Bobby Parikh, Mukesh Butani, and Rajeev Dimri, the former
Andersen Consulting and E&Y big guns who had studiously maintained
a low profile over the past few months? Well, they're back and how.
The trio (Parikh, left and Butani are pictured above) have joined
hands to form BMR & Associates (yes, you guessed right, the
name comes from their initials), a boutique tax consulting firm.
Like the name, the choice of specialisation isn't hard to understand:
all three are tax specialists (Parikh was once head of the indirect
tax practice at E&Y, and Butani and Dimri have both served as
national tax directors at the same firm). BMR currently has 10 partners
and is hiring aggressively. ''We will offer value-added services
with time,'' says Butani, who is also keen to point out that the
firm has already roped in two non-Andersen partners. Great, it won't
entirely be an old boys club then.
He is from that hallowed institution, Indian
Institute of Management, Ahmedabad, so it was only a matter of time
before he became chief executive. And he plays the guitar, so it
is only apt that he head Levi Strauss. Things are rarely as definitely
blue and white as they have been in the case of Shumone Jaya
Chatterjee, the 38-year-old head of marketing of Levi Strauss'
Indian operations, who has just been elevated to the top post (predecessor
C.S. Suryanarayan has moved to the company's Singapore ops). Chatterjee
heads a corporate band called (what else?) Riveted that plays a
fusion of Baul (a kind of Bengali folk music) and rock, but is as
hard-nosed a CEO as they come. "Our goal is clear," he
says. "To treble turnover in three years." That must be
music to Levi's ears.
Veni, Vidi, Vici
is known as 'le costcutter' and is the first gaijin in recent
memory to receive a favourable mention in Japanese corporate lore
(not to mention the Manga comic medium, where he has been immortalised)
after he successfully turned around the ailing Nissan Motors. Ostensibly
in India to source components and find out a bit about the market,
Carlos Ghosn, CEO of Nissan Motors, and soon-to-be CEO of
Renault, addressed a meeting attended by some of Indian Auto's biggest
names. The audience included Hyundai's B.V.R. Subbu, TVS' Venu Srinivasan
and gm's Aditya Vij. "It was the most informative talk on the
industry I have attended in ages," gushes Subbu. "No wonder
he is so good." With speculation rife that Ghosn's visit was
to actually look at manufacturing cars in India (Nissan recently
entered the market with an imported offering, the SUV X-Trail),
this may well have been the canny Ghosn's way of getting up close
and personal with the competition.
There are idols,
statues, and figurines. And there's the Lladro stuff. The 50-year-old
Spanish ceramics company specialises in sculptures and has become
synonymous with limited-edition-art, marrying aesthetics and mass
production into one commercially viable whole. Three years ago,
the brand entered India; now, with a range of global and local favourites,
it hopes to make a killing this festive season. "I am here
to find inspiration and a market," says David Lladro,
30, one of the sons of Vicente Lladro, one of the brothers who founded
the company. The inspiration may be Indian, but the products continue
to be hand-crafted in Valencia.
A Friend Indeed
us senator Larry Pressler first visited India as a Rhodes
Scholar in 1965. Vietnam put paid to that doctoral thesis and Pressler
served 18 months in the jungles of South-East Asia, but his love
affair with India never ended. "There are times I feel I am
more famous in India than I am in the us," laughs the man behind
the Pressler Amendment, which proved a major setback to Pakistan's
military ambitions and made him the darling of the Indian establishment.
Now on Infosys' board, Pressler insists that "outsourcing helps
both countries". Pity he cannot author another amendment.