Sudden movesIt was less than three years ago that Ranganath ‘rangu’ Salgame, 46, then the newly-appointed India head of networking giant Cisco, shot into the limelight for attracting over $1-billion investment to expand its local operations. Salgame, 46, then moved to the much smaller Tejas Networks, an optical networking company. But barely four months after he came aboard (and announced ambitious plans to take Tejas from $100 million to $1 billion in revenues), Salgame appears to have had a change of heart and has decided to ship out. Differences between Salgame and Sanjay Nayak, the founder of Tejas Networks, over a potential listing, may have been the key reason for his abrupt departure.
Salgame had told BT that “India is expected to be the third-largest telecom infrastructure spender and Tejas is ideally positioned to tap this opportunity.” He clearly won’t be around to reap this windfall.
Full of beansHe is the coffee king of Karnataka but remains mostly an enigma. When Café Coffee Day (CCD) Chairman V.G. Siddhartha, 48, first opened a café on Bangalore’s upscale Brigade Road in 1996, coffee was very much a traditional brew, confined mostly to Tamil Nadu and Old Mysore homes.
The years that followed saw coffee turn trendy. CCD has now expanded its footprint in India with close to 500 outlets. Siddhartha’s Amalgamated Bean Coffee (ABC) Trading Company, which owns the Coffee Day chain, plans to raise $250 million from private equity as part of a restructuring of his group companies. The decision comes within months of Café Coffee Day raising close to $75 million from Deutsche Bank and Darby Investments. The reticent master brewer surely means business.
Global operatorHe was a PSU maven who has risen to phenomenal heights in the private sector. British aerospace and defence major BAE Systems has named Ravi Uppal, 54, as a non-executive director of the company.
Uppal’s appointment, according to BAE Systems chairman Dick Olver, will broaden the experience and knowledge within the board as the company expands its global footprint. The IIT Delhi and IIM Ahmedabad alumnus began his career at BHEL, but sought challenges away from a government set-up after a five-year stint. He joined Asea Ltd, and stayed on as Asea and Brown Boveri merged to become ABB. After a 16-year stint with ABB, Uppal joined Volvo India, but only to return to ABB India a few years later. Probe him on his feats and the way forward, and Uppal says: “I don’t think so much of the road I have covered as of the journey ahead, since there is still so much to be done.”
Clean crusaderFifty-three-year-old serial entrepreneur and venture capitalist VINOD KHOSLA is best known for founding Sun Microsystems and for being an early investor in technology giants Compaq, AOL, Amazon and, of course, Google. Khosla has now switched his attention to clean technologies. Little surprise then he has also been tapped to chair the India Advisory Board for Cleantech, a forum with over 8,000 investors, and 3,500 professional services organisations, and affiliate members with over $3 trillion (Rs 120 lakh crore) in assets under management. “India’s rapid economic development and nascent manufacturing sector, combined with environmental and technological factors, have positioned the country to become a clean technology hub of innovation,” says an optimistic Khosla.
Crossing bordersHe’s been a frequent visitor to India but now has a full-fledged role to play. Kevan Watts, 57, has been appointed the first President of DSP Merrill Lynch, underlining the Indian market’s importance for foreign investment banks. Interestingly, the appointment comes when globally Merrill Lynch is trying to cope with the losses incurred due to the US subprime mess. Watts will be based in Mumbai. The market isn’t exactly new to him; he has been on the board of DSPML since 1997 and has made trips to India at least once every quarter. Watts joined Merrill Lynch in 1981 in New York and has spent 27 years with the investment bank, working in New York, London and Hong Kong. Along with his new role, he will continue to hold his position as Vice Chairman of the London-headquartered Merrill Lynch International.
Crunching the right numbersBalu Nayar Is all set to commence his new innings. Nayar, 41, till recently managing director, IMG, is looking at private equity as his next move. “I will be partnering with an investment bank to promote a private equity fund,” says the IIM Bangalore alumnus. IMG is the consultant to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL). Nayar, who spent a year-and-half at IMG, was closely involved in the IPL through its conceptualising, monetising and business modelling. “It was a great experience working with IPL and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” he told BT. Nayar is an avid music listener and is passionate about mathematics. The latter will surely serve him in good stead in his new assignment.