Rustom Mistry, Sr. Vice President-Asia Pacific & Managing Director
One of the most important challenges looming over humanity is dealing with food insecurity. While climate change and global food supply chain disruption are some of the reasons behind the growing food crisis, it’s the uncontrollable population growth that plays a massive part in the same. An accomplished leader with more than three decades of extensive experience in managing small-to-large multi-cultural and multi-functional teams, Rustom Mistry is currently working as the Vice President-Asia Pacific & MD of AGI (AG Growth International), a leading global provider of equipment and processing solutions for efficient storage, handling, transport, and processing of grain, feed, food, and fertilizer.
Under his able leadership, the firm is focused on helping Asia Pacific customers store, maintain, dry, and move grain efficiently and prevent grain loss, thus making a positive impact on food security and sustainability. In an exclusive interview with CEO Insights ASIA, Rustom discusses AGI as an organization and its current market position, his leadership approach, and much more.
Define AGI as an organization and its current position in the market.
AGI is a leading global provider of equipment and processing solutions for efficient storage, handling, transport, and processing of grain, feed, food, and fertilizer. The firm distributes its products globally through its 31 manufacturing facilities present in Canada, the US, Brazil, Italy, France, and India. From farms where crops are grown and harvested to processing crops into feed for animals or food for people, AGI’s equipment and technology facilitate the handling of grain across the value chain.
In the Asia-Pacific region, we are focused on helping commercial grain terminals with safe as well as efficient storage and movement of a wide range of grains, such as corn, wheat, and rice, which are vital to this region and the world food community. Because of its global capabilities, AGI is one of the few companies that can provide customers with a total solution customized to their grain, rice, or feed needs. Essentially, AGI serves as a one-stop shop where we can offer customers a complete and optimal solution for their needs.
AGI adapts its global knowledge to serve local needs, and this is the real value we give to our customers. Since AGI employees are located in their countries, we can serve customers much faster, communicate in their local language, and make them feel more comfortable with a local team. AGI’s customers range from small facilities comprising of 1-2 grain silos to huge storage facilities with 40-50 grain silos engineered on a turnkey basis.
Could you tell us about the sustainable practices that AGI has adopted in its operations and the company’s visions toward a sustainable future?
Perhaps AGI’s biggest contribution to sustainability is helping the grain industry prevent grain loss by saving what has already been produced. The global population is estimated to reach around nine billion by 2050. It would be a huge challenge to feed this massive population sustainably. While the industry has mostly been focusing on higher yield per hectare and ways to grow more crops in arable land, perhaps more focus should be on preventing grain loss with better bin storage.
My approach, guidelines, and methodologies focus on building independent, committed, and accountable teams while fostering transparency, collaboration, and teamwork Preventing grain loss through improved grain storage could have a positive impact on food security and sustainability. AGI has a unique position in the ag-food infrastructure industry to help customers store, maintain, dry, and move grain more effectively and efficiently. Our mission has been advancing storage, handling, and processing solutions that strengthen the global food supply chain.
What is the motivation that fuels your daily routine?
I am motivated by the vast opportunities for AGI in the Asia-Pacific market. My daily routine is fueled by how effectively AGI operates as a company. AGI is a wonderful place to work as it is a very transparent, flat management organization with minimum hierarchy. We offer customers the most technologically advanced solutions for their unique grain handling and storage needs.
It feels fantastic to see how well AGI has progressed in APAC in the past 2.5 years and currently, is recognized as a formidable player in the industry. We are here to stay and grow our business and give customers the best grain handling and storage equipment solutions to meet their unique needs. Meeting customers, providing them with optimal solutions, and expanding our market are the motivations that fuel my daily routine.
How has been your path to success and what has been the success mantra that constantly helps you arrive at positive outcomes?
The path to my success has been making teams independent and successful. It is all about inspiring teamwork, transparent communication, collaboration, and team spirit; cultivating the right attitude; helping them to be independent and accountable; and sharing accomplishments. For me, it is not a job but a commitment.
Years ago, when I was midway through my career, I learned some of the best leadership skills from a truly remarkable Swiss mentor and boss, who taught me that the most satisfying and meaningful achievement as a team manager is guided by 'how well' the team performs and succeeds. My goal as a team leader is to help those around me to succeed. A business usually offers individuals two career work streams to either be an Expert or a Manager. While an expert, similar to a tennis player, focuses on winning individually, the manager is like a football coach – helping the team win through his guidance. My success mantra is based on the three vital attributes required to become a good team player. They are the right attitude, flexibility, and commitment. At AGI, we are focused on working together as a team and committed to meeting the needs of our customers.
Rustom Mistry, Sr. Vice President-Asia Pacific & Managing Director, AGI
Rustom is an accomplished leader with more than three decades of extensive experience in managing small-to-large multi-cultural and multi-functional teams and has previously worked for reputedfirms, such as Bühler Group of Companies and Larsen and Turbo. Currently, he serves as the Senior Vice President of Asia Pacific and Managing Director at AGI, responsible for the company’s regional growth in providing grain storage, handling, and processing equipment solutions to commercial grain, feed, and rice milling customers.
• Hobbies: Hiking, Traveling & Sampling different kinds of cuisines & Spending time with family
• Favorite Cuisine: Home-cooked Indian food
• Favorite Book: The Blue Ocean Strategy by Renee Mauborgne and W. Chan Kim.
• Favorite Travel Destination: Europe & Southeast Asia