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Merletta Martin – From Crayola to Masterpieces

Since the age of eight, Merletta began doodling with crayons. Well, her doodles have now become masterpieces of nature.

She has chosen to use her talents as a celebrity artist to fund school art programs and bring wisdom into the classroom, while also helping young kids express their creativity.

In a way, she’s gradually becoming a legend in her own right. Martin has struck gold in the sense that she has become the bridge between extraordinary leaders in communities across the nation and young kids who need inspiration and role models to inspire them to realize their potential.

Steve Jobs – CEO, Apple

He is a visionary, an innovator and pioneer who helped change the face of technology, the personal computer.

At an early age, Steve Jobs had an inquisitive mind – a mind for electronics, gadgetry and independence and his ingenuity would later prove to change the lives of millions of prospective consumers. Born in San Francisco, Jobs would one day shock the world with his creativity. Photo courtesy of Apple.

Sandra Pena – Classic Hair, A Style for Every Occasion

Hair styling — a combination of art, skill and talent. Her style is versatile and it’s her sense of style that keeps her customers coming back.

A native of El Salvador, Sandra Pena came to America as an immigrant to fulfill her dream of becoming a successful hair stylist.

For over 20 years Sandra worked as a stylist in various salons, perfecting her craft and waiting for the perfect opportunity to open her own shop.

Joni Moss – Your Wedding, Your Way

City lights, entertainment, Las Vegas. It it’s a place that’s been called many things, including Sin City. Las Vegas is also known as the wedding capital of the world. Who knows that better than Joni Moss, Las Vegas’ wedding expert? If you can dream it, she can help you execute it. Joni has helped many couples have the wedding of their dreams, whether in parking lots, drive-ins or the Grand Canyon.

Geir Ness – Seet Smell ofSuccess, Part II

Looking great, smelling great and a savvy businessman! He’s got what it takes! What is “IT”? “IT” is the daring spirit of being in total control of his entrepreneurial destiny, the ability to know when to go against the grain and when to ride the wave. Geir Ness has men and women all over the country smelling, looking and feeling great. He’s helping women feel good about themselves, not only through his products but also through his inspirational presentations.

Evelyn Wynn-Dixon – Mayor, Riverdale Georgia

As a person who had no prior political experience, Mayor Evelyn Wynn-Dixon has embraced her role with fortitude, dignity and grace. Her ability to make things happen is phenomenal. She attributes her success as Mayor of Riverdale, Georgia to the staff and city workers she calls her family and, of course, to her faith and her deeply rooted belief that with God all things are possible. Mayor Wynn-Dixon is truly changing the face of Riverdale, in areas of education, youth programs, the environment, business and economic development and the community as a whole.

Karen Mager – CrèmeMagnolia

What does it mean to make a positive impact during our stay on the planet? Is it how many possessions we acquire, how much money we make, the THINGS we leave behind; or more specifically is it ALL the lives we touch over a lifetime that creates our legacy?

When I began the journey of creating CremeMagnolia it was as though an unseen force was guiding my mind, creative self and energy. Clarity seemed to be dolled-out in small measures – when the timing was right and as I was able to conceptualize, completely, the inspiration. And I must admit in retrospect, inspiration has come from unlikely sources and at unexpected times. These events have changed my life to the extent I hardly recognize my former self. It is as though my former self is dissolving from my memory like melting snow flakes and the new me is forming like mist.

Ivan Seidenberg – Verizon, Tel’ Tel’ Signs of a Great Company

What makes a company great is not only its end product or service but the working elements behind the product, including its people.

Over the past several years, Verizon has been among leading companies when it comes to corporate citizenship, diversity and innovation.

Verizon has been recognized many times for its dedication to workplace diversity from an employer standpoint, as well as working with diverse suppliers, including women-owned businesses. .

Paula Marshall – Flour Power, Bama Does It Right

Have you every tasted a pie, biscuit or donut and said to yourself, Hmmm! Ah! Delicious!? Perhaps you’ve been Bamatized!

From pies, to cakes to biscuits, it’s perfection from the oven. Who’s behind such delectable treats? The Bama Companies, Inc. and its employees who believe in delivering perfection. At the center of such perfection is Paula Marshall-Chapman, CEO of the Bama Companies, Inc.

