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Rono DuttaRono Dutta
This global CEO is flying high, literally! Rono J. Dutta, 47, the India-born, Harvard-educated president of Chicago-based United Airlines (UA) pulled off a major coup last month when he announced UA's decision to buy US Airways for $11.6 billion (Rs 51 crore), creating aviation history. If cleared by the US regulatory authorities, the merged behemoth will have 6,500 daily flights, 150,000 employees, and revenues close to $30 billion. But then, Dutta, the first Indian CEO of a global airline, has never set his sights low. A 1972 graduate from IIT-Kharagpur and an MBA from Harvard Business School's 1980 class, he has had a multi-faceted career, spread over Voltas in India, and Booz-Allen & Hamilton and Bell & Howell in the US, before winging his way to UA in 1985 where he blazed a trail to CEOdom last year. And it was no fluke! Throughout his 25-year-long corporate career, Dutta has been known for exceptional operational skills, an ability to build and nurture internal and external networks, and a strong team-orientation. Personally, he is known to swear by a credo of trust, cultural sensitivity, and innovative ideation. Will he pilot UA to greater glories? There are problems like labour unrest, rising costs, and a bloated top management which Dutta will have to deal with, not to mention the expected exit of close friend and mentor, Rakesh Gangwal, the erstwhile CEO of US Airways. ''The biggest thing that has worked for me is developing good relationships with different people in different situations,'' Dutta has been quoted as saying. He may need all of that now...

V. RaghunathanV. Raghunathan
His passion and mission are driven by the same principle, that of logic! Yes, V. Raghunathan, who teaches finance and accounting to wannabe CEOs at IIM-Ahmedabad, collects antique locks and has a 350-strong set that would turn most museums green with envy. His locks date back 50 to 400 years and include all possible varieties: those that open with five keys, some have single customised keys, and yet others with both hard and soft keys, i.e., a key and a particular way of insertion. Some even have built-in alarms and written instructions, including ayats of Quran, to go with them. Raghunathan is busy scripting a coffee-table book on his collection and also wishes to create a virtual museum, complete with diagrams and instructions. ''It is tough on both me and my wife. I spend all my money on the locks and she has to dust them,'' quips Raghunathan, 45. Love's labour, but surely not lost!

Kishwar AhluwaliaKishwar Ahluwalia
This is one wake-up call she just had to take! From being the peppy anchor for Doordarshan's Good Morning Today, Kishwar Ahluwalia has shifted gears effortlessly to settle into her new role of CEO, Tara Punjabi, of Broadcast Worldwide, floated by former star TV chief, Rathikant Basu. But then, this intrepid journalist-turned-full time-mom-turned-TV host is quite at home with such switches. She has been a political reporter with the Indian Express, a producer with NDTV, and even ran her own outfit. Now, she is all set to bring this basket of skills to bear on her new job. ''I'll make it my job to help dismiss the notion that Punjab doesn't have a culture-only agriculture,'' says Kishwar, 43, an attractive Punjabi herself. Three Cheers to that!

K. SudhakarK. Sudhakar
Toys-R-Cars should be his motto! For, if Kanaboyina Sudhakar had his way, he would turn the cyber-city of Hyderabad into a Toonsland with brinjal-, camera-, and boot-shaped cars jostling at the traffic signals. A self-taught auto-modelling buff, Sudhakar has honed his passion for designing funky cars to a fine art, with over 80 creations that include a 1925 Rolls-Royce Silver Ghost fitted with a recycled Premier 1100 engine and a miniature London bus, apart from the nursery rhyme-inspired automobiles. He has also built a wooden 1910 Rolls-Royce model for Union information technology minister Pramod Mahajan and a three-wheeled seven-seater Janmabhoomi cycle for Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu. ''My inspiration is the legendary Henry Ford,'' says Sudhakar, 38, who has set up a Sudha Cars museum on the lines of the Ford Museum in Detroit (US), and will be applying for a Guiness Book entry. Well, he could whiz his way to success...

 

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