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On a 22-year journey with BP: Sumeet’s story

23 December 2019
After graduation Sumeet joined BP's management trainee programme. Now, 22 years later he reflects on the diversity of roles he has held at BP
Jaya standing in the garden

Sumeet started his career on the computer engineering programme at the University of Pune in India. He soon realised that interacting with machines wasn’t for him. “I loved the idea of communicating and working with people and decided to pursue a degree in business management”, he says. So, after graduation, Sumeet joined the Management Trainee Programme at BP. 


While on the programme, Sumeet worked in rotational stints across a variety of functions within BP, including sales, marketing and technology. Now, 22 years later, he is the global channel marketing director for cars and bikes at Castrol, where his work is focused on developing marketing strategies to grow BP’s share in the car & bike lubricants portfolio. “My role is about tracking market trends and understanding consumer and customer behaviour”, he says, “I’m tasked with identifying our strategic priorities and creating an inspiring vision for the business – essentially, this means converting market trends & insights into compelling offers for BP customers”. 


Throughout his career, Sumeet has held a variety of jobs. From leading BP’s Asia-Pacific portfolio for commercial engine oils out of Singapore, to working as a marketing director for BP’s ASEAN lubricants business in Bangkok. Looking back at this diversity he reflects: 

At various points, and when I’ve had options, I’ve chosen the riskier one.
In many ways, this willingness to take risks has helped him advance and succeed in his career.
I’ve seen the trust that BP’s leadership has in me and the chances they’ve taken on me. It’s made me stretch myself and give my best to all of these opportunities.

Having a career that spans the globe


The team that Sumeet leads now is spread across countries like the UK, Germany, Spain, Poland, Turkey, Thailand, India and China. “I love working across countries and cultures, and being able to engage with people with such diverse backgrounds”, he says. “I could be speaking to the team in China in the morning and in a few hours, I could be engaging with somebody from Germany and trying to shape the innovation roadmap for Europe”. 


A love of people has positively influenced and shaped Sumeet’s career. Across the business, what stands out for Sumeet is the enjoyment he gets from working with others. “BP is one big family”, he reflects. “Working with colleagues across the world, who I consider more like friends, and learning from others is what I love about my role at BP”. 


Driving forwards BP’s pioneering ambitions 


Back in 2012, while working in a newly created business division called Castrol Innoventures, Sumeet was appointed to build and lead a digital start-up business called Carama – sort of like a TripAdvisor for automotive maintenance! “This was pioneering for the business”, he explains. As part of the project, Sumeet got to learn from subject matter experts in the digital world. The aim was to build and market a new BP offering.


“It was heartening to be able to create a completely new platform for the business and scale it to new markets. This challenge was a period of great learning for me, professionally and personally”. 


Now Sumeet is focused on sharing these learnings with others – he does a lot of mentoring, both formally and informally, and is on the panel of mentors supporting the winners of Lead 2030, an initiative to drive progress on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. 

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