“Technology is revolutionizing legal and compliance functions, offering innovative solutions to streamline processes, enhance efficiency, and mitigate risks”- Ashish Pandey, General Counsel and Company Secretary, Luminous Power Technologies (P) Ltd.

This Interview has been published by Pragya Chandni and The SuperLawyer Team

Your career journey reflects a diverse range of experiences in legal, regulatory, compliance, and governance roles across various industries. What initially drew you to pursue a career in law and company secretarial services?

My fascination with the intersection of law, business, and governance led me into the legal and company secretarial realm. The structured yet dynamic nature of the legal profession, coupled with the opportunity to make a tangible impact by upholding justice and promoting ethical conduct, resonated deeply with my values. Recognizing the pivotal role of governance and compliance in safeguarding stakeholders’ interests, I pursued company secretarial services to foster transparency, accountability, and regulatory adherence across industries.

With over two decades of experience, including more than 10 years heading the secretarial department of listed companies, what pivotal moments or experiences shaped your expertise in corporate governance and compliance?

With over two decades in corporate governance and compliance, including over 10 years leading secretarial departments of listed firms, I’ve been shaped by pivotal moments. These include navigating regulatory changes, managing crises, collaborating with boards, and participating in M&A. Ethical dilemmas and ongoing learning also contributed, deepening my understanding and enhancing crisis management and governance skills, ensuring relevance in a dynamic corporate landscape.

Your profile highlights significant achievements, such as orchestrating complex business hive-offs and leading big-ticket arbitrations. Could you share a particularly challenging situation you encountered in your career and how you navigated through it?

One notable challenge involved managing a high-stakes arbitration involving intricate contractual disputes. I strategically collaborated with legal experts, meticulously analyzed evidence, and maintained clear communication with stakeholders to navigate the complex legal terrain. Ultimately, our comprehensive approach led to a favorable resolution, showcasing resilience and strategic acumen.

As VP Legal & Company Secretary at Luminous Power Technologies, you’ve led initiatives to enhance ethics and compliance programs, resulting in increased employee awareness and adherence to regulatory requirements. What strategies did you employ to achieve such notable improvements?

Implementing a multifaceted approach, I initiated comprehensive training sessions, disseminated clear and concise compliance guidelines, and established robust reporting mechanisms to encourage ethical behavior. Additionally, fostering a culture of transparency and accountability, I regularly communicated the importance of compliance from top leadership down. These strategies not only heightened employee awareness but also cultivated a culture of integrity, resulting in enhanced compliance and regulatory adherence across the organization.

Collaboration seems to be a recurring theme in your career, whether it’s fostering collaboration with stakeholders or leading cross-functional teams. How do you approach building and maintaining effective collaborations, especially in complex legal and regulatory environments?

In navigating complex legal and regulatory environments, I prioritize open communication, mutual respect, and a shared commitment to common goals. By fostering an inclusive culture that values diverse perspectives and expertise, I promote active collaboration across departments and stakeholders. Regular meetings, clear delegation of responsibilities, and establishing common metrics for success help maintain alignment and momentum. Additionally, cultivating strong interpersonal relationships and demonstrating empathy fosters trust and strengthens collaborative efforts, ensuring collective success in achieving strategic objectives.

Your experience includes extensive work in listed companies and leading rights issues. What unique challenges do you face in managing legal and regulatory matters in a listed company, and how do you address them?

Managing legal and regulatory matters in listed companies presents unique challenges due to heightened scrutiny, stringent reporting requirements, and the need for transparent governance. I address these challenges by prioritizing proactive compliance measures, staying abreast of evolving regulations, and fostering a culture of transparency and accountability. Regular communication with regulatory bodies, thorough risk assessments, and robust internal controls help mitigate potential issues. Additionally, building strong relationships with legal counsel and leveraging technology for efficient compliance tracking are essential. By taking a proactive and collaborative approach, I ensure legal and regulatory compliance while facilitating sustainable growth and investor confidence.

Implementing IT-based governance tools for monitoring trademarks, designs, and patents showcases your adaptability to technological advancements. How do you see technology shaping the future of legal and compliance functions, and what role do you envision it playing in the coming years?

Technology is revolutionizing legal and compliance functions, offering innovative solutions to streamline processes, enhance efficiency, and mitigate risks. In the future, advancements such as artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain, and data analytics will play a pivotal role in transforming how legal and compliance tasks are performed. AI-powered tools can automate routine tasks like contract review, allowing legal professionals to focus on strategic initiatives. Blockchain technology offers secure and transparent transaction records, enhancing compliance with regulatory requirements such as data privacy laws. Data analytics enable proactive risk identification and predictive compliance monitoring, empowering organizations to anticipate and address potential issues before they escalate. Additionally, cloud-based platforms facilitate collaboration and information sharing, improving communication and alignment across departments. Embracing these technological innovations will be crucial for staying competitive and agile in a rapidly evolving regulatory landscape, enabling legal and compliance functions to proactively address challenges and drive business success.

Finally, considering your wealth of experience, what advice would you offer to fresh graduates aspiring to enter the field of law, corporate governance, or compliance?

For fresh graduates aspiring to enter law, corporate governance, or compliance fields, I offer several pieces of advice. Firstly, prioritize gaining practical experience through internships, clerkships, or entry-level positions to supplement academic knowledge with real-world insights. Secondly, continuously invest in professional development by pursuing further education, certifications, and staying updated on industry trends and regulatory changes. Additionally, cultivate strong communication, analytical, and problem-solving skills, as these are essential for success in these fields. Networking with professionals in the industry and seeking mentorship can provide valuable guidance and opportunities for growth. Lastly, demonstrate integrity, ethics, and a commitment to upholding legal and regulatory standards, as these qualities are highly valued in the corporate world. By embracing these principles and actively pursuing opportunities for growth and learning, aspiring professionals can embark on a rewarding and fulfilling career in law, corporate governance, or compliance.

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