People who made news last fortnight

People who made news last fortnight

Starring: Baba Kalyani, Thomas J. Pritzker, Sarbajit Banerjee, Rahul Munjal, Tara Singh Vachani, Ratan Tata and Kenichiro Mori

Baba Kalyani, CMD, Bharat Forge Photo: Vivan Mehra/ Baba Kalyani, CMD, Bharat Forge <em>Photo: Vivan Mehra/</em>
Crankshaft Chieftain
Indian Railways has always imported its crankshafts, but recently for the first time placed an order with an Indian company. The supplier? None other than the Baba Kalyani-led Bharat Forge Ltd, which already supplies a range of equipment to major rail networks in the US and Europe. One of the world's largest buyers of equipment, Indian Railways is expected to make investments close to $20 billion over the next seven years and Bharat Forge looks forward to bagging many more orders. Its goal is to become one of the top three railway component suppliers globally. The company is also executing, for the first time in India, a technology-intensive project involving mechanised laying of tracks in the upcoming freight corridor. Formerly an avid motorcycle enthusiast, Kalyani is highly family-oriented and spends most evenings at home, playing with his grandchildren or his pet Great Dane, Kaiser.

-Vivan Mehra

Thomas J. Pritzker, Executive Chairman, Hyatt Hotels Corp.
Thomas J. Pritzker, Executive Chairman, Hyatt Hotels Corp.Photo: Rachit Goswami
Boom in Rooms
Hyatt was the first foreign hotel chain to set up business in India in 1983, with Hyatt Regency Delhi being its first property. Since then it has grown as a brand and now boasts 17 high end hotels in the country. Thomas J. Pritzker, Executive Chairman, Hyatt Hotels Corp., who was in India recently, attributes the company's success to its relentless focus on "people". Pritzker, who has visited India 40 times starting 1971, calls himself a passionate India lover. This time, Pritzker flew down his entire board to hold Hyatt's first board meeting in India. He wants the board to "understand and experience" the India market better. "India is a strategic market," he says. It is not for "opportunist investors". Pritzker is all set to bring all seven Hyatt brands to the country by 2015 with the launch of luxury boutique hotels 'Andaz' and Hyatt Place properties in Delhi and Mumbai. Hyatt has a pipeline of projects in 27 Indian cities. Apart from China, India has been one of Hyatt's best performing markets.

-Manisha Singhal

Sarbajit Banerjee, Associate Professor, University at Buffalo
Sarbajit Banerjee, Associate Professor, University at Buffalo Photo: UNiversity at Buffalo
Windows 2.0
Don't be surprised if in a few years from now houses have windows that reflect heat, thereby keeping the rooms inside cool. Thanks to a cutting-edge coating developed by Kolkata-born Sarbajit Banerjee, 35, Associate Professor at the University at Buffalo, US, this is now possible. This will greatly help power-deficit countries such as India by cutting down the use of air-conditioners, which can account for up to 40 per cent of a city's power demand. "It will take a couple of years to scale production, but we have tied up with some major window manufacturers," says Banerjee.  

-Nandagopal Rajan

Rahul Munjal, MD, Hero Future Energies
Rahul Munjal, MD, Hero Future Energies Photo: Shekhar Ghosh/
Acquiring New Energy
Rahul Munjal was never interested in motorcycles, the Hero Group's flagship business. Instead, the grandson of Brijmohan Lall Munjal, founder of Hero Group, and son of the late Raman Kant Munjal, successfully headed Easy Bill, a bill payments company. Now, with the launch of Hero Future Energies, Munjal is venturing into renewable energy. "Our vision is to revolutionise the way energy is delivered, through a cleaner and more affordable alternative to utility energy," said Munjal in a press statement. The company will focus both on the domestic and international markets. Hero Future Energies has already bagged a pilot project to collaborate with the Rajasthan government to deliver 37.5 MW clean energy to power 70,000 households. It is certainly good news for a power-deficit country like India.

-Sunny Sen

Tara Singh Vachani, CEO, Antara Senior Living
Tara Singh Vachani, CEO, Antara Senior Living Photo: Aditya Kapoor
Old to Yield Gold
The idea struck her during a visit to China, while she was still a management trainee with Max India. Even so, Tara Singh Vachani, the 26-year-old daughter of Analjit Singh, Chairman of healthcare conglomerate Max India, thought about it for two years before taking the plunge. She is now setting up Antara Senior Living, a housing project for affluent senior citizens, turning entrepreneur in her own right. Expected to be complete by 2016, the project, spread over 20 acres, has more than 200 apartments, each costing between Rs 1.3 crore and Rs 4.8 crore, the smallest with an area of 1,500 sq. ft. Live old, live well.

-Sunny Sen

Ratan Tata, Former Chairman, Tata Group
Ratan Tata, Former Chairman, Tata Group
Neither Tired Nor Retired
He retired voluntarily in 2012, having led the Tata Group for 21 years, but Ratan Tata continues to be as sought after as before. The Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a leading US think tank, has just announced Tata's addition to its board of trustees. "Ratan has unparalleled knowledge of the global economy," said Harvey V. Fineberg, Chairman of the think tank's board. "He will be a tremendous asset for Carnegie." Tata is also pursuing his other passion, aviation - he is an advisor to both the joint venture airline the Tatas have formed with AirAsia, Asia's largest budget carrier, as well as the venture with Singapore Airlines. He might no longer be part of a buzzing boardroom, but he sure keeps the buzz alive.

-Manisha Singhal

Kenichiro Mori, MD, Olympus Imaging India
Kenichiro Mori, MD, Olympus Imaging India Photo: Danesh Jassawala
Shifting Focus
Kenichiro Mori, Olympus Imaging India's Managing Director, wants to shift his company's focus from low-end point-and-shoot cameras to professional, high-end devices. He expects his company's market share, currently at three per cent, to grow to 10 per cent by 2015. He believes, given the kind of customers he is looking for, that online marketing will be his most effective tool for doing so. "In a population of about 1.2 billion, our target is three million. The best way to reach them is the Internet," he says. Mori, 39, who came to India in April last year, also maintains he is "shy". Which camera is his personal favourite? No surprise - it is his own company's newly-launched OM-D E-M1.

-Arpita Mukherjee