Nearly a decade after joining Adobe, Shantanu Narayen, the company’s India-educated President and COO, has been elevated to the top job at the desktop software publishing company.
A graduate in electronics engineering from Osmania University, Hyderabad, Narayen, 44, has been at the centre of Adobe’s expansion, most notably its $3.4-billion deal for Macromedia last year.
Now, Narayen will have his hands full not just growing his business, but also keeping a guarded eye out for Microsoft, which has been slowly moving into this market. “Around 98 per cent of computers (with an internet connection) run our Flash software and we’re confident of maintaining our lead over the competition,” Narayen had told BT.
Happily for him, India has evolved into a key product development base for Adobe. With another Indian-American Naresh Gupta running Adobe’s global R&D operations, it looks likes it is ‘India shining’ at Adobe.
Indra Nooyi, 52, has added yet another feather to her already impressive cap. One of the most powerful businesswomen in the world, Nooyi has recently been anointed a director on the board of US-India Business Council.
She brings with her a highly-valuable perspective as the Chief Executive of a corporation spanning nearly 200 countries. Incidentally, PepsiCo is a Chairman’s Circle member of USIBC, the highest level of membership, and is a longtime supporter of expanding business ties between the US and India.
Nooyi, who was a bit of a rule-breaker in her conservative, middle-class days at Chennai, is also on the boards of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York and the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, New York. With a string of career highs in tow, the non-conformist Nooyi seems set for another action-packed stint at the council.
Adding Fizz to Farming
Soft drinks giant PEPSICO India has roped in an economist and external affairs expert to drive its agriculture initiatives. It has appointed VIVEK BHARATI as Executive Director for External Affairs to replace Abhiram Seth, who is retiring after a 15-year stint at the company in February.
In his new role, Bharati, 52, will manage the eclectic agricultural projects, crucial to company’s India scheme of things after its image took a hit over the pesticide controversy. What clinched the job in Bharati’s favour is his deep understanding of the economic policy coupled with considerable skills in policy dialogue.
An ex-journalist, who began his career as a lecturer in Economics at Delhi University, Bharati was Advisor (National Policy and Programmes) at Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI) prior to joining PepsiCo..
For Tarun Das, The Chief Mentor of CII, life is “beginning afresh at 68”. An exuberant Das is thrilled about his recent month-long stay at the Harvard University in November. The agenda: Helping students understand the India growth story better. On his first visit to Harvard, Das fielded a volley of questions from over 150 students.
No prizes for guessing the most-asked question: How long will the high growth rates in India sustain? “Everything in India is like a Bollywood movie—full of twists and turns. But we are going to stay above 10 per cent (growth rate),” an emphatic Das told his audience. That’s not all.
The interaction thread is being carried forward—Das is looking at increased industry interactions at Harvard. And perhaps as a pre-cursor to that, a persuasive Das has roped in Nobel laureate Amartya Sen to be the key speaker at a conference on education in Delhi in December. Sounds like the perfect icing on the cake for now.
Stepping into Iconic Shoes
Succeeding the iconic technocrat R.A. Mashelkar is a tough act to follow. Samir K. Bramachari, 55, the new Director General of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), however, has the credentials.
This biophysicist is credited with bringing about Genomed, a first-of-its-kind alliance in India between a government institute (Institute of Genomics & Integrative Biology) and a pharma company (Nicholas Piramal) in the area of genomics, pharmacogenomics and bioinformatics.
He is also coordinating a national network project in ‘In Silico Biology’ for drug target development. Plus, Brahmachari is enthusiastic about India’s freer economy bringing more investments into science and technology. At CSIR, a set-up of 38 R&D centres, he has his task cut out—to make Indian science achieve more commercial success in the years to come. Time for Brahmachari to take centrestage.
Economist for All Seasons
Vijay Kelkar, 65, the newly-appointed head of the XIII Finance Commission, plays by the rules. Ask him about his approach to the new assignment and he says, “It is too early to say. I have yet to join.” Politely but firmly, he refuses any conversation till he begins work, but promises a chat once that happens.
Not surprising that he is liked by so many, including regimes of various hues. That is evident in the tasks that have been allocated to him. The former Finance Secretary headed the task forces on direct and indirect taxes during the NDA regime.
Subsequently, it was the task force on implementation of the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management Act.
Now as the next generation reforms await change at the state level, he is expected to play a crucial role in determining allocation of finances between the Centre and the states. Strictly by the rules, yet again.