Issue 8 2023

38 | Acquisition International, Issue 8 2023 E-Grocery CFO of the Year 2023 (UK): Vineta Bajaj hen Vineta Bajaj was offered the role of Chief Financial Officer at Rohlik Group, she grabbed the bull by the horns. She tells us that she just “really wanted to do it again” – because she loved the part she played in transforming Ocado into the goliath it is today. She simply wants to do it again and, this time, for Rohlik Group. “I’ve spent the last 10 years supporting them [Ocado] develop a strategy, working out how to grow internationally, raising significant funds and talking to retailers around the world about the changes in how customers shop,” she says. “I want to be in this industry [e-grocery]. I get this industry. I get food – trust me, I get food,” she laughs. While both Ocado and Rohlik both operate in e-grocery, Vineta tells us that there is a distinct difference. She explains, “Obviously, on Ocado, the grocery offering is next day delivery, but also, you might still pop into your local bakery to getthat favourite loaf of bread, you might use Deliveroo, or do a top-up shop at your local convenience store. What Rohlik does is similar but better– your big weekly grocery shop – but Rohlik also build relationships with the best local bakeries, local butchers and those locals who are highly considered in the communities we operate, including small local suppliers who don’t have much of an online presence we work with them to get them into the Rohlik assortment for all of our customers to try! We work with farmers so that whatever they harvest can be in your kitchen by that evening. A real farm to fork offering!” With the philosophy of “Eat Well, Live Well”, Rohlik’s mission is simple: to help Europeans lead happier and healthier lives. Its unique customer experience involves a combination of fast, precise delivery with a large assortment of foods available with great value for money. Rohlik can deliver orders within 60 minutes or 15-minute same-day time slots, with over 17,000 items to choose from and prices that are competitive with the competition!. This offering includes well-priced private brands, and locally sourced goods from small farmers and producers, as well as top international brands. Aspiring to become a prominent example of a new 21st-century retailer, Rohlik Group not only strives to deliver outstanding service, but its unique business model also has a keen focus on sustainability, alongside utilising proprietary technology and data-driven processes. Specifically in relation to sustainability, Rohlik has launched the likes of CNG powered cars, electrical delivery vehicles with plans for a fully electric fleet being in operation, cargo bikes, reusable and eco-friendly packaging, an innovative “save the food” programme to sell out pre-expiry products, reduction of its CO2 footprint with tree planting programmes, and most recently, the introduction of reusable bags. So, how did Vineta Bajaj get to where she is at Rohlik today? For starters, education is an important part of it – and she really enjoys learning. Vineta has a first-class degree in Accounting and Finance from the University of Limerick, but she also has multiple certifications under her belt from Chartered Accountants Ireland, including a Diploma in IFRS, a Certificate in New UK and Irish GAAP, a Diploma in Internal Audit and Risk Management, and an Advanced Certificate in US GAAP. She is both Chartered Tax and Accounting qualified. Indeed, Vineta decided to train in audit, too, as she says, “I think both audit work coupled with an appreciation of tax work together really well. I really wanted to understand both sides.” What’s more, she even funds all of her training herself outside of her original ACA exams. Thus, Vineta’s knowledge is extensive – and so too is her experience. She began her career in finance in 2007 as Financial Services Auditor for KPMG Ireland. From there, she joined €8 billion PLC listed multinational company, Kerry Group, also based in Ireland, in 2012 as Technical Financial Accountant. The six years spent across these roles set a solid foundation for her to take on the finance side of things at Ocado, which is where she discovered her enthusiasm for the e-grocery sector. In 2013, at 26-years-old, Vineta moved to the UK to become Senior Financial Reporting Accountant at Ocado, telling us, “It was actually the best decision of my career because I joined as a Senior Accountant, managing the audit, technical accounting – all the stuff I’d just done [at Kerry Group]. Within a year, I’d been promoted to Group Reporting Manager.” Over the course of the decade, Vineta fulfilled further roles of Group Financial Controller, Head of Tax, Group Treasurer, and by 2019 she’d become Group Finance Director. One of Vineta’s key contributions during her time at Ocado was the introduction of a new ERP system, as the company had been operating manually via Excel and, as a result, was seeing a lot of errors. Vineta decided a change was needed, so she implemented the Hyperion software and later on, the implementation of Oracle Fusion. Meanwhile, being the only taxqualified staff member in the business at the time, she agreed to cover tax for six months. She then played her part in being Head of Tax and building a Founded in 2014 by Tomáš Čupr, Rohlik Group is one of Europe’s leading online grocery delivery services, operating in Czechia, Germany, Austria, Hungary, and Romania. At the beginning of this year, the company welcomed Vineta Bajaj on board as CFO, who brings with her a wealth of experience in online grocery and finance – much of which she gained from her time working in various roles at pioneering online grocery and technology logistics innovator, Ocado Group. Now, Vineta has been deservingly recognised within the Global CFO Excellence Awards 2023, and we speak to her to learn more about her outstanding success within the finance and e-grocery industry. W “ The shortening of the farm-tofork supply chain ensures European customers can access fresher, local, and more authentic food, faster. “ Jun23659