It began in 1927 as a family owned business in the kitchen of Cornelia Alabama “BAMA” Marshall when people would line up outside her door to sample her delicious homemade pie.

Sue Urda – Change Begins with Inspiration

Every person who has walked this earth has come to a point in their life when they felt a need to make a change. Sometimes the need for change comes from boredom, sometimes it comes from impatience or discontent and sometimes the need for change comes from something much deeper.

For me, the need for change was sparked in 1999 as I was preparing to enter my 40th year. At that time, I was the co-owner of a manufacturing company that was in the process of making a substantial leap in our revenues. The company was in its sixth year and many of the clients we had been pursuing were finally starting to place sizable orders. After much blood, sweat and tears, we were finally ready to reap the rewards of a job well-done.

Marlene Gordon – The Next Stage – My Dream

The Next Stage began in the autumn of 1978…with a dream and scouting trips that began in the mid 1960’s. The “next stage” was beckoning me to ride it with people of all ages to explore the wonders of the world around us. Some they might have been yearning to see, others I would reveal to them: great canyons, giant redwood forests, ghost towns, island caves and coves with abalone shells just a-sparklin’ in the sun. My dream included mountain meadows, wave-splashed coastlines, sand dunes and colorful desert wildflowers, viewed from a bus, jeep, train or hot air balloon. I would offer visits to secret gardens, country places, and to forests with a thousand shades of green.

Here was my chance to offer the public discovery tours of nature, history, cultural experiences and adventure and to make a “living” at it too!  That dream is in its 30th year of realization.  My hair has turned from black to “essence of pearl” but my imagination hasn’t quit, and I still have a child’s curiosity and an adventurous spirit. “The Next Stage” was more than the name of my tour company– it was THE NEXT STAGE of my life.

Rosalyn O’Neale – Changing the Face of Corporate America

O’Neale’s passion for diversity and inclusion has inspired many corporations to re-evaluate and change their human resource strategies that have resulted in new levels of success. Her wit and humor combined with true leadership skills is the reason behind the success of many corporations and the success of employees who have applied her principles and keys of success to their daily lives and their approach to employee/employer relationships.

Sean Thomas – From Passion to the Plate

Chef Sean Thomas has made his mark in the culinary world as a dynamic, highly-motivated and creative chef. Originally heralding from Washington, D.C., Chef Thomas, often known as the “business savvy chef,” began his career with Houlihan’s Restaurants, Inc., more than eight years ago.

Willing to start at the bottom and as he puts it, “I asked them if I could peel potatoes.” While doing whatever he was asked to do, Sean paid attention to what was happening around him – how the chefs were preparing daily meals. “I saw some of the same things Grandma made except they had a professional name to it, like mixing the butter and flour. That’s called rue in the real world. I thought, Oh Yea! I could that! It happened and here I am.

Dennis Stanley – Layers of Sweetness Any Way You Like It

Ever since I was a small child I would watch my mother and grandmother in our South Carolina kitchen, learning the ins and outs of creating cakes, biscuits and teacakes. When I got older, I entered the military. The scenery changed but my passion for cooking did not.

I started Chantel’s Cakes & Pastries in Leesburg, Virginia, (which I named after my daughter) so that I could be free to unleash my potential and establish a niche in the community that has yet to be filled by other bakeries. From wedding cakes to catering corporate meetings to life’s celebrations, Chantel’s provides cakes, pies, cheesecakes, breakfast pastries, cookies and other tempting creations. Not only does Chantel’s offer traditional treats, there’s also a menu of allergen-free and special dietary selections, including vegan as well as desserts free of gluten, eggs, dairy products, soy, nuts, and sugar.

Betsie Miklos – Lessons Learned From a Successful CEO

At an early age it seemed that Betsie was destined for success. Not only has Betsie succeeded in an industry that has been considered by many to be male oriented, but she obtained her Mathematics degree in 1965, during a time when it was certainly an extraordinary achievement for women. In her own right, she has broken records.

Betsie founded a software engineering company, Miklos Systems, Inc., which supports government contracts. The environment at Miklos Systems is one of family. Everyone is encouraged to learn and grow. Employees are also encouraged to consult with co-workers to learn more about specific technological areas prior to moving to new positions within the company.

