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Why India Inc’s leaders and executives are moving abroad

Why India Inc’s leaders and executives are moving abroad

Eicher Motors MD and CEO Siddhartha Lal relocated to London in 2015 to be close to Royal Enfield’s new R&D centre in Leicestershire. Hero Cycles Chairman and MD Pankaj Munjal also spends nine months a year in London to focus on the European e-bike market. 

Apollo Tyres Vice Chairman and MD Neeraj Kanwar relocated to London in 2013 when the company wanted to acquire the American firm Cooper Tires. Apollo Tyres Vice Chairman and MD Neeraj Kanwar relocated to London in 2013 when the company wanted to acquire the American firm Cooper Tires.

Indian businesses wanting to expand overseas is a common phenomenon these days. And business owners increasingly find merit in supervising them by being close to these newer markets. This opens up alternative residency routes, which becomes an advantage when seen in light of current geopolitical and macroeconomic instabilities.  

For instance, Apollo Tyres Vice Chairman and MD Neeraj Kanwar relocated to London in 2013 when the company wanted to acquire the American firm Cooper Tires. Overseeing global strategic operations from there has helped de-risk the business and worked out also as an alternative residency for Kanwar. “If I had stayed in India, I would have been only an Indian company looking at only the Indian market. Today, when India is facing challenges on inflation and oil prices, Europe is also facing challenges, but has been a larger profit pool for the company,” says the 51-year-old Kanwar.  

Similarly, Eicher Motors MD and CEO Siddhartha Lal relocated to London in 2015 to be close to Royal Enfield’s new R&D centre in Leicestershire. 

Hero Cycles Chairman and MD Pankaj Munjal also spends nine months a year in London to focus on the European e-bike market. 

Serum Institute of India CEO Adar Poonawalla shuttles between London and Pune, while Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra is also known to spend much of his time abroad. Business Today’s queries to them about their preference to stay abroad went unanswered.

Clint Khan, the Director of Y-Axis Middle East DMCC, an immigration and visa consultant services company, points out that the number of businesses in India that are looking for bigger markets abroad has risen. “When we ask the business professionals whether they want a permanent residency (PR) or to run a business in that country, almost 90 per cent say both. Gone are the days when people wanted to expand operations because they just want to do a business; most of the business professionals now want a residency as well,” he says.

As experts say, for many successful corporate executives—especially those who are 45-50-year-olds—the need to shift base abroad is also driven by the thought about their children’s future, and the need to give them a career boost.  “They say they’ve professionally grown as much as possible in India and cannot grow anymore and that they would like to look at getting residencies done for their children,” says Khan. As a resident, the child can bypass the work permit-related hassles that they would otherwise have to go through as a foreign student.  

For instance, Nysa Global Managing Director Pankaj Joshi who advises clients on expanding their global footprints has a lot of clients telling him that they want their child to go abroad for higher studies, but they don’t want him or her to go through the struggles of finding jobs which sponsor a work visa. “Once the children start to settle there, the families also want to go,” Joshi adds.  

Navnit Singh, who is the executive search firm Korn Ferry International’s Chairman & Regional Managing Director for India, too, affirms that a lot of senior executives, given a choice, would also like to get transferred to global locations, preferably the US, where their children are studying or settled. 
 

Published on: Sep 25, 2022, 5:08 PM IST
Posted by: Saurabh Sharma, Sep 25, 2022, 4:57 PM IST