Who said what: Day 1 at Business Today MindRush 2013
Here are the highlights from the first day coverage of Business Today MindRush 2013, a two-day event that brings global thought leadership to the doorstep of India. Featuring: Narayana Murthy on what business has taught him, best advice CEOs have ever got and Best CEOs awards.
December 27, 2013 | Updated 13:58 IST
9:15 pm: The keynote address concludes this day's coverage. As the guests leave for drinks and dinner, we wrap-up this live blog, only to meet you tomorrow (December 14, 2013) with some very interesting sessions.
9:04 pm: In his keynote address, Commerce Minister Anand Sharma says "India has proved it has potential, it has promise. You don't have to go out and search. You have to look within this room."
Two 'surpises' for the event: A caricature artist outside the hall, who can make caricatures of those present. Second, 'Mr. Sharma is presenting the keynote speech'.
9:02 pm: Commerce Minister Anand Sharma and Group Editor-in-chief Aroon Purie release the Best CEO issue of Business Today.
8:58 pm: MC Shweta Punj asks Chandrasekaran for advice to budding entrepreneurs. While thanking Business Today, his employees and customers, the CEO says "success is about mindset and belief. You don't figure it out on Day One, but you do in time."
And the big one... Business Today Best CEO of the year 2013 goes to TCS' N. Chandrasekaran
8:53 pm: Best CEO (auto ancillaries) goes to Motherson Sumi's V.C. Sahgal. In his video acceptance speech, Sahgal says he appreciates all the people who work for his company around the world, and also his customers.
Best CEO (automobiles) goes to Bajaj Auto's Rajiv Bajaj
8:44 pm: Best CEO in IT and ITeS: TCS' N. Chandrasekaran. MC Shweta Punj notes that Chandrasekaran has been the star of the evening, referring to Infosys Chairman N.R. Narayana Murthy's repeated appreciation of his expertise and abilities.
Punj asks the CEO what made TCS so strong; Chandrasekaran replies: "The company has tried to take note of the changes in the market and address them."
Best CEO in Banking and Financial Services goes to HDFC Bank's Aditya Puri. In his video acceptance speech, Puri thanked the jury, his friends and colleagues who supported him over the years, and also Business Today. And last but not the least, God.
Best CEO in pharma and health care: K.K. Sharma of Lupin. While accepting the award, the CEO says "life teaches you that you have to try to do something different, and try to be better than others. You can't do each all the time, so you have to do both." He dedicates the award to his team.
Best CEO (FMCG) goes to Unilever's Nitin Paranjpe. In a video message, Paranjpe says he is humbled by this double recognition he has received. 8:37 pm: Best CEO (core sector) goes to Hindustan Zinc's Akhilesh Joshi. Video message from selection panel member JJ Irani: "Joshi got the sleeping giant up and running".
Joshi dedicates the award to his mother, for the advice to be a good human being above all else. He thanks his workforce, his mentors.
8:35 pm: Best CEO of an MNC awarded to HUL's Nitin Paranjpe. Recorded message from the CEO: "It is an honour for me to receive this award. It is a recognition of Unilever's belief in doing what is good and right. If it's good for India, it will be good for Hindustan Unilever." 8.34 pm: India's Best Woman CEO: Goes to Axis Bank's Shikha Sharma. Sharma says: "Gender difference is all in your mind. You have to get it out of your mind early on. We are all working in the same environment." 8:32 pm: Best CEOs of India 2013 award ceremony begins. Group Editor-in-chief Aroon Purie and Commerce Minister Anand Sharma take to the stage. 8:30 pm: Business Today Managing Director Josey Puliyenthuruthel says growth in profit was one criterion for choosing the best CEOs. Second was market cap, and third was return on investment. He emphasizes that the best CEOs is a listing, not a ranking. 8.27 pm: Responding to a question about how the role of the CEO has evolved over the years, Kapoor says it's important to stay the course, focus on fewer goals, and work towards them relentlessly.
"CEOs must have customer focus, and most importantly, realize the customer is changing. Continuous innovation came up in the discussions very frequently... We love this exercise, and thank you very much for the opportunity." 8.25 pm: MC Shweta Punj invites Deepak Kapoor of PwC India on stage. PwC was the knowledge partner in the Business Today exercise of identifying the best CEOs this year.
Kapoor says the exercise went beyond numbers. The top concerns of the CEOs were corruption, shortage of skills, increasing energy costs, frequent policy changes. 8:23 pm: Panel discussion concludes. Tokens of appreciation presented to panelists.
8:15 pm: Fortis Group Chairman Malvinder Singh joins in the discussion saying no market provides the opportunities that India provides today. "If you won't enter India at this point, I really wonder when you will... Ask not what the government can do for you. Ask what you can do for India."
India has huge opportunities, and a series of complexities, Singh says. One has to accept that. "Four things to focus on - Get infrastructure projects moving, bring them back on track. Second, bringing investment in. Not only FDI but also Indian capital. We have to believe in our own market. Third, much stronger governance mechanism. And lastly, keeping in mind the demographic dividend, focusing on skill development and employability."
