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Showing posts from September, 2011

Who will be King?

Kishen Mehta gazes across the glass walls of his Nariman Point offices, as he mulls over the future of the business that he painstakingly built. Three decades ago Mr Mehta moved from his native Udaipur to Bombay. Now, past 65 years in age, he is keen to retire and hand the baton to a successor who would take his precious company into another league. He cannot decide which of his two sons should inherit his legacy. His wife’s persuasions notwithstanding, he is not even sure that either of them is really capable. Now that his company has gone public, he feels morally indebted to other shareholders and is compelled to detach paternal instincts from business obligations. He regrets the fact that over the years he paid no attention to the ‘what after Kishen’ issue.
Succession planning is a challenge in any business but in family owned ones, things occasionally get messy. The separation of ownership and management is hard to achieve in practice especially when those affected have been bro…

Perched on a cusp

Whilst introducing an IMA CEO Forum session with TN Ninan, I may have inadvertently set a pessimistic tone on India’s economic and business environment. With one scandal unfolding after another, the government is trapped in a limbo and the mood amongst investors is far from encouraging. Ministers and administration officials refuse to put pen to paper in fear of future investigations and progress on government sponsored projects has effectively reduced to a crawl. Policy reforms remain suppressed in the absence of any initiative and civil society, armed with wider public misgivings of politicians, continues to pester the government on many fronts. Finally, the economy is undeniably slowing, amply demonstrated by a falling trend in the industrial production index. Tight liquidity and expensive money have derailed investment plans by business enterprise. Many businessmen are now more openly expressing longer term misgivings on the India plot and investing larger sums overseas.

Of growth…