ET Suits & Sayings – The Economic Times

Gracias Senor

The antennae perked up when

Mukesh Ambani


Ratan Tata

at his Elphinstone House office last week. Was a big deal in the works? Nope, according to the grapevine — it seems the two meet fairly often. And this time, MDA had called on the Tata patriarch to thank him personally for attending his son’s wedding bash and staying on right through the ceremony. However, don’t be surprised if you see them teaming up on the philanthropy front.

Boss, Always Right
Every boss has a different leadership style and this bank CFO learnt it the hard way. His new boss snubbed the man for disagreeing with him at a meeting. Turns out this sharpshooting former insurance man does not like to be challenged, in public at least. He’s all for a healthy debate but only during one-on-one conversations. During team meetings, clearly it’s my way or the highway.

Cheers to That
Art is passé. Apparently India’s rich set is warming up to investing in fine wines. Last week, YPOs and UHNIs in Mumbai and Pune got a taste when a leading portfolio manager flew in from London to talk about vintages and valuations. Turns out fine wines are among the best performing asset classes around the world. The portfolio managers are former bankers, equity traders and algo trade whizzes who dabble in terroir and tannins to make your money grow amid the vines. We attended an event in Mumbai where we found startup founders, former CEOs, entrepreneurs and C-suite dudes and deal makers listening intently. In Pune, there was a big bash at the Poonawalla residence where family and friends discussed money over some fine Chateau Lafite.

Garden City Baithak
If previous sessions were about waking up to smell the coffee and restructuring operations to streamline the vast portfolio, what will be the overarching message next weekend when Tata boss N Chandrasekaran addresses his senior leadership team in Bengaluru? There are enough challenges facing the group in its sprawling consumer business and Jaguar Land Rover could do with a boost. Perhaps Chandra will host a session at Cubbon Park for some fresh air and ideas.

Band of Boys
What’s up with these gents — all crack bankers from a global franchise, who then became successful investors and made tons of money together and even when they went their separate ways? Now it seems they are looking to team up again. In fact, they have already submitted a term sheet as a trio. That should be fun. These days those who have worked together prefer to even hunt together… for deals we mean.

Auction Season
Nirav Modi’s phenomenal art collection was not the only one that went under the hammer last week. There were a few others too, some of them for a worthwhile cause. The Sanctuary Nature Foundation Benefit Gala saw fans, supporters, corporate captains and aesthetes troop in to cheer the indefatigable Bittu Sehgal. The show stopper was the live auction of 33 art works. From massive canvases of Ram Kumar and KH Ara to smaller works by MF Husain, FN Souza, Jogen Chowdhury — there was art for all. Sehgal, credited with helping to revive the Ranthambore Tiger Reserve, plans to popularise his Sanctuary travel experiences. Without a doubt that’s something to swear by.

Lost Chance
Mindtree’s founders are looking to fend off a takeover bid by Larsen and Toubro. But some are surprised why the founders didn’t choose to take the substantial cheque that had been arranged by a reputed investment bank a while back to buy VG Siddartha’s stake in the company, a deal that would have made them the company’s largest shareholders.

Humble Banker
As the boss of an American bank in India, Vishwavir Ahuja lived the good life—complete with palatial home and expensive cars. But when he signed up to turn around RBL Bank, the IIM grad was happy to slum it by second class rail to reach the rural hinterland. That task has been accomplished and the bank’s shares are riding high, but the banker still likes to travel in a modest sedan. Offshore Battle The world’s largest steel makers and its rival for a bankrupt asset seem to be taking their battle offshore. They’re said to be fighting a legal case against each other overseas over the violation of a commercial agreement.

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Author: Prakash Poojary

Business Analyst

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