It’s difficult to imagine someone more ambitious than Aditya Maheshwari. As Under Armour’s chief accounting officer (CAO) and global corporate controller, he has pushed himself to limits that have, at times, left the Indian-native isolated, alone, and away from his family while facing his first Canadian winter and the burning desire to be the best of the breed in pursuit of the KPMG partnership that he ultimately earned.
“I always knew that I wanted to make it big in my profession,” Maheshwari said. “I come from modest means and a home where my father was the sole breadwinner. From the start of my career, I wanted to move faster and be differentiated from my peers and seek opportunities to advance quickly to rise through the ranks by taking on a diverse set of challenges.”
Maheshwari initially thought he would become a business owner, but in 1998, he joined Deloitte in India as a chartered accountant. To set himself apart, he passed the US Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam, becoming one of only a few accountants in Deloitte’s Indian practice who could specifically service US businesses as Indian companies began to acquire dotcom enterprises seeking listings on US stock exchanges.
While working at Deloitte, Maheshwari taught accounting to aspiring Indian students looking to obtain their US CPA designation. One of his students, a KPMG employee, thought his teacher’s expertise and passion would be better served in-house at his employer. Maheshwari was offered a job at KPMG, and he eagerly accepted the opportunity.
In 2004, while at KPMG, Maheshwari was encouraged to take a Canadian assignment to continue building his niche experience with US-based accounting rules and regulations. Having arrived during his first-ever winter, he quickly wondered if he had made the right decision.
“After three months of a Canadian winter, I wanted to go back home,” Maheshwari says with laugh. “But I stayed and was able to work with some truly amazing clients like Nortel Networks and SAP.” His family joined a few months later just in time to enjoy a beautiful summer together.
Around the same time, Maheshwari decided to pursue becoming an audit partner at KPMG. He worked days, nights, and spent the rest of the time networking in the Canadian corporate world forging productive connections to earn business for KPMG.
Maheshwari spent six years strengthening his skill set and KPMG’s book of business. He then moved his family to the UK—the third continent they had lived on—for a role in the International Standards Group of KPMG. His KPMG partnership came in 2013, yet after three years Maheshwari yearned for his next challenge.
“I felt that desire again,” he says. “I could’ve led the life of a partner, but I wanted to learn more, to be challenged once again with an opportunity that stretched my comfort zone.”
Next, he became CAO of OpenText, one of Canada’s largest technology companies. The fast-paced global organization provided in-depth experience with M&A, and an opportunity to lead a large global controllership team.
“I didn’t want people when they think of me as the ‘best accountant ever.’ I want to grow as a leader, as an all-rounded professional and make a noticeable impact.”
“Having worked in three different countries on three different continents,” he notes, “this was a perfect opportunity to help build a global team, taking the best parts from my career thus far and applying my learning to fill gaps where needed.”
After four years of building a considerably more focused and stronger controllership function at OpenText, Maheshwari left to join Under Armour, once again advancing his career. “I didn’t want people when they think of me as the ‘best accountant ever.’ I want to grow as a leader, as an all-rounded professional and make a noticeable impact,” he says.
Maheshwari said that his first year as Under Armour’s CAO yielded more defined, meaningful and lifelong experience in dealing with complexity that many wouldn’t get in a decade. During a year dictated in large part by a worldwide pandemic, Maheshwari helped Under Armour complete a $345 million divestiture; supported several initiatives including working capital management, raising $500 million of capital via a senior convertible note offering as a precautionary measure; and helped advance the company’s operating model.
These are some of the highlights of a career built around commitment, trust, inspiration, and leadership, and yet Maheshwari isn’t pausing to reflect. There quite simply isn’t enough time as Under Armour continues its transformation journey towards becoming one of the largest, best-in-class athletic performance brands on the planet.