He closely follows football, loves to read and is taking his baby steps towards becoming a collector of Discworld memorabilia. Ambareesh Murty, an alumnus of Delhi College of Engineering and IIM Calcutta, replaces Rajan Mehra as Country Manager of eBay India. Mehra is moving out to pursue an entrepreneurial role in venture capital space. Murty, who was Director (Marketing & Operations), before his elevation to the top, has in the last two-and-a-half years been involved with key eBay functions like category management, user experience, payments, customer support, global trade, seller acquisition and marketing. “While this promotion was on the roadmap, it is a great honour and I look forward to leading the talented eBay team in India,” says the 35-year-old. As for the Discworld memorabilia, no prize for guessing which portal does he log on to for the collectibles.
When Reliance Power Limited (RPL) came up with its IPO in January this year, it did not have a CEO except Reliance Energy man K.H. Mankad as its Whole-Time Director. In the absence of a CEO, Non-Executive Chairman Anil Ambani himself handled all the firefighting that followed the miserable performance of Reliance Power stock on its debut on stock exchanges. Now, RPL has got an executive head in J.P. Chalasani, 49. The new CEO has been on the board of Reliance Energy since January 2003 after the group’s takeover of BSES. At the time, he was a Director with BSES Infrastructure Finance. Chalasani, an engineering graduate, has about 26 years of experience in power. He began his career with the power giant NTPC before switching to the private sector. Time for him to deliver another power-packed performance.
His icon during the student days at IIT Delhi in the mid-90s was Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates. Sameer Gehlaut, 34, makes his entry into the Forbes list of billionaires as the youngest self-made Indian billionaire in 2008—the same year when Gates loses the honour of being the richest man in the world after 13 years on top. Says Gehlaut: “Since my IIT days, I always aspired to build something from scratch. If it wasn’t Indiabulls, I would still be doing business in some part of India.” The Chairman and Co-Founder of Indiabulls Group has built an empire with two pals from IIT, Saurabh Mittal and Rajiv Rattan, in less than 10 years. This business now has a networth of Rs 8,000 crore. “Wherever we see opportunity, we grab it at the very first instance. We have just got warmed up before the race and there’s a lot to come,” insists Gehlaut, who feels today the greatest advantage he has is his age. Few can dispute that.
Infosys Chief mentor N.R. Narayana Murthy, 61, is not heard these days. He is keeping a very low profile since the national anthem controversy ensnared him and took him through difficult times. At the end, though, he emerged unscathed. Now, Murthy is in the news again—this time for playing the role he plays with finesse. Global banking giant HSBC has appointed him as an Independent Non-Executive Director on its board with effect from May 1, 2008. He will receive a remuneration of £65,000 (about Rs 52 lakh) per annum. The unassuming Murthy is also an Independent Non-Executive Director on the boards of FMCG giant Unilever and NDTV, and a director of the UN Foundation. Murthy, who co-founded Infosys in 1981 and functioned as its CEO for 21 years, is known for his corporate philanthropy. He is associated with institutions like INSEAD, Stanford and Yale. Multipronged role indeed for the man with the Midas touch.
Ravi Sharma, 46, faces a formidable task: That of waging a war in the Telecom sector to capture some ground from existing giants like Airtel and Vodafone. Sharma, till recently MD (India) and President (South Asia), Alcatel, has now taken over as CEO of Datacom Solutions, Videocon’s telecom subsidiary. “It’s a big change and challenge,” says Sharma. For his part, Sharma is ready to unleash a firm plan for the company, which recently acquired licences to operate in all the 22 telecom circles in India. Sharma is credited with building Alcatel-Lucent’s India operations into an entity with revenues in excess of Rs 5,000 crore and with over 5,000 employees, from just about Rs 200 crore revenues and 300 employees when he took over as its head in 2003. Top on his agenda: To ring in similar success in his new assignment.
Siddhanta Sharma, Executive Chairman, Spicejet, has spent a lot of time over the past month explaining that he did not exactly mean something he said in an interview. “Would I like the Tatas to join the SpiceJet board? Obviously I would, because the Tatas would bring in a lot of management depth and resources,” he says. But the Tatas, who own 7 per cent of SpiceJet equity via Ewart Investments, are not coming on board just yet. “The Tatas are furiously expanding across the world and have indicated to us that they will not be able to spare resources,” Sharma, 48, says. But that has never stopped talk of the Tatas re-entering Indian skies through SpiceJet.
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