A major reason for the success of Miklos Systems Inc. is that Betsie has hired employees that she likes being around, respects, and trusts.

Betsie’s approach to business can be used as an exceptional guide for anyone who wants to follow their dreams of becoming an entrepreneur. Whether you want to start a technology company or a business in another field, many of the principles she has applied to her business can help you achieve success in your company. If your goal is to run a 100+ person company or a one person business, preparation, trust and respect will help you set a solid foundation for success.

Carl Ferrell – The Man, The Brand

As a young child, Carl Ferrell, believed in setting himself apart from those who wanted to follow the crowd. At a very young age he knew deep inside that he would have an impact on the lives of others.

More widely known as Versatile, Carl used his gifts as an artist to create a solid foundation for an entertainment empire that has all the ingredients of longevity.

Why the name Versatile? Because his vision, his way of thinking and his approach to business has produced extraordinary results on various levels.

Versatile’s innovative spirit and ability to think outside the box have allowed him to create a amazing platform for other entrepreneurs and artists of various genres to showcase their products and talents. His brand attracts people of all ethnicities.

Keasha Lee – Striking Statements

Two years ago, my mother reunited with her ex-husband that she had virtually no contact with for more than 30 years. In the summer of 2004, he reached her with a phone call; after the initial conversation, they continued to talk on the phone, started spending some weekends together, and fell back in love. By the following spring they were married again.

A story like my mother’s is not common by any means, so I wanted to make sure that their wedding party celebration was one that they would remember forever. As my wedding gift to them, I coordinated their entire wedding party from finding the perfect venue to hold the event to ensuring that the menu contained their favorite foods, flower arrangements contained my mother’s favorite flowers, and members of both families were present to experience the wonderful occasion. The party was a huge hit and others were very impressed that I managed to plan and coordinate the whole thing which took place in the Southern Virginia town of Charlottesville, from where I live in Northern Virginia.

Since my mother’s wedding party, I decided to turn my talents into a service to make other people’s romantic celebrations a statement about their lives, whether it’s a reflection of where they have been, where they are currently, or a transition to where they want to go. My goal is to make their statement striking; one that others won’t forget. It is on this concept that I created Striking Statements Special Events.

Kristina Pickett – Never Alone In Home Care

I have a poignant question for everyone. “What preparations have you made to help an aging loved one?”  If you were like me the answer is …none.   The National Family Caregivers Association states that people over the age of 85 are the fastest growing segment of the population.  This would include some of our loved ones.
Thus begins my journey.  About 4 or 5 years ago my elderly mother in-law took ill and was diagnosed with cancer.  She had always been an independent woman but due to her illness she could no longer live alone in her apartment so my husband and I moved her into our home.  The thought of one day having to move in an aging parent had never even crossed our minds, so not only were we not prepared mentally, we did not have the physical space for another bed.  We decided to turn our office into a bedroom and quickly redecorated our cold hard office into something that would be pleasant and comfortable.

Suddenly we were caught in what has been coined the “sandwich generation”, caught between caring for an aging or ailing loved one while raising a family and/or nurturing a career.  Our children at the time were young, elementary and middle school aged, and my husband and I were determined not to disturb their normal schedule of sports, friends and various school activities.

I decided to start a non-medical home health care company in which I would draw from my personal experiences and offer assistance to the many families facing the same or similar circumstances.  After much thought and much help from my husband, I decided to call my company Never Alone In Home Care.  Our mission is to maintain dignity and quality of life to the aging loved one and their families by providing services that would allow professional and compassionate care givers to assist those in need with their daily activities.  These services include but are not limited to: assisting with bathing and dressing, light cooking, light housekeeping, transportation, errands, companionship and respite care (assuming the duties of a family/primary caregiver so that they could have some time for themselves).  It is my sincere hope that by providing dependable and high quality service to families in need, we would alleviate most of the stress and strain that loved ones go through.

Yvetta Drayton – The Sewing Diva

When I moved to Loudoun County about 8 years ago, I noticed that there were a lot of young people here but very little activities for them.  I wanted to start a sewing school then but it was not feasible.  Years later, when my work schedule changed, I started teaching sewing part-time in my home.  When my work schedule changed yet again in spring 2006, I decided to take the plunge and pursue my dream of opening a sewing studio where people, young and young at heart, could learn to sew.  I want to empower others to unleash their creativity through sewing.

