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Get to Know OSG

A Conversation with Arvind Vij, Our COO and General Counsel

By OSG Team on April 11, 2022

Tell us about your roles at OSG, as both COO and General Counsel.

The specific responsibilities are split between the two roles:

As COO, I speak on a regular basis with Sukumar, our CEO, and the rest of our management team and independently to prospective investors and potential partners for the company. I also manage our current and ongoing relationships with partners and investors. In the absence of a CIO and CHRO, I’m in charge of our internal IT support services, in conjunction with administration oversight on procurement and support for our HR function as well.  As a COO, I am responsible for ensuring there is business continuity, better planning, and continued focus on executing our strategic plan.

As the General Counsel, I’m in charge of the legal and compliance function for OSG, from the day-to-day legal review of documents such as contracts, and employment agreements, to addressing and managing various compliance and regulatory issues. On a broader scale, I also manage the corporate secretarial support which included all our international legal entities, managing corporate agreements, policies, and standards for protecting data and information, privacy, security, and working relationships with our customers.  In addition, as company secretary, I manage our Board of Director meetings, communication, and administrative issues and ensure continuous flow and engagement of our board members of which, Dr. Sukumar is the Executive Chairperson. I am also responsible for OSG’s intellectual property portfolio and together with my team, we file patents, trademarks, service marks, and copyrights, ensuring protection for our key intellectual property.  Last but not the least, I am also responsible for the upkeep of all documentation and physical assets that the company may own or lease, including real estate, offices, and other materials and services.

I led the initiative to bring onboard the Defense Health Administration contract.  I was asked to manage the partnership with Nolij Consulting, and to get OSG listed for Government contracts.  This was a very exciting task for me, and I am delighted to see the huge win for OSG.  This is a new industry that has tremendous opportunities for OSG with huge potential.

Speaking of company real estate, I hear there’s some exciting news on the horizon…

Over the last year, we’ve been expanding OSG’s global footprint.  For example, in 2021 we set up legal entities in Ireland, Brazil, and in 2022 in Canada.  We will soon be registering OSG in Singapore and the Philippines.  We recently opened an office in Manhattan, New York City and I was responsible for negotiating lease agreements and supporting the furnishing of the NYC office.  With the new office space, I expect our talent to work in a hybrid and safe manner wherever our talent is close to our main offices.  I believe strongly that our talent would benefit considerably, and others would see rapid career progression if they make time to work together for 3 days a week while being close to one of our offices.  A good office environment can lead to higher productivity, provide for a great learning experience, increase productivity, and above all be welcoming to talent.  We’re excited about our growing global footprint and our continued improvement as a workplace, to ensure that we are able to continue to attract and retain talent.

As a leader of a company that encompasses the globe, how do you characterize the culture of OSG?

Diverse, open, accommodative, and flexible. I don’t know where those words came from, but they suddenly felt like they fit. When outside people ask me to describe the culture, from investors to partners, I describe it as a mature start-up. It has the wisdom that comes with maturity, but the flexibility that comes with start-ups.

It’s been a very interesting journey, I’ve been at OSG for five and a half years, my time has progressed very rapidly, and I am excited for all the growth at OSG. There’s a lot of opportunity for OSG with our products, solutions, and services. I believe very strongly in our talent, the leadership, the technology we continue to develop, the opportunities we have in front of us, and the products we offer to our customers. There’s a lot more work to do to build a great workplace, continuously grow, and develop a culture of customer first.  I feel a lot of great respect, collaboration, and communication around me between teams and team members who work closely at OSG. I am excited to share this during interviews with candidates who are considering a position at OSG.  When a prospective new talent asks me about the culture at OSG, I am so excited to respond about what a great place it is to work here.  I have been on some calls, where some of our customers have spoken very highly, about how much our talent gets to learn while being at OSG.  I am very bullish and optimistic about OSG’s future, rapid growth, and customer-centric approach to designing, developing, and delivering products and services.  I feel that in my whole being.

What has been the impact of the pandemic on you specifically and for the company as a whole?

The pandemic has been hard on everyone.  Working remotely can be a challenge.  But we are so fortunate that our talent has worked closely, in a collaborative fashion, using technology, and communicating constantly to ensure that our customers got tremendous value from the work we deliver for them.

In fact, we have grown and doubled our size during this pandemic.  We have made many more talent hires around the globe, opened multiple company registrations, and seen tremendous revenue growth.  Our management is focused on improving work-life balance, providing better tools to help our talent plan their day-to-work, empowering managers to coach, and provide feedback, and above all providing our talent with a clear pathway for growth and excitement at OSG.  We plan to implement multiple initiatives that will yield even greater collaboration and communication among our talent, leading to a greater emphasis on the wellness of our talent.

Any tips for working from home, staying mindful of your work-life balance, and taking care of yourself?

I have five tips for working from home:

  1. Plan your day and possibly your entire week
  2. Ensure you have a clear space to work away from any distractions
  3. Limit meeting times to no more than 45 minutes in an hour
  4. Make sure that you have time to focus on what you need to get done and keep internal and customer meetings to be ones where your presence is absolutely needed
  5. Take time to shut away from the day’s work to recharge. Involve yourself in other activities or hobbies, including time with family.  Do not email or text during those times

Any hobbies or interests you’ve picked up during the last couple of years?

I used to play golf but would love to get back to the links.  I have started to make time to get to the range and apart from this, the automotive industry is of great interest to me, and I spend some of the free time I have keeping abreast of new happenings.

How do you manage your teams effectively, balancing both of your roles?

We have small teams currently.  I work directly with one person helping me support legal review, with our IT leader (Meenakshi), and with those involved in HR.  With the hiring of Chris Roth, as our CFO, I am excited to be working with him to ensure we manage the business to rapid growth by working closely with other members of the management team.

What are the best parts of your job as COO and General Counsel?

Every day is a bit different. I start each day with a list of 20 things that need to get done on that day, only to get phone calls and emails about 20 other things. What I like is that every day is different, and every day is a challenge, and that’s where I thrive. I don’t like the status quo, I like the challenge of growth and learning. It’s exciting and fun if you like something different and fun to do. To succeed in a role like this, you must focus on going beyond the status quo and developing new ideas, being flexible, and willing to do lots of different tasks that will help OSG succeed and grow rapidly.

As you think about the next 12-18 months, what are you most excited about, with regards to OSG?

I’m very excited about the growth opportunities at OSG.  Our CEO has a fantastic vision, and we plan to expand across many different verticals and industries.  Our focus on delivering customer value and outcomes is very different from traditional competitors and this will demonstrate our areas of differentiation from our customers.  and I am very excited about our recent win with the DHA, on the government side. The vision to diversify our portfolio of customers was well thought and we placed all our energy and excitement into it.  It was the hard work of people like Kartik Gopal and others that allowed us all to gain some new knowledge and experience and deliver a very successful outcome in this important new area for OSG.  For me personally and professionally, the government sector is an area I can continue to learn, whether it’s jurisdictional or with legal and compliance topics. I want to make sure that I continue learning and that’s what I strive to do every day at OSG.