when bureaucrats near retirement, they'll do anything to get another
extension, and if not that, a sinecure. So Delhi Metro boss, Elattuvalapil
Sreedharan's case must seem odd. The railway engineer, now
73 years old, wants to retire, but the Delhi government wouldn't
let him. That Delhi Metro is yet to complete phase two of its
project is the ostensible reason, but the real reason may well
be that the government is unwilling to take its chances in completing
a project that's become a showcase in project management. Needless
to say, the credit goes to Sreedharan and his handpicked team.
Not only did the native of Palaghat, Kerala, who earlier pulled
off an equally tricky project at Konkan Railways, complete phase
one within budget, but did so without a whiff of scandal-an impossible
feat in government projects. Sreedharan, picked by Time magazine
in 2003 as an Asian hero, has reluctantly accepted the three-year
extension, but wasn't available for comment. Hardly surprising.
He cares about work, not publicity.
Men Behind The Hutch Brands
know the brands, now meet the men behind them. Keith Kirby
and Daren Cook are the gentlemen who've worked on the
launch of Hutch and its sister (licensed) brand Orange in India.
"We knew Hutch had to be different from Orange, and we wanted
to make it a brand that could deliver now," says Cook (left,
above), who along with Kirby is part of Hutch's branding team
in London. So how many experts does it take to build a brand?
Merchant Turns Dream Chaser
Rumour has it
that Pushpinder "Pushpi" Singh has quit Ambience
Publicis as its national creative director to turn a Bollywood
scriptwriter. But Pushpi, 34, says that "as far as I know,
I have never written one or am into writing one currently".
So just what does the adman plan to do? He won't tell, except
to say that he will be "chasing a few creative dreams",
which his friends say could include anything from signing up for
a similar role at a different agency or turning filmmaker, or
even a creative boutique owner.
Piece Of Hospitality
to software and now hospitality. For Jerry Rao, 52, Chairman
and MD of MphasiS BFL, his latest decision to pick up an undisclosed
stake in Bangalore-based Royal Orchid Group could turn out to
be a smart move. Unlike the it business, where Rao has been having
trouble getting the juices flowing, there's a supply crunch in
the hospitality business in Bangalore. Visitors to the city have
to book rooms months in advance and pay through their nose. And
as Jerry sees it, the deal-made in his personal capacity-is a
win-win for him and the Baljees, the promoters of Royal Orchid.
"The hospitality business is attractive and the Baljees are
well positioned for growth," he says. The Baljees, on the
other hand, hope to lend their family-owned business a more professional
touch with Jerry on the board. Besides, with the group looking
to expand to Hyderabad, Mumbai, Delhi and Pune, Jerry may never
have to worry about not getting a hotel room in these cities.
He Owes His Boss One
Bhagat turned to writing as a therapy to deal with a "bad
boss who, for three years, messed up my life and made me feel
very small". The result was an OK book entitled "Five
Point Someone: What Not To Do At IIT". But the investment
banker-cum-writer seems to have found a niche. His second book,
"One Night@The Call Centre", launched past fortnight,
is based on anecdotes heard from some of his cousins who work
in BPOs. "I take as much gap as I can to finish the books.
Sometimes my schedule goes haywire, it takes its toll," says
Bhagat, recent father of twins and who works with Deutsche Bank
in Hong Kong. Given that IITs are all the rage within India and
now elsewhere, some enterprising producer has decided to turn
Five Point Someone into a movie, with the 31-year-old IITian (Delhi)
himself writing the screenplay. Sometimes, the therapy can be
Motorcycles To Molecules
when Atul Sobti announced his surprise resignation as Executive
Director of Hero Honda Motors, many thought he would end up at
a rival two-wheeler manufacturer, simply because his parting with
the Munjals of Hero wasn't too happy. But Sobti has decided not
to hit his former employer where it could hurt. Instead, with
some help from search firm Egon Zehnder, he's managed to change
tracks to pharma and land a job with Ranbaxy, the biggest Indian
company in the business. At Ranbaxy, Sobti, 50, will be in charge
of India and the Middle East, besides its global consumer healthcare
business. Sobti wasn't available for comment, but he must be thrilled
at the opportunity. Ranbaxy is already the world's 8th largest
generic manufacturer and by 2012 hopes to be among the top five,
with $5 billion in revenues. Sobti, then, can look forward to
some speed driving.