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Executive Spotlight: Ashutosh Gokhale, CFO of HII Mission Technologies

Ashutosh Gokhale

Chief Financial Officer

HII Mission Technologies

Executive Spotlight: Ashutosh Gokhale, CFO of HII Mission Technologies

As chief financial officer of HII’s Mission Technologies division, Ashutosh Gokhale oversees the company’s financial and business management activities while guiding the integration of acquired businesses, most recently Alion Science and Technology.

In a recent interview with the Potomac Officers Club, Gokhale discussed the Alion acquisition and his role in the process, shared his career background and detailed his leadership philosophy.

Read the full interview below:

Tell us about your background and how you joined HII Mission Technologies.

I joined HII’s Mission Technologies division as chief financial officer and senior vice president of business management in June of 2021. At that time, HII was committed to organic and potential M&A growth across its services business and was looking for a CFO for this business with a background in M&A, integration and synergy realization. That is where I came into the picture. 

Before joining HII, I spent 13 years at Maximus, Inc. in many roles with increasing responsibilities in pricing, accounting and finance, ultimately serving as CFO of the Federal Services division. During that time, I conducted M&A due diligence on about a dozen acquisition targets and led the integration of five business acquisitions. That experience was directly applicable to Mission Technologies’ needs in the next CFO. 

Within a month of joining HII, we submitted our final bid to acquire Alion Science and Technology. Two months later, we closed the deal.

Tell us more about the Alion acquisition and integration.

Alion was the largest acquisition in HII’s history. Overnight, it doubled the size of the division. 

Acquisitions are exciting – they open many doors for a company. They are also delicate – you must manage integrations very carefully. Integrations impact every aspect of a company: people, culture, systems, policies and procedures – everything. The Alion integration was closely observed by key stakeholders, including HII’s Board of Directors, investors, executives and most importantly, employees and customers. I am proud to say that HII and Alion employees worked very collaboratively throughout 2022 to successfully complete all major components of the integration. That has put Mission Technologies on a solid trajectory of growth and excellent service delivery.

What was your role in the integration? 

My M&A experience has taught me two things: every integration is unique and all integrations are complex. I am extremely proud of my team for successfully completing some of the most complex integration tasks in 2022.

Most importantly, our compliance team brought the acquired company under the Sarbanes-Oxley framework – a key priority for the publicly traded HII. We also migrated Alion’s financial data into Mission Technologies’ enterprise resource planning platform and restructured indirect rates by redesigning rate pools that are appropriate for the company’s bid and proposal activity and are equitable to our ongoing contracts. Finally, our business management team completed the integration of multiple systems and processes, including timekeeping and payroll, travel management, expense reimbursement, accounts payable and accounts receivable, among others. Kudos to our team for completing a complex integration on time, under budget and in compliance!

With the integration complete, we are now focused on upgrading many of the financial systems we use. We are also working closely with operations to upgrade the level of financial analyses we perform so finance can be a true strategic partner for operations. 

When asked about your role in the integration, you spoke about your team’s accomplishments. What’s your leadership style?

A leader cannot exist without their team. It’s a symbiotic relationship – a leader shapes the team, and in turn, the team shapes its leader. When leading my team, I emphasize three things: ownership, support and recognition. When I assign a job to my team, I don’t micromanage, I trust that they can do the job. I give them freedom to choose the path to completion, while staying close so I can support them at the appropriate time if things show signs of going off track. When the task is successfully completed, I recognize the team and let them shine in the glory of success. Mutual trust and respect are must for a team to feel energized. I always say that the “alpha male” style of leadership is a thing of the past. Instead, humility is the key trait for successful leadership.

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