Entrepreneur India Picks: The Country's Most Daring CEOs
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When one thinks about leadership, it’s not just restricted to the founder per se. In a growing company, it is the upcoming set of leaders who take forward that vision and put it into action. And, their roles become more crucial when the organization expands into new territories. As a boss, a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) can make or break the vision of an enterprise. In 2017, we saw UBER scouting for a new CEO and companies like Facebook are operating without one. On the other hand, 2018 saw two daring CEOs driving their India vision with Walmart-Flipkart deal and IKEA’s debut in India. While looking for true vision builders, we found CEOs from all quarters. From turnarounds to turmoil, they have seen it all.
With inputs by Sugandh Bahl, Vanita Peter D'Souza, Rahul R and Ankur Bhardwaj
(This article was first published in the August 2018 issue of Entrepreneur Magazine. To subscribe, click here)
Manu Kumar Jain
For Taking Mi To Every Indian
Manu Kumar Jain, Xiaomi India
“A Mi Fan or customer doesn’t have to burn a hole in his/her pocket in order to proudly own and enjoy a beautifully designed, high-quality product with the best specifications. This is the beauty of Xiaomi,” Jain says.
For Bringing Entrepreneurship in Management
CP Gurnani, Tech Mahindra
“I was a small-town guy who didn’t even know what being a CEO meant. At 33, I was already the CEO of a small unit. At 38, I was a CXO. It was no longer a dream, it just came to me,” Gurnani says, as he recalled his 36-year journey as a dreamer, achiever, and a giver.
For Illuminating Impact of 'Big Retail' Over India's Kirana Stores
Krish Iyer, Walmart India
“With the influx of digital influence in the market, my sole aim has been to attract the kiranawalas to buy products from us at an affordable rate. About 95 per cent of our purchase directly comes from farmers and women entrepreneurs,” says Iyer.
For Spearheading a 'Global Cool'
M.S. Unnikrishnan, Thermax
“It seems like I joined this company yesterday as a trainee engineer and today I stand as the Managing Director and CEO of Thermax,” says Unnikrishnan, who joined the company in 1982 and today, he is the longest-running CEOs of the company.
S. Ravi Kant
For Smart-timing the New India
S. Ravi Kant, Watch Division and Accessories, Titan
Once considered as one of the best gift articles, watches are now being replaced by gadgets and activity bands. “All around, I noticed young people wearing cheap activity bands from China which has been an eyeopener,” says Kant.
For Getting Udacity its Decision Making Powers
Vishal Makhijani, Udacity
During his tenure, the institute received its autonomous status and earned independent decision-making powers across geographies. “This resulted in over 200 per cent growth for 2017. International students are now more than half of Udacity’s overall student base,” adds Makhijani.
For Planning Long-term Growth Story
Peter Betzel, IKEA India
“We have a long-term commitment for India and consider it to be one of IKEA's most crucial markets," says Betzel.
For Finding True Love With Dharma's Success
Apoorva Mehta, Dharma Productions
“We are like brothers working together and all credit goes to him for giving me that respect and love. When he got me, he said, listen I want you to be around with me while running this company,” Mehta exclaims while talking about his relationship with Karan Johar.
For Going M&A Shopping at Mumbai Airport
Manishi Sanwal, Flemingo Travel Retail
“We always buy directly from the brands to ensure the customers get the price advantage. Moreover, the products needed to be moved from multiple locations around the world and at the same time, maintain duty-free status," he said.