Business Today

Peggy's India run

Margaret L. “Peggy” Johnson, 46, runs a couple of miles every day. The Executive Vice President for Qualcomm’s business for the Americas and India has run numerous full and half marathons in England and Ireland.


     Print Edition: February 22, 2009

Margaret L. “Peggy? Johnson, 46
Margaret L.Johnson
Margaret L. “Peggy” Johnson, 46, runs a couple of miles every day. The Executive Vice President for Qualcomm’s business for the Americas and India has run numerous full and half marathons in England and Ireland. Little surprise then that Johnson was zealously racing to the finish line at the half marathon in Mumbai this January. Johnson’s previous official visit to India was in 2008—sometime after the 2008 Marathon, which is when she expressed her desire to run in 2009. Running ambitions apart, Johnson has a special focus on India as the country embraces 3G and the Wideband-CDMA platform. Wireless technology company Qualcomm owns the rights for the use of the technology and is the leading provider of solutions. Peggy, as she is called by her colleagues, will surely hope for a good run in India.

Kalpesh Solanki, 48
Kalpesh Solanki
An Indian Dream in London
Small is big for Kalpesh Solanki, 48, group managing editor, Asian media & Marketing Group, London. His father Ramniklal Solanki started a newsweekly Garavi Gujarat in 1968, which is today the best selling magazine in the UK for the Asian community. Over the years, the group has added an assortment of small and niche publications, the latest being acquisition of Britain’s leading Asian weekly Eastern Eye from Ethnic Media Group. Next on radar is an entry into the Indian market. “We are in a wait-and-watch mode due to slowdown. This also gives us time to digest the acquisition,” says Solanki (right in the pic) who manages the business along with his brother Shailesh (left) and father. That will be one homecoming to watch out for.

Kalpesh Solanki, 48
Kalpesh Solanki
Happy Return(s)?
Joe Saddi, 54, faces a daunting task. The Chairman of Booz & Company is scaling up operations in India at a time when the market is anything but conducive. This is Booz’s second innings in a market that it exited in 2000. Says Saddi: “One cannot be truly global without an Indian footprint.” That’s why one of the first decisions taken by the new entity was to re-establish operations in India. Offices are being set up in Gurgaon and Mumbai. Saddi hopes Booz’s innovative strategy will help it take on the likes of McKinsey, Bain & Company and BCG. A consulting veteran of more than 20 years, Saddi says he is in India for the long haul. For now, though, he is swimming against the tide.

Rajeev Chandrashekhar, 44
Rajeev Chandrashekhar
Clean Sweep
First there was the Bangalore agenda task force, promoted by corporate citizens, including Infosys Technologies’ Nandan Nilekani. Now, it is the turn of computer engineer-turned-industrialist Rajeev Chandrashekhar, 44, to take up cudgels for the crumbling infrastructure in India’s IT capital. His vehicle of choice is Agenda for Bengaluru Infrastructure and Development (ABIDe) task force, a government-sponsored initative to devise a blueprint to improve city infrastructure. Chandrashekhar, who was part of the team that developed the Pentium computer chip and made his fortune with the Rs 4,400-crore sale of BPL Mobile to Hutch-Essar in July 2005, now has some spanking new priorities. A Rajya Sabha member, the auto racing fan now wants to lead the crusade to beautify Bangalore or Bengaluru as it is now called. “ABIDe task force has worked very hard to understand the challenges facing the city and to formulate solutions,” says Chandrashekhar. He’s banking on the expertise of some of the IT Capital’s most prominent citizens, including former bureaucrat A. Ravindra, traffic expert M.N. Sreehari and Biocon founder Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw. “Besides criticising the government, we must take a more active role in administering cities,” he says.

Jason Pontin, 41
Jason Pontin
“Financial Meltdown Will be Good for Technology”
Jason Pontin, 41, Editor of the mit technology Review, recently came to India to announce the first international edition of the magazine in English. But, why India? Business Today caught up with Pontin to find out.

Q. Why an Indian edition?
A. I’ve had a love affair with India for quite a while and even came here for my honeymoon more than 10 years ago. But beyond that, I feel India is a growing market and has a culture of interest in mathematics and science. However, this will be a monthly edition rather than our usual bi-monthly cycle.

Q. Where do you see technology headed in the coming years?
There has been massive work in green technology over the past years and President Obama has taken some positive steps on that front as well. I don’t believe that humankind can just switch over from liquid fuels overnight; we’ve based our civilisation on them. But there’ll be major progress on this front.

Q. And will the financial meltdown impact technology?
In a weird sort of way, it’ll be good for technology. I feel that during the boom years a lot of bad technology got funded. Now only the best, the most viable ideas and those that can really change lives might get the money.

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