squeaky clean image has always been top priority for the Hyderabad-based
pharma major Dr. Reddy's Laboratories. So, when it decided to bring
out the Safety, Health and Environment (SHE) Report for 2002-03
assessing its 12 manufacturing and R&D centres (the first for an
Indian company), it was a very serious affair with the CEO G.V.
Prasad keeping a tab on its progress on a daily basis. "Statutory
compliance is a minimum requirement in this industry. We want to
measure our performance not just on financial parameters but also
on SHE," says Prasad. The report is part of the Rs 1,655-crore company's
efforts to comply with the still-unratified Kyoto Protocol, which
requires disclosure of the amount of greenhouse gases discharged.
Last year the company had invested Rs 12 crore on its green activities
like zero-effluent discharge. We're all for green because that's
the colour of money as well.
The lone beneficiaries of the anti-genetically modified
(GM) crops tirade, some say, are the dreaded bollworms, and their
ilk. Bangalore-based biotech hotshop Avesthagen just compounded
the pest's problems by filing a patent in the US for a new technology
to manufacture rice and cotton gm seeds-a first for an Indian company.
"Although it will take five-to-seven years to commercialise the
technology," gloats the University of Louis Pasteur (Strasbourg)-educated
39-year-old founder-CEO Villoo Morawala Patell, "it puts
us in an elite club." Avesthagen boasts of high-profile backers
like the Tata group. Pop the bubbly, depending on what side of the
gm divide you are on.
That flying is a passion for Vijaypat Singhania
is well known. But Bollywood movies? Passion or not, the Chairman
Emeritus of Raymond sees business merit in producing films. The
production of the first film Woh Tera Naam Tha is already under
way and is expected to be released later this year. The production
company is christened Radha Krshna Films. Singhania, while confirming
the venture, wouldn't elaborate. According to a Raymond executive,
Singhania's plan is to produce a slew of low-budget movies in the
crossover mould that require under Rs 7-8 crore. Singhania, sources
close to him say, has invested in the new business more in his personal
capacity. A foray into films is perhaps just the thing that will
make Singhania the perfect businessman.
After giving the FMCG heavyweights a run for
their money with his 50-paise shampoo sachets and fairness creams,
C.K. Ranganathan, the 41-year-old Managing Director of the
Chennai-based regional FMCG satrap CavinKare, is setting his eyes
on the food business. To start with, his Rs 270-crore company will
introduce a range of pickles (yes, this too will come in one-rupee
sachets) and ready-to-eat meal accompaniments under the Chinnis
brand name in his traditional stronghold, the south. Ranganathan
plans to invest Rs 10 crore in his new venture. "We want to be an
all-India company and not just a regional player. Our products will
be tailor-made to suit the tastes of various parts of the country."
Nestle and MTR had better watch out.
As an account manager in Mudra in 1996, Sandeep
Verma felt the agency's creative team was fooling around with
an HSBC (then HongKong Bank) campaign. At a stage when he ran out
of excuses that he could offer the client, Verma decided to write
the script himself, only to discover his hidden creative skills.
Five years and a few more successful ads resulted in his Mumbai-based
boutique agency ICOMO, which now clocks Rs 5 crore in billings annually.
Meantime, he dabbled with writing scripts for Bollywood thrillers
(Sudhir Mishra's Is Raat ki Subah Nahi and Calcutta Mail are two).
He's currently working on a black comedy titled Paradise on Earth
based on Kashmir. His one minute-long public awareness films on
noise pollution, street children and water conservation, screened
last month, have also received critical acclaim. "I'm a creative
maverick," says Verma. Someone who takes the odd break from his
busy schedule to tutor MBA aspirants, has to be one.
Just a month back R.L. Ravichandran,
the 53-year-old Bajaj Auto VP (Marketing & Business Development),
sprang a surprise on his company by putting in his papers. "I plan
to take a break and go abroad," he had said. The real reason, some
suggested, was that he wasn't getting along well with Joint Managing
Director Rajiv Bajaj. According to the compromise hammered out subsequently,
Ravichandran will have a bigger role in Bajaj Auto's forays into
international markets and product planning. "Now I can use my knowledge
without straining myself too much. The arrangement suits both the
parties," he says. Professional managers being at loggerheads with
the promoters is nothing new, but the Bajaj's speedy resolution
of the issue shows Ravichandran's importance at Akurdi.