The Sewing Diva, LLC operates The Studio of Fiber Arts, a school that offers classes in garment sewing, home décor sewing, quilting, knitting, and crocheting.  The Sewing Diva, LLC also designs and fabricates custom window treatments and bedding.

When I ‘retired’ from my television job and transitioned into my business full-time, I acquired students and clients immediately.  One year later, in addition to myself, I now have 5 great teachers and great classes for the summer.

The Rupee Rich

Terror Strikes Mumbai

Serial bomb blasts in Mumbai, India, during evening rush hour Wednesday have killed 20 people and injured 113, according to government reports. India’s home ministry is already calling it a terrorist attack. The federal government in New Delhi has rushed a team from the National Investigative Agency to Mumbai, and the National Security Guard has been deployed as well.

The three bomb explosions, taking place between 6.45 and 7 p.m, went off in some of the city’s most crowded areas in south Mumbai and one location in the mid-town area. The bombs were planted in a car, an electric meter box and at a bus stop.

The news of the multiple explosions jammed mobile phone lines and sent the city’s residents into a panic.  Rumors suggest that more blasts could be imminent from bombs planted in unknown locations that have yet to explode.

The state chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, speaking to television channels, described it as “ an attack  on the heart of India.” He would not speculate as to who was likely to have orchestrated the deadly explosions, although television reports suggested that militant groups, notably the Indian Mujahideen and the Lashkar- e -Taiba could be responsible.  Any link to a Pakistani involvement could jeopardize the fragile relationship between the two neighbors and the latest impetus to mend fences.

Mumbai, India’s billionaire capital, had its last brush with terror three years ago in 2008 when a group of militants from Pakistan, stormed two prominent five-star hotels, a busy railway station and a Jewish outreach center,  all in posh South Mumbai. The siege lasted a total of three days and killed over 160 people. Ajmal Kasab, the sole surviving militant is currently housed in a Mumbai jail. Earlier in 2002, bombs had ripped through suburban trains carrying commuters back home again during rush hour.

Speaking to Forbes, billionaire Adi Godrej, chairman of the Mumbai-headquartered Godrej Group, said the latest attack was regrettable. ” It’s a setback not just for Mumbai but for India as a safe destination, ” he added.

Tata vs Ambani

modified version of a photo of Ratan Tata with...

India’s richest resident Mukesh Ambani’s 27-story sky palace in Mumbai, built at an estimated cost of $ 1 billion, has no shortage of critics.  But not all of them have gone public with their views and certainly not to a prominent British newspaper. So it came as a surprise that the normally circumspect Ratan Tata, chairman of the $67 billion (revenues) Tata conglomerate that owns iconic companies such as Jaguar, Land Rover, Corus Steel and Tetley Tea, would join the legion of critics to give Ambani a public ticking off for his over the top taste.

In an interview to The Times of London, published in its magazine section Saturday, Tata reportedly criticized Ambani’s opulent home.  He’s quoted as saying: “ It makes me wonder why someone would do that… The person who lives in there should be concerned about what he sees around him and [asking] can he make a difference. If he is not, then it’s sad because this country needs people to allocate some of their enormous wealth to finding ways of mitigating the hardship that people have,”

The Indian press swooped down on the story, publishing the juiciest quotes from it. The  Times of India newspaper’s Sunday edition had it emblazoned on the front page, eclipsing news of the second anniversary bash of India’s  United Progressive Alliance government.  (In the same interview to The Times, Tata reportedly slammed British managers as “lazy”)

Tata’s PR machinery got cracking to promptly issue a denial that dubbed the reports by the Indian press as “ mischievous and misleading”.  The comments on wealth, said the statement, were made “  in the larger context of the growing disparity in the society. The comments seem to have been deliberately sensationalised.”

