All his life, Yash Mohan has followed the 3Cs – choice, chance and change. This is probably why he dropped out of veterinary medicine and pursued journalism, before making a successful career in HR. Yash Mohan is currently APAC CHRO and HR lead for global SST at BNY Mellon.
After dropping out of a veterinary course, Mohan pursued journalism for two years at Hindustan Times, as a feature writer. However, later, he wanted to get into a corporate role, and developed interest in human resources.
After a course in labour welfare from Symbiosis International University, Mohan joined an automotive parts manufacturing company, EKK Eagle Industry, in 2002. “It may not hold much relevance today, but back in those days, an IR experience was a must for any HR professional,” mentions Mohan.
At EKK Eagle, he gained some IR skills and learnt to manage people at the shop floor. He also learnt to negotiate with the union. His first manager, SR Gidwani, was a retired colonel, who always advised Mohan to be close to the workers and try to understand their problems. Mohan practised it to the T, and it certainly helped him hone his IR skills.
By 2004, two years after joining EKK Eagle, Mohan moved to the services sector with Aviva India, an insurance company. There, he learnt new-age HR practices. Having moved from the manufacturing sector, this exposure was important for him.
At Aviva, Mohan also got to use his creative skills. Back then, Aviva used different brand names in different markets and countries. The Company started an initiative to align all employees with one Aviva brand, and Mohan played a crucial role at Aviva. His journalistic experience came into play, and he got to manage communications and marketing, apart from HR.
Later, during his stint, Aviva was acquired by WNS Holdings and Mohan got to play an active role in the integration process, post the M&A. In fact, post the integration, he was even offered an opportunity to head international compensation and benefits for the company, but the role did not excite Mohan.
He was ready for another change in his career and joined BNY Mellon. This was in 2009, post the merger of Mellon Bank with the Bank of New York.
The turning point came in when Yash Mohan was offered to head HR for the global custody bank at BNY Melon, a $6 billion business which constituted about 50 per cent of the entire global workforce
Yash Mohan, APAC CHRO & HR lead for global SST, BNY Mellon
At that time, the Bank had about 300 employees in India and was looking to grow. Mohan was really attracted to the kind of opportunities the Bank would create for him and his career. “It was during that time that the major US recession happened and the US government was helping cash strapped banks recover. Though BNY Mellon also received funding, it did not really require it. I was impressed with the stability that the Bank had,” explains Mohan.
Mohan joined BNY Mellon as head of recruitment, but there was something bigger in store for him. After working for seven years with the Bank, a lifechanging opportunity presented itself to him at BNY Mellon.
The Company was looking for someone to head the HR operation for its global custody bank in New York. Without further thought, Mohan applied for the role and was then interviewed by a panel.
Though Mohan describes it as a lucky break, he was really qualified for the role. This was a real turning point in his life. “This was a role of an HR head for the global custody bank, which was a $6 billion business and constituted about 50 per cent of the entire global workforce of the bank,” shares Mohan.
Unlearning and learning has been a part of Mohan’s life.