a year after A.S. Watson announced its plans for India, Li Ka
Shing's Hutchison Whampoa-owned retailer may have found a man
to spearhead its launch. Krish Iyer, who recently quit
Pyramid Retail as its Managing Director after spending eight years
with it, is said to be the man Watson has picked. Iyer, 48, would
not confirm whether he was joining Watson, but he did say that
he had found an "exciting new opportunity at this point in my
career". A trained Chartered Accountant and Company Secretary,
Iyer wandered into retail when he was asked by the Piramals to
study the viability of setting up a mall, which became the famous
Mumbai landmark, Crossroads. "I am very proud of what I have achieved
with Pyramid, I will have great memories of that job," he says.
It is not known what formats Watson, which is into everything
from supermarkets to drug stores and food courts in Asia and Europe,
plans to bring in. But Iyer says his new employer and he plan
to "transform the retail experience for Indian consumers". Willing
investors and eager consumers. It's a deadly mix for retail.
Dalmia, lodged in Delhi's Tihar
Jail as this magazine goes to press, is something else. The man,
who set up the DSQ Group in Chennai, fled India in December 2003
after it came to light that he had fraudulently stripped DSQ Software
of its assets. He fled to the us, where he is said to have spun
a bigger scam by secretly promoting a BPO company called Allserve
System Corp. in New Jersey that, it now appears, defrauded banks
by borrowing money ($100 million or Rs 450 crore and counting)
to buy computers. He did buy them, but used ones for a paltry
$300,000 or Rs 1.35 crore. Arrested last fortnight soon after
his return from the US, Dalmia, also involved in the Calcutta
Stock Exchange scam, will have enough time to look back and reflect.
until the final winners were announced on January 31, Anil
Ambani's (left) Reliance Airports Development (RAD) was pretty
confident of winning the airport modernisation/privatisation bid
for either Delhi or Mumbai. So, when a relatively obscure G.M.
Rao's GMR Group walked away with the Delhi bid, Ambani cried
foul. Early February, he challenged the selection process, alleging
that the bids were rigged in favour of GMR and GVK (the bidder
that got Mumbai). In its petition, the Ambani company has alleged
that the Airports Authority of India and the Union Civil Aviation
Ministry made last-minute changes to the tender conditions to
favour GMR over RAD. Spokespersons for both the groups refused
to comment, stating the case was sub judice. When BT went to press,
the Delhi High Court was to hear the case on February 20. But
it will be a long while before the dust settles over this kick-up.
home in Germany, everyone calls Deutsche Bank (DB) the Big Mama.
We don't expect you to know that because in India, db has been
a corporate bank and hence largely invisible. But four months
ago, it decided it wanted a piece of the booming retail business.
And guess who flew in last fortnight for a little go-go talk?
DB's CEO Josef Ackermann, 50, himself. It was a low-profile
visit with no media interviews, but it's obvious that the Big
Mama, with m972 billion (Rs 5,151,600 crore) in assets worldwide,
is excited about India. So much so that India is the only country
in Asia where it has a retail business.
My Enemy's Friend...
Mallya's (left) fragile peace with
BDA's Kishore Chhabria seems to have been shattered. At
Herbertson's EGM in Mumbai on February, Chhabria, 51, opposed
plans to merge Herbertsons (a company he sold to Mallya in 2005
while retaining a nominal stake) with Mallya's United Spirits.
Why is Chhabria having a change of heart? "I have an issue with
the UB-Herbertsons merger and it is related to the fact that they
haven't recalled the case in the Kolkata High Court as per our
understanding," Chhabria told BT as he prepared for his daughter's
wedding in Mumbai. The issue: Last year when Mallya bought Shaw
Wallace owned by Chabbria's late brother Manu, he also inherited
a fight that had been going on between the two brothers over BDA,
a company Kishore took with him when he left the Shaw Wallace
fold in 1992. Apparently, Mallya had agreed in principle to drop
the case, but hasn't.
Dennis Mcguire founded TPI in 1989, he launched an entire
industry: BPO advisory. Over the years, McGuire, 59, now Chairman
of Veritage (formed following TPI's merger with EquaTerra early
February this year), has been involved in outsourcing decisions
worth billions of dollars. So, when people want to know how things
will shape up in the industry, they talk to McGuire. What does
the Guru of BPO have to say about India's position in the marketplace?
"You must remember that western it giants are fast catching up
in the offshore game, which the Indians invented," he cautions.
McGuire also believes that "(Indian it companies') claims of having
broached the rarefied consulting arena is stretching it a bit",
since most of the deals coming their way are still about application
maintenance. Despite that, McGuire feels there's more business
that could come India's way.