. Niranjan is a mechanical engineer and a Master of Business Administration with a specialization in Marketing. He was a state rank holder in school boards and a Government of India National Merit Scholar for six years in a row. His working career began in 1982 and he has worked for a total of 40 plus years. He has always held the belief that financial gain should only be a product of his work, and need not necessarily be the be-all and end-all in life.
His work journeys
Niranjan spent the first eight years of his career in Mumbai, India, and New Delhi, India. He then moved to Hong Kong, where he worked for a few years before being transferred to Dubai in 1992. He has been based in Dubai since then, with brief 2-year stints in Germany and Singapore.
His previous positions have been with large multinational corporations such as SKF bearings, HSBC, and Xerox in India, as well as large transnational groups, a Government of China enterprise, and a Singapore-listed group. Niranjan’s most recent 14-year assignment was as CEO of Eros Group in Dubai. With the full support of the owners, his boss, his team, the Group was built it into a billion-dollar enterprise and one of the most reputable consumer electronics, appliances, and mobile distributor and retailer in the GCC region.
“My work has allowed me to travel on a frequent basis to 59 countries covering all continents. My main area of specialization has been the consumer durables industry, mainly electronics, appliances, mobiles and digital convergence products,” he said.
When Dubai Vibes Magazine asked him what he likes about his current job, he said that work is a part of his life, a passion, and a hobby for him as long as the environment is conducive. He has never accepted the concept of retirement. Simply re-directing one’s occupational goals.
“My most gratifying part about my entire work life also has been; taking talent on a regular basis and investing loads of time to ensure that a majority of them move up the ladder as future leaders, leaving a legacy at work which is better than the one I inherited,” Niranjan added.
Before attaining success
Niranjan, like any other successful person, faced major challenges in life that strengthened him. He comes from a middle-class family with very strong values. His parents and two elder sisters lived a very frugal, tough existence until he started working at the age of 24. There were far too many struggles, and funds were always far insufficient to meet even basic needs.
His parents, he claims, taught him to live a life of dignity and respect. He and his siblings learned how important it is to stay grounded, to live with a universally accepted set of values, by watching them. His family Guru and his father made him read the Holy Quran in English at a young age in order to have a more inclusive outlook on life.
An event in his life that shook him up, and tried to bring him down was the two years of Covid, during which everything was affected. He lost many friends, relatives, and associates, leaving him scarred even to this day.
During the peak of the covid pandemic, out of the blue, one day after the 75-day lockdown period in Dubai ended, he was asked to step down from his role of CEO. His company owners, who have always been like family to him, wanted their sons to take over. For Niranjan, all corporate decisions, no matter how painful they are for him, must be respected. Till this day, he enjoys extremely cordial relations with the owners’ entire family and all his ex-bosses and colleagues.
Since the decision was a major setback and turning point in his life, he thought a little, and then took a call and decided to spend the first 18 months working pro bono and assisting the truly unfortunate as a small way to repay this city for what it has given him.
“My wife, children, sisters, in-laws, and several very close friends and work associates have always stood by me as pillars of strength. I owe a lot to each of them.”
His life after work and his ultimate dream
By nature, this man is extremely disciplined. He always ensures that everything is in balance. As much as possible, he does not like to keep anyone waiting, as his belief is that he has no right to steal someone else’s time. Of what use is it to wear the most expensive watch and not be mindful of someone else’s time.
He enjoys traveling with his family to see new places, try new cuisines, and set a weekly walking and stretch exercises goal for himself. His other interests include reading, music, watching movies and cricket. Recently, he has taken up writing on subjects of business, marketing, corporate governance, leadership and mentoring. His articles now get frequently published in Indian and Gulf publications.
Niranjan states that he has never led an extravagant or ostentatious life, and that he never pursued purely material gains. Make no mistake about it. Money is very important to him and his family, but it must be a byproduct of hard work rather than an end game in and of itself.
Actually, his ultimate goal is to stay as close to and happy with his loved ones as possible, and to prioritize family and friends. Finally, he stated that he considers himself fortunate that his family is always by his side to support him. From his side, Niranjan’s life policy has been that he will never give up on any relationships he has built along the way, no matter how difficult or how many misunderstanding may occur. He does realise that a fair amount of reciprocation is a must for good relationships to flourish.