Business Today

In a new league

Mercer India’s Padma Ravichander; Keshav Sanghi, former Head of Equities, Deutsche Bank in India; Pratap Bose, COO, Mudra; Rajat Gupta, Vice Chairman, International Chamber of Commerce; Amul’s Parthibhai Bhatol; and Aegis Media Group’s Ashish Bhasin.

     Print Edition: July 13, 2008

In a new league

Padma Ravichander
Padma Ravichander
When she is not putting her vast experience in consulting and technology to good use, Padma Ravichander, 47, likes to cook gourmet meals for family and friends. For now, though, it’s time for her to rustle up ways to tackle human capital challenges as she takes over as the new Managing Director of Mercer in India. She joins Mercer from Perot Systems, a leading IT services company where she served as the President and Managing Director for India and Asia Pacific. Ravichander, who likes to collect wine from all over the world, has an equally heady mix of experience across Oracle, HP and MCI Canada. At Mercer, a clear priority for her will be “to evaluate potential synergies in our different lines of business, and develop ways to partner with customers in driving their overall strategic imperatives in terms of talent acquisition and management”. Ravichander seems to have a lot on her plate, already.

On the job

Keshav Sanghi
Keshav Sanghi
When Anil Ambani decided to build a broking and investment firm from the scratch, he zeroed in on Keshav Sanghi, the former Head of Equities at Deutsche Bank in India. Sanghi, 38, is the CEO of the firm and expects to kickstart full-fledged operations by August 2008. A graduate with a degree in International Finance from the University of Texas at Austin, Sanghi has had an interesting mix of stints before coming on board Reliance Equities International. Prior to Deutsche Bank, he worked at JP Morgan, HSBC and IL&FS and was based in Hong Kong and Mumbai. Sanghi has been roped in along with 40 others and the firm will have a staff of 100 by the end of the year. Sanghi was not available for comment, but he will need all his professional acumen to meet the ambitious targets of his firm— to take on the global banks, initially in broking and then investment banking.

A new jaunt

Pratap Bose
Pratap Bose
When most others get cushy and begin to consolidate on their years of toil, Pratap Bose, 45, has chosen to quit as CEO, Ogilvy & Mather India— a slot that he had worked up to for the past 15 years. He has moved as COO to Mudra, an agency whose burning ambition to crawl up to the top slot has not been exactly hidden. “I found the thinking at Mudra intellectually far superior and that got my juices flowing. Madhukar (Kamath, Mudra’s MD& CEO) has a clear vision and strategy about what they want to be in the next three years,” he says. Indeed, Mudra Group has left no stone unturned in its bid to become a full service agency by bringing back media under its fold, unlike most others that have long chosen to hive off their media functions. A Chartered Accountant by training, Bose will get to drive Mudra’s non-traditional businesses such as Kidstuff (promotional marketing), Tribal DDB (digital) and Primesite (out of home), among others.

The global Indian

Rajat Gupta
Rajat Gupta
Rajat Gupta has got to be one of the most versatile corporate personalities of our times. Gupta, 59, has recently been anointed Vice Chairman of International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and will begin his two-year term on July 1, 2008. In his new job at ICC, Gupta is expected to play a much larger role around the world. “Like ICC’s founders, I believe international trade and investment are critical factors for economic growth and job creation, with important implications also for cross-border cooperation,” said Gupta in a statement. Gupta, who’s also the Founder-Chairman of Indian School of Business, holds the distinction of being the first non-American and the first Indian to head one of the most elite consulting firms in the world, McKinsey & Company in 1994. He achieved that feat in 1997 and in 2000, was re-elected as McKinsey’s Managing Director again. With him at the helm, McKinsey grew at a scorching pace. For Gupta, the new job might not call for a different set of skills, but has surely added another facet to his personality.

The taste of success

Parthibhai Bhatol
Parthibhai Bhatol
Two years ago, when Parthibhai Bhatol took the reins of India’s largest milk food business from Verghese Kurien, the brain behind the White Revolution, to become the first farmer in the country to lead Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation (GCMMF) a.k.a. Amul, his critics didn’t buy the move. Bhatol, 64, however, has silenced them all with a stellar show. On his watch, GCMMF’s turnover bumped up 39 per cent from Rs 3,774 crore in 2005-06 to Rs 5,255 crore in 2007-08. Says a confident Bhatol: “We are aiming to cross Rs 6,500 crore by next year and Rs 10,000 crore 2-3 years down the line.” The champion of marginalised farmers, Bhatol started his career as a primary school teacher. He can now surely teach some valuable lessons in business as well.

Under the aegis

Ashish Bhasin
Ashish Bhasin
If anyone can make things happen for Aegis Media Group in India (which owns the Carat Brand), then it must be Ashish Bhasin, who’s just quit after his two-decade tenure at Lowe Worldwide, and has joined it as Chairman India and CEO, South Asia. But from here on, it will be a rough uphill task for Bhasin, 43, who faces the task of bringing back Carat to its ‘full potential.’ Aegis has had a chequered path in India and it got further complicated when it forged a joint venture with Percept Group in 2003, which eventually fell apart. Also, the group has seen a huge change in its top leadership. His work doesn’t end here; he has to keep track of the entire region as well. That should not be too difficult for Bhasin, who has an enormous amount of goodwill backing him. A case in point: his old organisation continued to man his office even a week after he had moved on.

Contributed by Saumya Bhattacharya, Manu Kaushik, Shamni Pande and Anusha Subramanian

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