Asok is a principal at Heritage Capital Group and its sister company, Business Valuation, Inc. (BVI). His primary areas of expertise are M&A transactions in the U.S. and abroad, valuation, economic consulting, strategic planning, corporate turnaround, and shareholder value creation. He has experience in several industry sectors including transportation, logistics/distribution, manufacturing, health care, and information technology.
Asok hails from India where he earned a B.S. degree in physics followed by an M.S. in physics and an M.S. in applied statistics. He came to the U.S. in 1975 and earned an M.S. in operations research and a Ph.D. in operations research and planning, both from the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio. He has taken several executive programs in economics, corporate finance, and business management. His Ph.D. dissertation on multiple objective optimization in planning and budgeting was the first place winner in an international competition of Ph.D. dissertations in the field of decision sciences. He has been inducted to the Decision Science’s Hall of Fame.
Prior to joining Heritage Capital Group and BVI, Asok was a senior executive at CSX Corporation, a $12 billion dollar transportation and logistics company in the U.S. During his 26 years at CSX, he held increasingly responsible positions including senior vice president of corporate development, vice president of finance, vice president of financial planning and analysis, vice president and CFO of CSX’s intermodal business unit, and chief finance officer of CSX’s automotive business unit. His responsibilities involved mergers/acquisitions/divestitures, strategy development, business and capital investment planning, risk analytics, corporate performance improvement, and shareholder value creation.
Asok was a key player in the strategic transformation of CSX from a multi-modal transportation conglomerate to a rail-based company through the divestitures of several non-rail businesses and acquisition of a large rail business. The most recent transaction, which was led by him, was the sale of CSX’s global container port business, CSX World Terminals, in early 2005 to Dubai Ports International (DP World) for $1.2 billion, which represents a record 15 times EBITDA. This transaction was to sell off terminal businesses in nine countries on five continents involving complex business, legal, structural, tax, and JV partner issues. As the parent company’s senior vice president of corporate development, and over a period of three years prior to the transaction, Asoki positioned the company for a successful sale through prudent investments in attractive markets of the world and disinvestments in other markets.
As the vice president and CFO of CSX’s intermodal business unit, Asok quarterbacked its turnaround and acquisition-driven growth in the late 1990’s. The unit’s operating income grew from $30 million to $180 million in eight years. He was one of the principal architects of CSX’s performance improvement in the mid-1990’s that increased the rail unit’s operating income from $600 million to $1,275 million in five years. This corporate-wide initiative involved a thorough understanding of the key drivers of shareholder value, benchmarking against the best in and outside of the industry to establish performance gaps, and a rigorous execution process to close the gaps over time. He was responsible for introducing several new ideas and initiatives at CSX — shareholder value based management using an EVA framework, establishment of a new automotive business unit to bring focus to its standalone income statement, transfer pricing mechanism between various business units and the parent company, product and geographic income statements and performance metrics, comparative analysis versus competitors, and cooperative business arrangements with independent shortline rail operators.
Prior to joining CSX, Asok worked at British Petroleum (Standard Oil of Ohio) as a market research analyst, primarily developing retail gasoline sale forecasting models. He has also consulted in the health care, pharmaceutical, telephone, retail, and manufacturing industries on projects involving statistical quality control, inventory management, industrial/production engineering, forecasting, zero-based budgeting, and simulation games. As an adjunct faculty, he has taught MBA, executive MBA and other graduate level courses on decision sciences, operations research, managerial statistics, investment analysis, corporate finance, operations and supply chain management at Cleveland State University, Case Western Reserve University, and Baldwin-Wallace College. He has offered short courses and lectured at several institutions including MIT, Yale, University of Florida, University of North Florida, University of Munich (Germany), International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis (Vienna), Hong Kong University, Indian Institute of Management, and Indian Statistical Institute. He actively participates in professional meetings, often as an invited speaker. He frequently consults on industry issues as a Leader of GLG Expert Network.
Asok served on the Board of Directors of TTX Company, a $1 billion rail equipment and service provider based in Chicago. He continues to serve on the advisory board of Innovative Scheduling, a technology company which develops optimization and decision support software for the transportation and supply chain industries. He has served on the academic advisory council of Jacksonville University’s Davis College of Business and as an industry liaison to MIT’s Center for Transportation and Logistics.
Asok is active in the Jacksonville community, having served as the Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce International Business Strategy Committee, member of the Stage II (Grow Florida) Business Advisory Board, member of the Mayor’s Logistics Education Committee. He is a member of the Rotary Club of Downtown Jacksonville.