Business Today

The biggest newsmakers

The fifth BT-Cirrus survey springs a few surprises at the top of the list for 2007. Mukesh Ambani, who continued to hog headlines in financial media, tops the list of individual newsmakers.

Print Edition: February 10, 2008

There are few surprises near the top of this list. Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani, who has had a relatively quiet year by his standards, still tops the list of leading individual newsmakers by doing what he does best—announcing gargantuan projects, earning humungous sums of money both for his shareholders and for himself and generally keeping the Reliance flag flying.

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The stock market’s steroid-charged march catapulted him to the pole position among India’s super rich. For a brief while, there was even speculation in the national media that Ambani Sr had displaced Bill Gates from his long-entrenched position as the world’s richest person, before it was clarified that the promoter’s holding in Reliance Petroleum was, in fact, held by Reliance Industries and, therefore, could not be counted as Ambani’s personal wealth. Gates, in fact, made news through the year for his charities.

Tata Group Chairman Ratan Tata, not surprisingly, has jumped four places to the #3 position. Last year was, perhaps, annus mirabilis for him and his eponymous group. Starting with the bold and hard-fought takeover of Corus to being shortlisted as the preferred bidder for Jaguar and Land Rover to the lead-up to the launch of the Nano, it was a year in which Tata monopolised the nation’s mind space like few other industrialists.

The media continued its love affair with the Infosys duo of N.R. Narayana Murthy and Nandan Nilekani, who dropped a place to #2 last year, while Anil Ambani dropped four places to #7. Three new faces—Kishore Biyani of the Future Group, Vikram Pandit of Citigroup and K.P. Singh of DLF— muscled their way into the Top 15 in 2007. Pandit, in particular, was practically unknown outside the US financial services industry and some media circles, but that will now change quite dramatically.

And notably, as many as 10 of the Top 25 newsmakers are newcomers to this list.

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