Sadaf Sayeed


Trailblazing the Microfinance Sector

Sadaf Sayeed

Chief Executive Officer,

Muthoot Microfin

With the growth of the microfinance sector, the need for visionary leaders becomes crucial as they anticipate trends, drive innovation, and navigate the evolving landscape. Their strategic vision expands outreach, addresses challenges, and promotes financial inclusion. Through Inspiring teams, they foster innovation and sustainable growth. With their guidance, microfinance unlocks its full potential for poverty alleviation and economic empowerment.
Sadaf Sayeed is one such renowned visionary in the banking and financial services industry, currently serving as the Chief Executive Officer of Muthoot Microfin. With a remarkable tenure of 13 years within the Muthoot Pappachan Group, Sadaf has been instrumental in driving the company’s success and growth. Before his role at Muthoot Microfin, he held key positions in esteemed organisations, including HDFC Bank Limited, Indiabulls Credit Services Limited, GE Countrywide Consumer Financial Services Limited, Satin Creditcare Network Limited, and Spandana Sphoorty Financial Limited, where he honed his expertise in credit and risk management functions.
Sadaf’s educational background includes a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours Course) degree from the prestigious University of Delhi, complemented by a Master of Business Administration degree from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University. With over 20 years of experience in the banking and financial services industry, Sadaf brings a wealth of knowledge and strategic insights to his role as CEO.
Under Sadaf’s leadership, Muthoot Microfin has achieved significant milestones, establishing itself as a trusted and innovative financial institution. With his exceptional skills, strategic mindset, and commitment to excellence, Sadaf Sayeed continues to drive the company’s expansion and ensure its continued success in the ever-evolving market.
Delve deep into our conversation with Sadaf to understand his strengths, plans, and vision. 

How have you contributed to the growth and success of Muthoot Microfin as its CEO?

It is the teamwork that makes the difference at Muthoot Microfin. As the CEO, my continuous efforts have been to inspire my team to raise the standard of doing business with a long-term vision for the benefit of all including our clients, employees and stakeholders. Since joining the Muthoot Pappachan Group’s microfinance business at its inception in 2010, I was liberally given all the support and strategic guidance by the promoters and management to enable the company to achieve remarkable growth. Through efficient decision-making and a focus on long-term goals, we have scaled the microfinance business to remarkable heights in just 13 years. During the period, Muthoot Microfin has received accolades for corporate governance and has been certified as a Great Place to Work. I strongly believe in the role of the microfinance industry in the development and growth of the rural economy and women empowerment.

Given the unique challenges women entrepreneurs face in rural India, what strategies have you implemented to empower female entrepreneurs?

It is a fact that rural population, especially women still lack entrepreneurship and employment opportunities, and are largely excluded from formal financial matters. We are always aware of this and hence, offer credit plus services to communities and our customers such as financial literacy programs, skill trainings and business acumen trainings. For an instance, Muthoot Microfin in association with the RBI and Sa-Dhan is organising a comprehensive series of 198 financial literacy workshops across 13 states. These workshops will create a positive impact by imparting invaluable financial knowledge and fostering financial literacy among the masses. These services are aimed at bridging the skill and knowledge gaps of individuals dwelling in the underprivileged communities. We have introduced and implemented financial schemes that made women entrepreneurs self-sufficient.

How do you measure success, not just in terms of financial performance but in terms of team morale, customer satisfaction, and societal impact?

To me, success is not just good financial books. One important aspect I consider when measuring success is team morale, which involves assessing employee satisfaction, engagement levels, and retention rates. A positive work environment and motivated workforce are indicative of success in this area. Customer satisfaction is another aspect that is equally important when measuring success. Their feedback, reviews and testimonials help us enhance their journey further, while reflect customer loyalty and a strong reputation. I also emphasise on providing product/services to our clients where delivering exceptional performance, reliability, and innovation should always meet customer needs. Evaluating market share and competitiveness also provides insights into success beyond finances, as a growing market share and outperforming competitors signify market demand and a strong position. I and my team spend considerable time on innovation and adapting to changing market conditions. On the other hand, I also consider social and environmental impact when measuring success. Positive contributions to society reflect success in being a responsible corporate citizen. Establishing strategic partnerships and collaborations is yet another measure, as successful collaborations enhance market reach, knowledge sharing, and innovation. Long-term financial stability, beyond short-term profitability, is important.

What are some notable achievements and awards you have received during your tenure at Muthoot Microfin?

I am honoured to have received recognition for my contributions and leadership at Muthoot Microfin. One of the notable awards I received was the ‘Inspiring CEO Award’ at the second edition of The Economic Times CEO Conclave. Additionally, I was honoured with the NBFC CEO of the Year award at the “India NBFC Summit & Awards 2019”, Best Young Business Leader of the year at the Dare2Dream Awards 2021 by TV9 and SAP India, CEO of the Year’ award at CMO Asia’s 7th National Awards, Indian Achiever Award at the 2020-‘21 edition and the Most Trusted CEO 2019 award at IDEASFEST 2019. These awards serve as a testament to the collective efforts of the entire Muthoot Microfin team in achieving success and making a positive impact.