It's easier to succeed if you have failed: Elior India CEO Sanjay Kumar

The Proust Questionnaire is a questionnaire about one’s personality. It has its origins in a parlour game popularised by Marcel Proust, the French essayist, who believed that, in answering these questions, an individual reveals his or her true nature.

Sanjay Kumar is the CEO of Elior India, a subsidiary of France based Elior Group, a premium contract culinary services company and a global player in the food services industry. With over 4000 employees, Elior India serves around 2 lakh freshly prepared meals every day to Fortune 500 and Multinational companies.

With an MBA in Marketing from IRMA, Sanjay started off as a Management Trainee at Marico Industries Ltd, before joining many other major companies during his illustrious career. Sanjay is responsible for Elior’s entrance into the Indian market. He led the high-profile acquisition of MegaBite Food Services and CRCL.

His core expertise is in setting up new businesses and pushing multinational corporation market entries or expansions in India. In 6 years, he has completed 7 acquisitions, which includes a mix of asset deals, joint ventures, and share purchases in existing entities. Here are his responses to our Proust questionnaire…

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Happiness is a state of mind. We can be happy in any situation depending on how we perceive it.

What is your greatest fear?

Getting old.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

Being reactive.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?


Which living person do you most admire?


What is your greatest extravagance?

Buying an expensive golf set.

What is your current state of mind?


What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Hard work.

On what occasion do you lie?


What do you most dislike about your appearance?

My hair.

Which living person do you most despise?


What is the quality you most like in a man?

Being blunt.

What is the quality you most like in a woman?


Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

To sum up.

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

My wife.

Which talent would you most like to have?


If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

Be less reactive.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Coping with my failures.

If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?

Myself, but if it is an object, I would like to be a golf ball.

Where would you most like to live?


What is your most treasured possession?

My father’s photographs of his university life while doing his doctoral studies in London.

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?


What is your favourite occupation?

My job.

What is your most marked characteristic?


What do you most value in your friends?


Who are your favourite writers?

Amitav Ghosh, Rohinton Mistry, Iris Murdoch, Saul Bellow to name a few.

Who is your hero of fiction?

Perry Mason.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

Mikhail Gorbachev.

Who are your heroes in real life?

No one.

What is your favourite name?


What is it that you most dislike?


What is your greatest regret?

Not having listened to my father to study abroad.

How would you like to die?

Playing golf.

What is your motto?

It is easier to succeed if you have failed.


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