Saturday, February 16, 2013

India Inc CEOs hop between cities to maintain work-life balance

India Inc CEOs hop between cities to maintain work-life balance

MUMBAI: A phone call each every morning and evening to his wife and kids, another call or two if there is a pressing situation, and a few minutes on Skype to help the children with homework - that's what Vivek Gambhir's family life looks like from Monday to Friday.
Gambhir, the MD-designate of the Rs 6000-crore Godrej Consumer Products works out of the sprawling Vikhroli campus in Mumbai. His wife and three children live in Delhi. But he hops across to the national capital every weekend when it's all family and no work.
He is part of a growing tribe of India Inc honchos who have split their life into two distinct boxes - work during the week in one city and live with family in another city over the weekend.
Birla Retail's business director Pranab Barua and Jyothy Labs joint MD Ullas Kamath both work in Mumbai and live in Bangalore. S Raghunandan, CEO and director of Jyothy Labs, shuttles from Mumbai to his home in Ahmedabad.
Similarly, heads of private equity companies such as Puneet Bhatia of TPG and Neeraj Bharadwaj of Carlyle India live in Delhi and work in Mumbai. At ICICI Bank, Rahul Vora, senior general manager of private banking division, lives out of Trident Hotel in Mumbai and joins his family in Singapore over weekends.
Shaily Gupta, group head of human resources at Edelweiss Capital, a broking company, stays in Mumbai while her husband and daughter live in Singapore. Thomas Kuehl, director of corporate strategy at Volkswagen India, is based in Mumbai and his family is settled in Bangalore. Kuehl travels to Bangalore almost all weekends.

Says Shaily, who travels every fourth week to Singapore to be with her family: "I have found my comfort zones in this lifestyle, but managing two infrastructures in different countries can be challenging. Then there is also the emotional aspect of not having your family around."
HR consultants say hundreds of executives in India Inc choose to move to another city for exciting jobs and better pay without uprooting families comfortably settled in their home base. Some, including even family members perhaps, may see this as a curse; but such CEOs see this as a calling.
And, they are figuring out how to pursue their career in one city and live life in another.
"Initially, when I had to settle in Mumbai and leave my family in Ahmedabad, I was afraid of separation pangs," says S Raghunandan, former MD of Reckitt Benckiser India and now CEO of Jyothy-Henkel. "But now, I have settled comfortably into a routine. I leave for home every Friday evening, though I do keep an eye on my work on the laptop since work really doesn't stop."
Some organisations support this since it also ensures improved productivity at the workplace, industry officials say. "When I am in Mumbai, I am fully focused on work. So, my productivity is higher," says Gambhir. "But it's not need a supportive family and a supportive boss."
Roopika, Gambhir's wife, says the family has adapted to his lifestyle. "On weekends, we say no to every other socialising to be with each other as a family. That is our priority. The hardest part is when the children fall sick, that's when we miss him most," she says.

 The Economic Times, Mumbai 15th February, 2013

Monday, February 11, 2013

50 Richest Indians in the Gulf

50 Richest Indians in the GCC -
1Micky JagtianiRetailLandmark Group$4.5 bn
2Feroz AllanaConsumer GoodsAllana Group$4.3 bn
3Raghuvinder KatariaTelecomsKataria Holdings$2.5 bn
4Yusuffali MARetailEMKE Group$2.2 bn
5BR ShettyHealthcareNMC Group$1.9 bn
6Ravi PillaiIndustryRP Group$1.85 bn
7Sunny VarkeyEducationGEMS Education$1.6 bn
8Vidya ChhabriaRetailJumbo Group$1.4 bn
9Tony JashanmalRetailJashanmal Group$1.2 bn
10LT PagaraniRetailChoithram$1.1 bn
11Harshad MehtaRetailRosy Blue Group$980m
12P Mohamed AliConstructionGalfar$95om
13Hitesh BodaniBankingBond Investment Group Holdings$800m
14Khimji FamilyIndustryKhimji Ramdas$750m
15Yogesh MehtaEnergyPetrochem ME$720m
16Paras ShahdadpuriRetailNikai Group$720m
17Maghanmal PancholiaRetailArabian Trading Agency$700m
18JR GangaramaniConstructionAl Fara’a Group$700m
19Dananjay DatarRetailAl Adil Trading$650m
20Asgar Shakoor PatelTransportHouse of Patels$615m
21PNC MenonReal EstateSobha Developers$600m
22Vasu ShrofRetailRegal Group$550m
23Rizwan SajanIndustryDanube Group$520m
24Nilesh VedRetailApparel Group$510m
25Deepak BabaniRetailEros Group$490m
26Firoz MerchantRetailPure Gold$420m
27Khurshid VakilRetailMarine Exotic Home Interiors$370m
28Kabir MulchandaniReal EstateSKAI Holdings$355m
29Azad MoopenHealthcareDM Group$350m
30Thumbay MoideenEducationThumbay Group$340m
31Ramesh RamakrishnanTransportTransworld Group$340m
32Joy AlukkasRetailJoyalukkas Group$340m
33Zulekha DaudHealthcareZulekha Healthcare Group$330m
34Sudesh AggarwalIndustryGiant Group$330m
35Sarah BelhasaRetailBelhasa Group$328m
36Mohan ValraniIndustryAl Shirawi Group$320m
37Jayant GanwaniRetailLal's Group$320m
38Faisal KottikollonIndustryKEF Holdings$310m
39Lachmandas PagaraniRetailAl Maya Group$310m
40Deepak AroraConstructionDRA Group$295m
41GB JethwaniIndustryGeebee Group$280m
42CK MenonIndustryBehzad Group$275m
43Dr ShamsheerHealthcareLifeline Hospital Group$270m
44Santosh JosephReal EstateDubai Pearl$260m
45Ram BuxaniRetailITL-Cosmos Group$245m
46Dilip RahulanIndustryPacific Controls$215m
47Mahendra PatelConstructionGEAP International$210m
48Mohammed DadabhaiConstructionDadabhai Group$205m
49Suresh SubberwalConsumer GoodsAl Kabeer Group$200m
50Hassan ChougleRetailEmad Group$195m