8:03 pm: Commerce Minister Anand Sharma says there will be more FDI liberalisation. "Without giving details, I can say that." 8:01 pm: Sharma says "India does need foreign investment. We can do away with some imports but we can't do that overnight. So FDI is the first and best source of money and technology, which can create jobs in the country." 8:00 pm: Anand Sharma says: "We all believe in the India story, but recently there have been developments that have created an environment of suspicion. We have to re-engineer the government's processes to ensure that delays are cut out, which restores confidence of people." 7:58 pm: In the next five years, the global opportunity is five trillion dollars, says Chandrasekaran. There is enormous opportunity in India as well.
7:54 pm: TCS CEO N Chandresekaran says there is huge potential in many industries, but we are not taking it forward as well as we could.
"Clarity in policy is essential. We have to decide our priorities... Execution should be one of them." TCS CEO says the technology sector has huge potential.
7:53 pm: Naina Lal Kidwai: "Corporate India must not give up and must ensure that 2014 is not written off. The difference between where we are today and a poor credit rating lies in 2014."
7.47 pm: Naina Lal Kidwai expresses her appreciation of Sharma's role in Bali and the outcome of the talks. 7:43: Sharma says the Bali meeting produced a positive outcome. Says he is grateful to the countries who participated in the fruitful negotiations. 7:42 pm: Sharma says in Bali, some of the issues were not new. India has already taken many measures, such as lowering transaction costs. "There was the issue of LDCs and food security. It was difficult," the minister said. "There was tension. India stood on principles."
7.36 pm: Panel discussion opens; Theme:"Bridging the fault lines: How to re-engineer India Inc". Moderated by Business Today Managing Editor Josey Puliyenthuruthel. Other panelists: N. Chandrasekaran, CEO of Tata Consultancy Services, Naina Lal Kidwai, Country Head, India, and Director, HSBC Asia Pacific and President, FICCI and Malvinder Mohan Singh, Chairman, Fortis Group.
7.33 pm: Purie expresses appreciation for the minister's role in the Bali trade talks. "Mr. Sharma is engaged in a critical effort to increasing the share of manufacturing in the GDP."
7.32 pm: Interactive session with CEOs wraps up. Editor-in-chief Aroon Purie takes to the stage to welcome Commerce and Industry Minister Anand Sharma, who is just back from Africa. 7: 31 pm: "Do the right thing when no one is looking." 7.29 pm: "Spend 33% of your work time with clients, 33% with your team, and the remaining 33% with yourself." 7.28 pm: "Desiring is not enough. You must deserve also." 7.26 pm: "When someone does better than you, you have only two options. You can be envious, or you can be inspired." 7:25 pm: "Never take your feet off the ground. Always continue to be a good human being above all else. This has huge business ramifications." 7:22 pm: "Whenever you build a relationship with another organization, make sure that both sides make money." 7:21 pm: Advice from Nandan Nilekani: "Buy Infosys shares". (Laughter in the room.) 7:20 pm: "Be careful what company you keep. Deal with good people... Corporate India is littered with a large number of stories of brilliant people associating with the wrong people. Rajat Gupta is an example for all of us to learn from.
CEO SPEAK: BEST ADVICE I EVER GOT 7:17 pm: Headlines Today Senior Producer Pierre Fitter takes charge. With the hundred-or-so business leaders in the room, Fitter is inviting audience members to share the best advice they have got.
7.15 pm: India Today Group Editor-in-chief Aroon Purie thanks Narayana Murthy. A token of appreciation presented to the Infosys Chairman. MC Shweta Punj sums up the session: "One of the things we learned from Mr. Murthy's talk was to get a life."
7.06 pm: A member of the audience asks that on his return to Infosys, how does he see employee morale? Murthy says lots of things have changed between the time he stepped down as CEO and today. You can no longer recruit the same type of people, he says.
"Back then Infosys would get 100 people from IITs. Today, recruiting thousands of people, they have to go to Tier 3 and Tier 3 colleges, and it is difficult to get the same quality of people as the company grows. The company has to enhance speed, execution, level of innovation. Bringing about such changes, changing mindsets, improving processes takes time," he says.
7:04 pm: Murthy recalls how difficult things were in the past. "To get any permits or licenses, people had to go to Delhi dozens of times, which took time. In Bangalore, it took two years to get a phone connection. None of us had a car till 1992 or 93," he says. "We went by rickshaw and cycle... We didn't mind that. Happiness is nothing but reality minus expectation."
7:01 pm: In response to the next question, Murthy says India could have done a lot more for tourism. "This country has so many historical sites. Unfortunately, we lack imagination. We lack excellence in execution." Tourism could perhaps have been one of the most lucrative industries for India, he says. 6.58 pm: In response to the next question, Murthy says India could have done a lot more for tourism. "This country has so many historical sites. Unfortunately we lack imagination. We lack excellence in execution." Tourism could perhaps have been one of the most lucrative industries for India, he says.