As for The Times article itself, “There have been words, individuals and statements that have not been mentioned by Mr Tata during the course of the interaction which are being attributed to him.” (The Times said it stood by its report)

Talk about an anti-climax. Tata’s views are hardly radical, echoing the cocktail chatter of India’s business crowd. Indeed, Ambani’s critics include several of his billionaire brethren who have felt uncomfortable with such a visible, monumental display of riches in a country where the wealthy have long hidden their expensive indulgences. (Vijay Mallya, India’s liquor baron who calls himself “the king of good times”, is a notable exception in that group) But none have had the courage to air their views partly for fear of antagonizing the powerful Ambani and partly for risking their own lavish lifestyles being exposed.

Tata, more than anyone else, stands on a stronger moral high ground to speak out loud against Ambani. Although the head of the storied Tata clan, he’s not personally wealthy and doesn’t feature anywhere among India’s richest.  He lives in a relatively modest apartment in South Mumbai and zealously guards his privacy.  His stake in Tata Sons, according to a statement issued by the house of Tata back in 1997, is under 1% .

That has to do with the largesse of  Tata’s ancestors who earmarked their holdings for charitable purposes decades ago. A clutch of Tata trusts dating back to the early 20th century- the Sir Ratan Tata Trust, named after founder Jamsetji Tata’s son who died at 47, was established in 1919- are the major shareholders of Tata Sons, the holding firm which has stakes in various Tata companies. While Ratan Tata chairs the trusts which are among India’s biggest and most generous philanthropic institutions,  he accrues no beneficial interest from them.

The single largest shareholder in Tata Sons is billionaire construction magnate Pallonji Mistry who acquired the shares as an outsider and much later got linked to the family when his daughter married Ratan Tata’s younger step-brother Noel.  Now an Irish citizen, Mistry was ranked at No. 103  with a net worth of $8.8 billion in Forbes Billionaires list in March.

Given his roots in old money, Tata’s distaste for the flaunting of new money is understandable. Philanthropy is ingrained in the Tata DNA unlike Ambani who for all his riches has yet to make a noteworthy mark in the area of charity. (He recently ignored an invitation by Bill Gates and  Warren Buffet to attend a philanthropy reception in New Delhi, to watch a cricket match).

But Tata, who’s facing a vulnerable time as he prepares to end his two-decade stint as chairman of the Tata Group, may be reluctant to take on Ambani on this count if at all. Transcripts of phone taps of a corporate lobbyist that led to the infamous telecom scam being exposed, also revealed embarrassing exchanges between Tata and the lobbyist. Moreover, his successor has yet to be named and it seems, from the controversial interview with The Times, he’s not exactly rooting for brother Noel. Notably, no denial was issued regarding his view that Noel was perhaps unprepared to succeed him.

India’s GVK Group prepares to seal Australian mining deal

India’s GVK Group, the Hyderabad-headquartered infrastructure major owned and chaired by G.V.Krishna Reddy who features among India’s 100 richest with a family fortune of over $1 billion, is among the top bidders for two Australian coal mines of Hancock Coal, owned by Gina Rinehart, Australia’s richest person ( net worth:$9 billion). According to recent reports, GVK is in negotiations with a group of investors to raise $850 million for its proposed purchase that is expected to cost between $1.5 billion to $2 billion. Other bidders reportedly include JSW Steel, a company run by Sajjan Jindal whose mother Savitri Jindal chairs the O.P.Jindal Group and is India’s fifth richest person with a $13.2 billion fortune.

Hancock’s two mines, Tad’s Corner (formerly Alpha Coal) and Kevin’s Corner, are located adjacent to each other in the Galilee basin in Queensland with combined thermal coal reserves of an estimated 7.6 billion tons.  Hancock, which started prospecting in the region in the 1970s, calls the reserves which are said to have low sulphur and ash content, the “jewel in the crown” of the Galilee Basin, in a company presentation. The mines are located near Abbot Point Port which was recently acquired by billionaire Gautam Adani for $2 billion.

GVK is one among several Indian power producers racing to secure fuel linkages for its upcoming power projects. The group which was one of the first power producers in the private sector to set up a power plant in its home state of Andhra Pradesh, currently produces 900 megawatts of power. It has 3,500 megawatts under construction and development, including a 540 megawatt thermal coal-fired plant in North India.

Reportedly, the expansion of GVK’s  gas-fired power plants has been dogged by uncertainties over gas supplies, notably from billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries whose KG-6 basin off India’s East Coast in turn has been reporting lower than expected output.