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Farming, theory and reality

Farming, theory and reality


“About 100 young brilliant minds that chose to go the hard path come here, so what difference would you make after graduating from some well-known institute of rural management?”

This question from my professor always haunted me while studying rural management at IRMA.

By the time placement season arrived, I was very clear that I should have a career in the development sector and not go for greener pastures. So, I joined the Ministry of Rural Development with the Andhra Pradesh Government and worked on projects that included monitoring NREGS work to creating job opportunities for rural youth and assisting in policy briefs for policy makers.

Even though I felt the job was demanding, the bureaucrats did all the talking, leaving the professionals as mere rubber stamps. Drawing inspiration from Verghese Kurien, I resigned from the job. I packed my bags and set off to a village in Tuni, 100 km from Visakhapatnam to become a farmer.

Dwindling Numbers

Keen to make farmers aware of the power of cooperatives, I began work with a help of a school teacher and when the post master chipped in, we had about 40 farmers who came for my workshop. The only thing they enjoyed during the four hours spent at the workshop were the Karachi biscuits served with tea. What started off as a group of 32 farmers became 20 when I proposed that we go the organic way.

But after talking to some experienced professionals, I gained confidence that 20 is not at all a bad number to start a group that would do the farming and sell the produce directly to the big buyers, eliminating middlemen. We started off on the understanding that we would not borrow from middlemen or local money lenders. Instead, we would approach rural banks for our financing needs. But all too soon, 12 members of the group turned to local money lenders. By this time, I was so far into the venture that I staked all my savings — what the group of 12 did would determine my future. I too was now at the mercy of the monsoon and market prices.

The other proposal I made — that we go for crop insurance — too met with stiff resistance. The farmers saw it as unnecessary expense. Fearing more walkouts from the group, I did not muster the courage to stand by my proposal.

Cyclonic crash

These 12 farmers had land ranging from half an acre to two acres, they were all married and needed to support wife and children. All they had was a small home with basic things that included utensils, a TV, wooden cots, and a cell-phone. Their wives would at times join NREGS works and the farmers, during off season, would go to Hyderabad and Bangalore looking for construction jobs.

Finally, my dream of being a farmer in a group took off and we decided to cultivate paddy in about 20 acres (all put together). The seeds were sown, fertilisers sprayed and all seemed to work to plan. Neither moneylenders nor middlemen were involved. We were sure of having a good crop and as a rural management graduate, here came my moment to make a difference.

With my laptop, I put together a presentation and sought appointments with big buyers. Sure enough, one company promised to send its representative to the village. I dreamed of celebrating Pongal with the farmers marking the beginning of a new life.

My dream was shattered in a few hours. Cyclone Nilam destroyed everything. In the fields, all the paddy crops were bundled up. In those bundles lay the labour of the farmers who had been sweating it out for the past few months in the scorching heat. Those bundles were indeed gold for them at that moment.

There was a sudden and heavy downpour. What followed was a mad scramble to save the crop, but everything was swept away. The farmers’ faces mirrored it all — fear of debts, the grind of poverty, one-meal-a-day fate. I do not know whom to blame. Is it the farmers who still do not accept insurance, the financial service providers who never see these farmers as potential customers, or our policy makers who do not factor in natural calamities?

Forget the fields -- the farmers’ homes were washed away in the floods, children went missing. The only thing left is hope — hope that I’ll make it some day. Now I can understand what difference Verghese Kurien has wrought to rural India. Let us not define farmers as someone who dies to make us live.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated November 23, 2012)

Monday, December 10, 2012