In response to the question - If you were to go back in time what would you have done differently? - Murthy says: Because we operated as a democracy, by and large we avoided disasters. We could have done things faster. But I don't know whether I'd have done anything differently. I was passionate about Infosys.
Regarding work life balance, Murthy made a joke about spending 50 per cent of time at work and 50 per cent at home. That meant, he explained, the first 50 years at work, and the next 50 at home. (Laughter from the audience)
Q&A session Narayana Murthy
6: 55 pm: Mr. Purie opens up the discussion to the audience.
6.50 pm: To Mr. Purie remarking that the Indian tech industry is still just vendors and service providers, Murthy says: there's nothing wrong in services. An Infy employee earning 50 times the nation's per capita income is something to be proud of. He says that for decades Infosys has believed the market for services would endure and grow. "Other than the US, please tell me one other country that has produced a killer software package," says Murthy.
6.46 pm: Mr. Purie is asking the Infosys Chairman about stock market expectations and disappointment with Infosys. Murthy replies people who put in their money into the company had every right to expect better performance, so it was quite reasonable. 6:45 pm: Murthy detailed how his son was highly qualified. On the issue of meritocracy, there was nobody more qualified. He joined on a salary of one rupee, Murthy said, as his father's executive assistant. There was no violation, he said, of any issue of corporate government.
Mr. Purie said: "All I can say is, you're lucky you have a brilliant son." Laughs and applause from the audience.
6:43 pm: If you want to follow the principles of corporate governance, Murthy says, ensure that there is no one who is there because of their relationship.
Till 5.30 pm on the last day of discussion, Murthy says, he was as passionate as he was on the first day in saying he wanted to spend his retirement with his family. He was assured he would have time for his family.
6.40 pm: He had discussions with the management for more than a month. He talked to his family about it, and they said "Infosys is your middle child." They said when a child needs your attention, you give it to him.
Mr. Murthy says he had no idea in 2011 when he left Infosys that he would be coming back. He is speaking about his return now.
Mr. Murthy replied that execution is key to any strategy, prompting a smile from Mr. Purie who said, "Nicely avoided." Laughs from the audience.
6.36 pm: N.R. Narayana Murthy concludes his speech to the sound of applause. Now Mr. Purie is in conversation with Mr. Murthy, asking a question about the BT cover story "Missing Murthy". What changed since then?
6.33 pm: Murthy quotes Louis Pasteur, saying chance favours the prepared mind. So being prepared matters, and matters more as you rise higher. Choosing your words carefully is important for leaders, he says. It is important to show gratitude to your junior employees.
6.31 pm: Some paperwork was not done completely for some employees in the US. Every Infosian feels a sense of contrition, says Narayana Murthy, and has learned a lesson to show equanimity in such situations.
We in south India eat a mixture of sweet jaggery with bitter meal on Ugadi - new year's day. That is a reminder to be prepared for life's ups and downs.
Nothing worthwhile happens without meritocracy and hard work, says Narayana Murthy. Indian leaders must become relentless champions of meritocracy and speed in decision-making.
The Infosys Chairman says that simplicity in conduct and corporate lifestyle matters a lot to build a strong company. Simple corporate lifestyle brings corporate leaders closer to their employees
Financially strong companies practice frugality in everything they do. Successful corporations are generally good corporate citizens, says Narayana Murthy. It is important to be courteous, graceful and humble when you're on top, he adds.
6.27 pm: Infosys violated no rule in the US, says Narayana Murthy. But it got a "rap on the knuckles". This taught the company leadership the lesson that details matter.
6.25 pm: N.R. Narayana Murthy says an ideal leader is one who is as comfortable with the bird's eye view of a situation as he is with the worm's eye view.
6.21 pm: India Today Group Editor-in-chief Aroon Purie introduces Infosys Chairman N.R. Narayana Murthy. The theme of his talk- Weathered Wisdom: What my business taught me about the business of life.
6.11 pm: Business Today Associate Editor Shweta Punj, the emcee for the event, welcomes the guests. On the agenda today: Infosys Chairman Narayana Murthy to talk about what business taught him about the business of life; CEOs to share the best advice they ever got and more. 5.53 pm: Guests are arriving and milling outside the hall where the event is being held, sipping nice wine and sampling hors d'oeuvres
5.14 pm: Setting up the stage, and trying out the microphones and lights
5.02 pm: The awards for the Business Today Best CEOs awardees
4.47 pm: BT reporters Manu Kaushik and Shamni Pande in the speakers' lounge in the business centre at The Oberoi, all ready for the event to begin
4.44 pm: Deputy editors Debashish Mukerji and Alokesh Bhattacharyya with executive assistant Mamta Kapur in the media room in the business centre
4.43 pm: Till the guests and audience members settle down, we take you behind the scenes.
Hello and welcome to live updates from The Oberoi, Gurgaon, where Business Today is hosting Mind Rush 2013, an event that brings global thought leadership to the doorstep of India for the leaders of tomorrow.