Indian American business executive Prashanth Mahendra-Rajah, currently Chief Financial Officer of Analog Devices (ADI), is joining Uber Technologies, Inc as CFO on Nov 13.
“I’m delighted to join Uber, one of the world’s most iconic technology companies, at such a promising moment in its journey,” said Mahendra-Rajah. “I couldn’t be more excited for the road ahead.”
Mahendra-Rajah joined ADI, a $60 billion global technology company and semiconductor manufacturer based in Boston in 2017. “At ADI, he set financial strategy and oversaw the company’s global finance organization, with responsibility for financial management, planning, controls, and reporting,” according to a press release from the ride-sharing company.
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Prior to joining ADI, he was Chief Financial Officer of WABCO Holdings Inc, a global supplier of commercial vehicle technologies.
He previously served as Division CFO and in other financial leadership roles at Applied Materials, Visa, and United Technologies.
Mahendra-Rajah holds a BS in chemical engineering from the University of Michigan, an MS in engineering from Johns Hopkins University, and an MBA from the Krannert School of Management at Purdue University.
He also serves on the board of directors of Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company.
“Prashanth is an incredibly skilled and dynamic finance executive, with decades of experience across a variety of complex industries,” said Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO. “I’m confident he’ll be able to help us deliver even more innovation and efficiency as we continue this next phase of profitable growth.”
In an interview with CFO Thought Leader, Mahendra-Rajah recalled how “nightly business conversations at his parents’ dinner table” led him to consider alternatives to business when it came to building a career.”
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“As most small business owners do, my parents worked all the time—and as with most small businesses, things could at times be financially challenging,” he said.
Mahendra-Rajah vividly recalls rent increases, outstanding receivables, and the dynamics behind supply and demand that pervaded his parents’ dinner conversations.
Nevertheless, it was this same scrutiny of supply-and-demand dynamics that Mahendra-Rajah credits with helping him to eventually “come full circle”—ultimately pointing him to business school.
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At the time, Mahendra-Rajah was working full-time as a senior process engineer for chemical giant FMC Corp, a career-building stint that afforded him the real-world insights required to enrich a master’s thesis that he needed in order to complete a chemical engineering master’s degree from Johns Hopkins.
“It was my first job out of college, and the plant manager’s MO was to always beat me up and demand more cost reductions and better process yields,” he recalled.
Mahendra-Rajah noted that his immersion into the business side of manufacturing quickly escalated when FMC received a large order for a synthetic that the company no longer manufactured.
“I was given the task of refurbishing an old factory and getting it up and running in a matter of weeks,” remembers Mahendra-Rajah noting the production of the once-discontinued synthetic led the plant manager’s mind-set to suddenly pivot.
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“He was pushing me to spend as fast as I could. I was told not to negotiate with suppliers, and if I needed overtime for the maintenance workers, to ‘go for it’—schedule was paramount, cost was secondary.”
Mahendra-Rajah credits the experience with helping him to open a door that he had once shut.
“It kind of brought me back to the table with Mom and Dad and made me realize how so much of our world is really driven by supply and demand and how finance is the oil in the gears,” he said.