A week in the life of.. Sanjay Raghunath, chairman and managing director, Centena Group - Gulf Business
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A week in the life of.. Sanjay Raghunath, chairman and managing director, Centena Group

A week in the life of.. Sanjay Raghunath, chairman and managing director, Centena Group

Raghunath is an early riser with a penchant for yoga and gardening


My typical week in the UAE starts on Sunday. My day starts at 3.30am, both on weekdays and weekends. I am an early riser and have done so without fail for many years now, no matter how late I go to bed. I start work at 4:00am and for almost an hour and a half look into all the important emails and communicate important decisions to my respective teams. With businesses spread across the Middle East, Africa, Southeast Asia, India and Europe, it is critical to communicate and take decisions quite early in the day. Yoga and exercise are part of my daily routine, especially when I am in the UAE. For some reason I tend to practice it more irregularly when I am travelling, which I do for almost two to three weeks in a month. Between 5:30am and 7:30am is my time for yoga and exercise with some breaks in between, when I look into other important stuff.

When I am in Dubai, I pursue my other hobbies like gardening, taking care of plants and spending time with my pet – a German Shepherd that I am very fond of. It used to be a show dog and has even won the ‘best in breed’ category a few years ago. This is my routine almost every single day of the week and even during weekends.

Sunday being the first day of the week, I usually reach the office by 10:00am. We follow an open office policy, whereby anyone can meet me any time, I usually make myself available as much as possible.


After following my usual morning routine, I reach the office at 10:00am. Centena Group has various divisions offering diversified solutions in the fields of marine electronics, industrial automation, life and analytical sciences, identification and security and educational training systems. I have given enough flexibility and complete freedom to the division heads to independently manage the day-to-day affairs of the business. Meetings are usually held based on their requirements. I have always believed in exception related management.


Today I get some time to focus on another major aspect of my life. Apart from Centena Group, I am also a member of the Entrepreneurs’ Organisation – a global business network of entrepreneurs with a presence across 52 nations and 167 chapters, and more than 12,000 members. Last year I was appointed to the global board of EO as one of its directors, and I also head the organisation’s finance division. I leave the office by 4:30pm and concentrate on EO matters after an early dinner before heading to bed at 10:30pm.


I give the utmost importance to employee welfare programmes and I am a firm believer that happy employees are the driving force of any successful organisation. Like always, I have lunch at our office café. That’s where I get to casually interact with employees on a regular basis. In addition, I have a monthly special coffee time with an employee, dubbed ‘coffee with Sanjay’, where I go out with an employee to a coffee shop and we get an opportunity to discuss anything under the sun. It has resulted in some excellent opportunities to bond with employees.


Today I spend some time preparing future travel. My business travel usually takes me out of the country for about 20 days in a month, and next week I am travelling to Mexico and Costa Rica. These trips are not only for Centena Group but for EO as well. This trip is for the global board meeting of EO and for mentoring and guiding young entrepreneurs from the region


Despite it being the weekend, my morning routine remains the same today. Offices in the rest of the world continue to function, so I am working from home but at a more relaxed pace. I spend a good time with my family watching movies, having dinner and other activities.


Today I get a good workout by playing badminton with colleagues. At Centena we have a programme called COLOURS. As part of the initiative, we have booked a sports facility across the year where employees can come and play tennis, badminton and cricket. I make it a point to play badminton every Saturday for about an hour and a half. It is an additional opportunity to bond with employees outside the workplace.


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