f o r    m a n a g i n g    t o m o r r o w
MARCH 11, 2007
 Cover Story
 BT Special
 Back of the Book

The centre is looking at removing the distinction between FDI and FII investments. This will impact sectors like asset reconstruction, real estate and aviation, where separate ceilings apply to FDI and FII investment. However, allowing FDI through the FII route in the realty sector could result in prices shooting through the roof. The Asian financial crisis of the '90s is still fresh in mind, and a method should be devised to moderate possible volatility in key sectors.

S&P And After
For the first time in 14 years, international credit rating agency, Standard and Poor's (S&P), has raised India's credit rating to investment grade. S&P is the last of the three major international rating agencies to do so. Moody's Investors Service did it in January 2004 and Fitch Ratings in August 2006. The upgrade is likely to spur the flow of foreign investment into power, steel and other industries, which receive less than a tenth of the funds going China's way.
More Net Specials

Business Today,  February 25, 2007

Family Man
Over the next few years, if India Inc. ends up better understanding the dynamics of family-owned businesses, it may have Thomas Schmidheiny to thank for it. The Swiss billionaire industrialist-cum-philanthropist has funded a research chair in 'Family Business and Wealth Management' at the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad. What got him interested? The fact that "I see a huge demand for knowledge in this field, especially in the Indian context". Schmidheiny, 61, who started his career in the family-owned Holcim's (yes, the same outfit that has been mopping up cement capacities in India) Mexico plant, rose to become its Chairman & CEO for two decades (1984-2003). Schmidheiny loves to sail and play tennis, and is a big fan of Swiss painter Ferdinand Hodler. Needless to say, his is the biggest collection in the world.

$6 Billion Plus and Counting

Valentine's day saw the Ruia brothers, Shashi (63) and Ravi (58), receive much more than red roses from the Hutch-Vodafone dealmaker, Arun Sarin. With Hutch Essar being valued at $18.8 billion, the 33 per cent stake that the Ruia brothers hold is valued at a whopping $6.3 billion. Including the value of the rest of diversified business interests, their net value is estimated to be around $6.7 billion. That fortune means that the Ruias jump 165 places in the Forbes 2006 list of the world's richest people from rank 245 to rank 80. The Ruias now share that rank with Charles Ergen, founder of satellite-TV service EchoStar and Edward Johnson III, Chairman of Fidelity. Managing relationships may be funny business, but the wealth that Vodafone's Sarin has engendered for them is no funny money.

Onto His Third

In January, Anant Koppar, 47, quit his job as president of Mphasis technologies (now called EDS India), without another offer in hand. As it turns out, he didn't need one. Koppar, who co-founded BFL Software and Kshema Technologies, is turning entrepreneur all over again. His third venture is called KTwo Technology Solutions. "We have named it after the second-highest mountain, which is tougher to climb than the Everest," says Koppar. Tough it will be because the third time around, Koppar has chosen to plunge into software product space and not services, like the previous two times. Venture capitalists are more than keen to put money behind KTwo, but Koppar is in no hurry. "The more important thing is to identify the right space and the right product, money will follow," he says. Spoken like a seasoned entrepreneur.

The Strategist

"I never expected that I could sit in India and do work for the whole of Asia," says Partha Sinha, who has been elevated to the position of a regional strategist for Publicis Asia and will be based in Mumbai. As a regional strategist, the 40-year-old Sinha, an IIT Kharagpur and IIM-A alumnus, will focus on new initiatives. "My role will be to create branding and planning tools and interesting thought platform for the whole of Publicis Asia," he says. "I will be responsible for creating strategic leadership for Publicis Dialog, the new-age holistic marketing communication company of Publicis," says Sinha, who's done stints at a nuclear power plant, Citibank, and Zee. In his new job, Sinha will work with Publicis India MD & CEO Nakul Chopra as well as the Asia-Pacific regional team. His job changes, but his city doesn't.

Slick Move

There were seven others in the running, but at the end, smarts and seniority worked in favour of Arun Balakrishnan. Starting April 1, Balakrishnan, 58, will take over as the Chairman and Managing Director of state-owned oil major, Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL). Balakrishnan, an alumnus of IIM Bangalore, is Director of Human Resources, and is credited with turning around HPCL's lubricant business. His new task is, however, far more uphill. His predecessors, including the outgoing Chairman M.B. Lal and the one before him, H.L. Zutshi, were seen as conservative in their approach. Partly because HPCL has the advantage of selling more products than it refines (it buys the rest). How often will Balakrishnan step out of the crease? Wait and watch.

India Inside IBM

With 53,000 people in India and another 1,000 being added every month, IBM's India operations already employ 16 per cent of Big Blue's global workforce. Little wonder, then, that Rajesh Nambiar, VP and GM of IBM's Global Services and in charge of this mammoth workforce, has been inducted into Chairman Sam Palmisano's technology team, the core think-tank that makes all crucial technology decisions. The Bangalore-based Nambiar, a 17-year veteran of TCS, joined IBM just three months ago and his induction into the elite technology team is seen as an indication of the importance that the Armonk, New York-headquartered company gives to its Indian operations. Nambiar, 39, for his part says that there is hardly any conversation in the company in which India doesn't figure. With him in Sam's tech team, India should figure a lot more.