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Saturday, October 20, 2007

Rewarding excellent talent

The ET Awards jury 2007 chose to reward excellence in management. Business leaders face an environment that has become exceedingly complex. They face the challenge of talent management, dealing with risk and execution. The winners of the ET Awards for Corporate Excellence 2007 exemplify these attributes. Business Leader KV Kamath has transformed what was a development bank into India’s second largest bank. Mr Kamath won the jury’s vote for successful execution and building a great management team. Company of the Year, Bharti Airtel, has been a world leader in introducing new management practices to the telecom industry.

This includes outsourcing its network, leaving the management free to concentrate on the core telecom business of acquiring subscribers profitably. GM Rao, Entrepreneur of the Year, has shown the ability to execute vast projects ahead of schedule, earning the admiration of his peers. He has seamlessly moved from roads and power to more complex airport projects. Businesswoman of the Year Shobhana Bhartia has presided over an expansion into new markets and new business segments. The jury’s pick for Emerging Company of the Year, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, combines a focus on the generic segment, a commonplace among Indian companies, with a forward-looking emphasis on research.

Some of the awards need little explanation. Jury co-chairman N R Narayana Murthy was chosen for the Lifetime Achievement Award for leading two revolutions. One is, of course, the creation of Infosys and the Indian IT revolution. The second is in corporate governance. Rajat Gupta, managing director worldwide for McKinsey & Co between 1994 and 2003, is ET’s Global Indian.

Mr Gupta was chosen because of his untiring promotion of India at various international fora and for building world-class institutions in India. Praful Patel’s role in opening up the civil aviation sector won the jury’s admiration and the Business Reformer award. Sebi chairman M Damodaran presides over capital markets which are globally acknowledged as well regulated, earning him the Change Agent Award. Sankara Nethralaya, Corporate Citizen, performs thousands of eye surgeries every year, a significant proportion of them free.

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