GVK has been scouting for Australian coal assets for a while. Last year, it was one of the bidders for Australia’s ailing miner Griffin Coal, but lost out to Indian rival Lanco Infratech, controlled by L.Madhusudan Rao, also ranked among India’s richest with a fortune of $2.3 billion.

A farmer’s son, Reddy shot into the limelight in 2006 when he bagged the modernization contract for Mumbai airport, India’s busiest.  The group also owns a 29% stake in Bangalore airport which it acquired for $250 million. The two airports between them handle 35 million passengers annually. India’s Supreme Court recently ruled that private airport developers like GVK were not to charge the airport development fee they had been collecting from passangers.

Shares of GVK Power & Infrastructure, the group’s flagship in which the family owns a 54% stake, have declined nearly 50% in the past year.

Sanofi inks licensing pact with India’s Glenmark

 Big pharma’s romance with Indian drug makers, once derided for making cheap knockoffs,  is in full bloom. The latest Western company to strike a significant deal in India is Paris-headquartered Sanofi  which inked a licensing pact Monday with Glenmark Pharmaceuticals , a rising outfit known for its efforts in drug discovery.

The licensing agreement is for developing and marketing rights relating to Glenmark’s novel anti-inflammatory drug, codenamed GBR 500, to treat Crohn’s Disease, an intestinal ailment and other auto-immune disorders.  The drug is in the early stage of clinical development, having completed a phase one dosing study in the US.

The agreement also gives Sanofi exclusive marketing rights for North America, Europe, Japan and certain countries in South America.  The two firms will co-market the drug in Brazil, Australia, New Zealand and Russia with Glenmark retaining the rights for the Indian market.

Sanofi is paying $25 million upfront, followed by a second tranche of  $25 million, contingent on data provided by Glenmark.  Total milestone payments could amount to as much as $613 million, said Glenn Saldanha, Glenmark’s chief executive.  “ This is the largest out-licensing deal by any Indian pharma player, “ he added.

The pact with Sanofi, Glenmark’s second with the French drugmaker, is the sixth first-world licensing deal for the Indian firm. Saldanha claimed that Glenmark has received $200 million from such licenses in the past decade.  “ We have remained ahead of the industry. This deal validates our research capabilities, especially in monoclonal antibodies, “ he said.

Glenmark’s shares soared 14% on the Bombay Stock Exchange to 311 rupees, following the announcement.  Investment advisor S.P.Tulsian, founder,, said that while the news is positive,  investors should take a longer term view on the stock, perhaps over a two year horizon.

Glenmark was started in 1977 by Gracias Saldanha, a former pharma executive who founded it with his pension money, naming the outfit after his two sons Glenn and Mark .  He was ranked among India’s richest with a net worth of $790 million last year.  In 2000, he handed over charge of Glenmark in which the family owns 48%, to Glenn under whom the company embarked on drug discovery.   It employs 400 scientists in five research centers, including one in Switzerland. Their efforts have produced  eight new molecules which are currently  under development.

Glenmark’s discovery efforts have faced setbacks, dampening its share price. Two of its molecules had negative results in clinical trials, including one licenced to Forest Laboratories.  Its stock price has remained static in the past year so today’s news is a welcome kicker. The company netted $100 million on revenues of $685 million in the fiscal year ended March 2011.

The Glenmark-Sanofi arrangement, follows similar recent deals by other Indian pharma outfits. Bangalore biopharma firm Biocon scored a coup last year when it signed a $350 million marketing deal with Pfizer for its recombinant human insulin to treat diabetes.

The man Infosys is banking on
Outgoing chairman and founder of Infosys Techn...

Veteran banker Kundapur Vaman Kamath, 63, was recently named chairman of Infosys Technologies, the $6 billion (revenues) Indian software services  giant in Bangalore. He will be the first non-founder to occupy that position, albeit in a non-executive role, after N.R.  Narayana Murthy, the company’s iconic billionaire founder steps down in August.  A high achiever, Kamath is credited with transforming ICICI Bank from a stodgy wholesale lender to a fast-rising retail bank that under his watch as chief executive grew to become India’s second biggest bank. He’s been non-executive chairman of ICICI, a post he will continue to occupy, since stepping down as CEO in 2009. Kamath, who joined Infosys’s board two years ago, spoke to Forbes about the new challenge he’s taken on:

Rumors about your being selected chairman started last August. When did you first get an inkling and what was your reaction?

