Master brewerJohn Derkach, Managing Director and Head of Costa Coffee, did not look very happy when asked about his age. “51,” he said after a bit of prodding. What he is not reluctant to talk about though, is his plans for Costa Coffee in India. The UK-born coffee chain, which entered India in September 2005, is 36-outlets strong currently and Derkach plans to grow it to 300 stores in the next five years. His whirlwind trip of India included stop-overs at leading real estate companies to plan out region-wise expansion for Costa Coffee. “Real estate is a concern,” he says but is happy about the rising coffee culture in India. So serious is Derkach about gauging the competition that he is “checking out the local cafes to get an idea about their coffee and the crowd.” Are Barista and Café Coffee Day listening?
Marathon dreamsNachiket Mor, President, ICICI Bank Foundation, is a serious and sincere person. When it is not about running his foundation dedicated to an inclusive India, he is serious and sincere about running— running to raise money for charity. As in previous years, this year too Mor, 43, is busy fund-raising coinciding with the Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon. “This year, my run will support MelJol, an organisation working for child rights,” he says. MelJol has plenty to look forward to if Mor’s previous efforts are any indicator. In 2007, Mor was the highest pledge-raiser among men in the marathon.
Between Kalpana Morparia (who was the highest among women) and him, they raised Rs 1.22 crore for The Banyan, a Chennai-based organisation. This former banker is surely onto a ‘good’ thing.
Innovation guru on callFor Vijay Govindarajan, Professor Of International business at Dartmouth’s Tuck School of Business, 2008 has started off on a roaring note. The 58-year-old Govindarajan, best known for his book Ten Rules for Strategic Innovators, started at General Electric’s (GE) Crotonville (New York) campus as its first Professor in Residence and Chief Innovation Consultant. As GE’s innovation guru on call, Govindarajan, or simply VG as he is called, will play a three-pronged role: teach, consult, and guide.
For the next one year, he’ll teach GE’s top 600 executives on innovation, deep dive into one or two specific innovations as a consultant, and serve as a sounding board to managers on innovation issues. “Innovation is in GE’s DNA, but these are changing times and the challenge of innovation is that much more intense,” says VG as an explanation for his extraordinary appointment. No doubt, it’s an honour— and well deserved.
Feather in her cap
For her part, the vivacious lady is clear about her goals. “I would like to re-align our practices so that Synovate is best-poised to exploit the market growth,” she says. When not implementing the three ‘I’s of Synovate, namely innovation, integration and internationalisation, she is busy updating herself with the latest books and movies. But for now, Minocha is busy basking in the glory of this latest feather in her cap after a decadelong stint at Synovate.
Riding the airwavesHe has worked on ways to handle and preserve the fragile Indian ecosystem as a special Secretary in the Ministry of Environment. The 1973-batch IAS officer Siddharth Behura is now juggling yet another limited resource. The spectrum. Behura, 58, who has taken over as the Telecom Secretary, is in the thick of the game even before he’s got a grasp on his department. “The resources are limited but we will try to accommodate every one,” says Behura commenting on the sensitive issue of spectrum. There is some spectrum available that can be allotted going by the rule book, says the Secretary, who is now busy prioritising nearly 600 applications, some pending for over a year now. “But at the end of the day it’s the government’s right over its property,” he is quick to add. That’s a confident buzz for a start.
Deal hunterAmitabh Chaudhary is on a mission. Six months after closing the $28-million (RS 112-CRORE) deal to take over three of consumer electronics giant Philips’ BPO centres in Chennai, Lodz (Poland) and Bangkok (Thailand), the Chief Executive of Infosys BPO is once again on the lookout for inorganic growth opportunities. Chaudhary, 44, is looking for similar deals to boost the company’s growth. “There are realistically few options in the market today, but we would be open to buying companies for either their domain knowledge or access to a technology platform, but at the right price,” he says. Infosys has preferred to organically grow its BPO business (unlike cross town rival Wipro, which acquired Spectramind to enter the space). By all accounts, it’s clearly time to step on the gas in a fast-consolidating market.
—contributed by Pallavi Srivastava, Shalini S. Dagar, Amit Mukherjee, R. Sridharan and Rahul Sachitanand