And as we “mellow” together over a few glasses of Johnnie Walker Black Label, Adil talks about spirited things he has done in life.
Inside trackBorn: April 24, 1954; Mumbai
Family: Wife Padma and sons Tarik and Samir
Educated: St Xavier’s, Mumbai; National Law College, Mumbai; Cornell University, US
First job: With Frito Lay
First salary: $36,000 p.a.
Favourite film: Dr Zhivago, Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna
Favourite book: The Fountainhead
Favourite destination: Vevey in Switzerland
Would love to visit: St Petersburg
Mantra in life: Life is like an elevator ride. Make sure you build relationships on the way up
“I was always a fun-loving guy,” he says with a smile, as he remembers his St Xavier’s days when friends would head out to Bullock Cart or Slip Disc (the discos) to have shots of Old Monk or, if they felt flush, Vat 69.
“Once I was driving my friend’s Ambassador and the guys wanted the girls to ‘slide’ into their laps in the back seat. I don’t know how, but I managed to drive the car on two wheels for about 20 seconds, so that the girls slid to one side, as we had wanted,” he says, a trifle embarrassed as his son Tarik, in Delhi with his father on personal work, gives him the wow-I-am-impressed-dad look.
Adil, who worked in McKinsey for 12 years, says brand loyalty is important. “I have been a Polo shirt loyalist for 15 years. And my shoes are Ferragamo,” he says.
Asif’s day out6.30 am: Wake up, and be on the phone for an hour with the Asia-Pacific region office
8.30 am: Go for a walk on the Carter Road bandstand or to the gym
10.30 am: At work. Have a cracker for breakfast
7.30 pm: Leave for home
8.30 pm: Dinner engagements (mostly official) at least four times a week
10.30 pm: Visit a few bars (in whichever city he happens to be on a day) to check out brand visibility, perception, etc.
12.30 am: Hit the sack
So, what does the man drink himself? “I pick up a lot of my liquor from London. Check out this shop called The World of Whisky in the duty-free area of the airport. They have the best collection,” he says. What kind of a boss is this jet-setting man? “I like to think I am a kick-ass entrepreneur. I am friendly but I demand returns on time invested. I tell my team to hunt elephants and not to shoot ants.”
He loves to travel, and a recent family vacation in Black Forest (Germany) remains etched in his mind. The glasses are empty by now and Adil has work to do. After 10 p.m., he will have to head to several pubs in town to check the brand visibility and perception about Diageo. “I do this every night. It builds relationships with so many people,” he says. From bunking classes, playing “Teen Patti” with friends in Mumbai and driving an Amby on two wheels, this man has come a long way.