Corporate conscience keeper

Sep 04, 2012, 07:50 IST | Malavika Sangghvi

Ever so often we get an insight into the mind of corporate India and yesterday was one such moment when we were privy to a dialogue between some of its most eminent members

>> Ever so often we get an insight into the mind of corporate India and yesterday was one such moment when we were privy to a dialogue between some of its most eminent members. And the subject of discussion, we were happy to note was not about ambition or greed but something far more edifying: who will be corporate India’s conscience keeper once Ratan Tata retires from active business? Apparently, this question has engaged many of India’s leading lights and the names that have been doing the rounds reveal more about the intricacies of that rarified world than what a course in a management school might impart.

“Adi Godrej and Mukesh Ambani would be the obvious people but the former though he has assumed leadership roles by heading business bodies is seen as a bit too old, and the latter does not seem too interested in becoming a spokesperson for the entire industry,” said one eminent gentleman.

Adi Godrej

“Kumarmanglam Birla has the moral authority but as far as sticking his neck out on difficult subjects, he hasn’t displayed much enthusiasm.” Who does that leave? “Well, there’s Narayan Murthy, Anu Aga and Deepak Parekh but they are seen as too lofty and a bit removed from the hurly burly.

Anu Aga

So, that leaves only one name: Anand Mahindra, who has the personality, the moral authority, the flair and charisma to be corporate India’s next unofficial leader. Every move he’s made in the past decade appears to propel him to this position,” our business friends said. We like! 

Anand Mahindra

Here we go again
>> For those who wonder if they are on or off or on again here’s some evidence: last Saturday at a hot and happening party held at the presidential suite of a midtown hotel hosted by the young son of a prominent builder, the cynosure of all eyes were Deepika Padukone and Ranbir Kapoor who came together, sat together and left together after a considerable amount of PDA.

Ranbir Kapoor

“They were the only film people at the party, and from those who know her, it wasn’t exactly Deepika’s scene,” said an eyewitness. So, the fact that she came at all means that she’s happy to accompany with RK wherever he likes. So, that settles the matter right? Wrong. Things will get confusing all over again when RK is spotted cuddling up to a certain KK at another event!

Deepika Padukone

The Mart with a Heart
>> We have always admired women who channelise their enterprise and address book to support the disfranchised and needy. And this Friday, the Smart Mart organised by the Maharashtra State Women’s Council (MSWC) at Tote on the Turf, appears to have brought together some of Mumbai’s most committed (and dare we say it attractive) women. For starters, there’s the fetching Nina S Advani, president of the MSWC who has worked tirelessly towards the exhibition.

“We are organising our fourth annual fundraiser — Smart Mart to raise money for our projects that support and empower underprivileged women and vulnerable children in Mumbai. The exhibition will include a range of products from household ware and apparel to jewellery and decorative items,” she informed us. Rachel Wawn who worked as policy advisor, Millennium Campaign UNDP in New York before settling in Mumbai to set up an NGO is also involved in this commendable effort. “Come visit the Mary’s Clan stall,” she says about the charity she’s supporting. “All the proceeds go towards the upliftment of women and children.” With such appealing spokespeople there is little doubt that the city with a generous heart is going to make its way to Tote on the turf this Friday to kick off its festive shopping.

Rachel Wawn

Mumbai Mahabharata
>> When normally high-profile people drop off the radar or go underground it gets us curious. For some time we’ve been wondering why this high-profile jet-setter has become media shy. Well, all was explained when a close friend informed us about the war raging between him and his father that began in the boardroom and has now spilled into other aspects of their lives.

“He managed to corner his father at an AGM and forced him to hand over the reins of the company,” we were told. “And now after the series of raids that they have faced, the father feels very isolated and regrets having estranged himself from his other family members whose help he could seek in such times.” Tch Tch. Life is so complicated for the garden-variety city billionaires!

Foodies Unlimited
>> A foodie of some knowledge and considerable exposure was bringing us up to speed about the International Wine and Food Society of India, which operates out of Mumbai.

Sanjay Menon

“It has about 50 members, and hosts four events each year,” he said adding, “And flies international chefs down. The last one was from Colombo and cooked an excellent Japanese meal at the ITC in Mumbai. The wine is also of a great quality, like the Chateau Margaux they served at one of their recent attempts.”

Members include Mumbai’s leading foodies like Ajit Singh, Chairman Associated Capsules and his fellow Oxbridge compatriot Delhi’s Dhruv Sawhney, chef Rahul Akerkar and wine expert Sanjay Menon.

“The only hassle is that if you don’t attend more than two events you automatically get dropped from membership,” the foodie rued. 

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