Bhavdeep Singh - Leadership Across Borders: Bridging Healthcare, Retail, And Innovation

After the successful launch of Whitehawk Associates in the States, Singh, along with five partners, launched WHA Partners in India.

Founding Partners led by Bhavdeep Singh, Dr. Rajen Ghadiok, Madhavan Ganesan, Gurjit Singh Ajay Vij and CK Nageswaran.

Bhavdeep Singh is a distinguished CEO with an extensive background in both the United States and Asia, guiding vast enterprises in the Retail and Healthcare sectors over many years. A significant portion of Singh's efforts have focused on cultivating future leaders, Typically, as is usually the case, this is achieved through his mentorship and advisory capacities. He is also fervently involved in supporting budding entrepreneurs, crafting strong systems to bolster startups, with a particular inclination towards Healthcare.

Over the recent past, Bhavdeep's leadership in his various healthcare roles at Fortis Healthcare and HealthQuarters, have been instrumental in helping each of the respective organizations grow and thrive during very challenging times. Similarly, in the retail sector, Singh played a critical role on the Executive Board at AHOLD, USA, and as its EVP Operations & CEO for Fresh Formats, a $26 billion venture. Also, on the retail front, his tenure as CEO of Reliance Retail saw the launch of an impressive 700 brand-new stores in under two years, underscoring a strong adaptability in diverse markets. Earlier, in roles like EVP HR & Labour Relations at AHOLD and Head of A&P’s Atlantic Region, he also managed a massive workforce, shaping cohesive teams that consistently outperformed.

In 2021, driven by his passion for expansion, growth, and excellence, Singh founded Whitehawk Associates in the US. This consultancy, focusing on Retail, Healthcare, Logistics, and Leadership Development, has provided invaluable insights to numerous large-scale businesses. Additionally, under Singh's guidance, HealthQuarters was launched, where his roles as Board Chairman and CEO allowed the NY-based healthcare startup to synergize clinical care with wellness in a groundbreaking approach.

After the successful launch of Whitehawk Associates in the States, Singh, along with five partners, launched WHA Partners in India.

An alumnus of Pace University, Singh further enriched his credentials with specialized courses in Leadership and Executive Management from renowned institutions such as Harvard Business School, Cornell University, and the University of Hartford.

We had the opportunity to sit down with Bhavdeep Singh, who spoke to us about his perspectives on the healthcare and retail sectors, the burgeoning potential of India, and the lessons gleaned from his career.

Why did you start Whitehawk Associates & WHA Partners?

The inception of the WHA brand is timely, given our keen focus on healthcare and retail, particularly in the United States, India, and the surrounding regions. Over the past few years, there have been significant shifts in healthcare. As the narrative in these countries continues to evolve, we see a monumental opportunity to enhance the quality of healthcare. In India specifically, a significant factor is the growing middle class, which translates to increased spending power for a vast population. But with the aforementioned economic growth comes the escalating burden of lifestyle diseases. It's heartening, however, to note that the quality of doctors and clinical care in the country is exceptional, and today, doctors in India are practicing world-class medicine. With considerable investments pouring into India's healthcare sector, WHA Partners aims to be an integral part of this transformative journey.

Switching focus to retail, the rise of e-commerce platforms is unmistakable. Even with infrastructural challenges in certain areas, delivery models are evolving and expanding. And it's not just the primary markets that are booming; secondary and tertiary markets are also catching up at a remarkable pace. 

All in all, WHA Partners was born out of a genuine desire to support these massive shifts and to be part of any solution.

What sets WHA Partners apart from other consulting firms?

WHA boasts founders who collectively bring over 200 years of experience to the table. It's a point of pride to note that WHA Partners might be the singular platform that has engaged in and developed every facet of both the healthcare and retail sectors. Whether it's something as specific as facilitating a patient's discharge in a hospital, maintaining the cleanliness of restrooms, or even charting out the strategy for a $26 billion business, we've covered the spectrum. I want to take the opportunity now to thank Dr. Rajen Ghadiok, Ajay Vij, Madhavan Ganesan, Gurjit Singh, and CK Nageswaran, as they are the backbone of WHA Partners.


You have been a thought leader and innovator in the healthcare and retail space for many years. What trends are you seeing right now that interest you?

There is so much happening in both industries and plenty to be excited about and interested in. Currently, in the healthcare space, the quality of care continues to improve every day. We are making significant strides in research and the treatment of communicable diseases, as well as innovative progress in cancer research and treatments. However, while these positive trends are wonderful, we do have some issues, as there is a noticeable talent shortage, especially among doctors and nurses, which is concerning. 


But on a brighter note, innovation is on the rise, doctors are focusing on prevention as well as early diagnosis, and there is an increased focus on senior care.

Turning to the retail industry, we're witnessing a transformation in consumer habits and a growing emphasis on nutrition. Still, the surge in e-commerce and a notable customer shift, favoring experiences over tangible items, indicate an evolving landscape that's both fascinating and dynamic.

Why did WHA choose India for its global expansion plans?

The decision to focus on India for our global expansion is deeply rooted in our personal and professional experiences. Having served as the CEO of Fortis Healthcare for two stints, totaling six years, I've garnered a comprehensive understanding of the healthcare landscape in India. Apart from that, you can not find better partners than my five co-founders.


Beyond this familiarity, it's evident that India is on the cusp of remarkable economic growth and transformation. This growth is coupled with substantial investments in sectors like healthcare, retail, and talent development — areas that align with our expertise and passion. Given these factors and the potential to not only tap into business opportunities but also to elevate the quality of life for numerous Indians, India emerged as a compelling and clear choice for expansion.

What advice do you have for other companies seeking to take a leap forward globally, particularly in India?

For companies aiming to make significant strides on the global stage, especially in India, I would strongly emphasize the importance of patience and immersion. It's essential to view such expansions as a marathon, not a sprint. I strongly advise spending quality time in India, acquainting oneself with the nuances of the market, and understanding the preferences and needs of your target demographic. Central to any global expansion is investing in the right people, as they'll be the backbone of your operations.

Regarding the challenges that often preoccupy my thoughts, I find myself contemplating the pace at which we're moving — are we progressing rapidly enough? Securing top-tier talent to actualize our vision is another concern. Moreover, it's crucial to remain steadfast in our commitment to long-term goals, resisting the allure of immediate, fleeting victories.

Where do you think the US healthcare system is heading—and what needs to be done?

I believe the US healthcare system, despite its global standing as one of the best, is confronted with several pressing challenges. Key among these are the escalating costs and issues of coverage. The complexities of insurance, the increasing aging population, and the pronounced shortage of talent further compound the situation. Additionally, there's a pressing need to address the potential misalignment of priorities between Big Pharma, doctors, and health systems. It's imperative that these challenges be tackled head-on to ensure the system remains robust and effective for all its users.

What special skills and competencies will healthcare professionals need to learn in order to navigate this changing world?

In the evolving landscape of healthcare, professionals must equip themselves with a diverse skill set. The rapid integration of AI into modern medicine underscores its importance, and it's imperative for professionals to grasp how this can enhance treatment. With patients being more informed than ever, they seek and deserve substantial engagement, necessitating healthcare workers to foster meaningful interactions. Technological proficiency has become indispensable, and there's an increasing emphasis on collaborations with customer-facing platforms, spanning from retail to gyms. Beyond these technicalities, at the heart of healthcare lies the core principle of empathy and understanding — professionals must recognize their crucial role in helping countless individuals overcome their health challenges.