The committee started working on the succession plan 14 months ago. People may have speculated but honestly I didn’t know until the weekend we announced it. Infosys is a company I’ve respected enormously so it’s a joy to be able to get such a chance. It’s truly a first-class company that I’ve watched for a long time. Back in 1996, I figured that this was a company from which I could learn a lot. One person who has contributed to my personal development and also to the bank’s development is Narayana Murthy who was a director at ICICI Bank for several years. In those days, ICICI  was transforming itself into a private sector bank. Murthy chaired our governance committee, playing a huge role in shaping our policies on human resources, governance,  compensation,  that in turn allowed us to attract the best talent.

Since joining the board in 2009, what have you learnt about Infosys that you didn’t know?

At Infosys it’s truly a collective effort. When you’re on the board you understand the business more deeply, the processes that underpin the business and the culture that drives the company. You can’t guage all of this from outside. This is a company that came into existence in the mainframe era. Today the equivalent of that mainframe of the 1980s is something we carry in our pockets. Infosys  has traversed all these tech challenges, having undergone in three decades what a manufacturing company may experience in a century. It has successfully repositioned itself to be relevant in the marketplace

What are going to be your immediate priorities as chairman?

Initially I would like to understand Infosys a little better.  I want to be available as a sounding board and make sure that we develop a strong slate of leaders.  I expect to spend 30 days a year on this. I spend a similar amount of time at ICICI Bank

Infosys  is lagging its peers  and requires bold measures to pick up speed. What advice would you give the CEO?

This company has weathered strong headwinds lately which have since calmed down and the horizon is fairly clear. It has already chalked out a strategy which is under execution. You will see the outcome in due course. I would advise patience. We ended last year with 26% revenue growth which exceeded our guidance of 17% growth.  We’re aware of the feedback from investors and will take it into account as we go forward.

As CEO of ICICI Bank, growth was on top of your agenda not margins. Now you’re chairing a company that’s fanatical about preserving margins, not growth.

The business opportunities are so vast in every vertical and geography that Infosys can continue with its focus on maintaining margins. The key input is people. The constraint is not business but the speed at which you deploy people. Infosys has followed the strategy of a 28-week training program for new recruits before putting them to work.  Because we stick to this we’re seen as slower than others who may be following a month’s training for new recruits. But we aren’t willing to compromise on this count as we want to ensure a certain quality to our customers.

Is Infosys likely to become more of a risk taker with you at the helm?

Infosys has been a positively aggressive company, growing 20% year on year. I would ask myself whether it needs to be more of a risk taker if it has already achieved such growth.  I must underscore that without the ability to take risks infosys wouldn’t have been able to survive and thrive as it has over three decades. If you can protect your margins and grow at acceptable rates, why should you revisit that equation?

Isn’t shepherding the company’s  transition from being driven by founders to professionals an important part of your role?

Let me clear a misconception. This is a professional company, founded and led by professionals. The founders have subsumed themselves to other professionals even in terms of drawing benefits. They’ve never said “we are founders so we are special”. In my view, the company is transitioning from being led by professionals who are founders to professionals who are non-founders.

A senior Infosys executive recently alleged that at Infosys, seniority counts over merit. What is your view?

Murthy has already made a public statement that the policy of giving weightage to seniority was drafted by the person who made that allegation.

Infosys still seems to be a male bastion in its top ranks unlike ICICI where you handed charge to a woman CEO.  What are your thoughts on improving diversity?

The HR head at Infosys is a woman but we will work on this. You will see more senior women executives at Infosys in the future.

50 Indian billionaires in Forbes rich list 2011

Fifty Indians, including L.N. Mittal, the Ambani brothers and Azim Premji, have made it to the Forbes list of World Billionaires 2011, as Indians Chinese, Russians and Brazilians raced to catch up with Americans, still at the top.Indian steel czar Lakshmi Mittal with a net worth of USD 31.1 billion grabbed the sixth place with net profits of ArcelorMittal, world’s largest steel-maker, rising 18-fold to USD 2.9 billion in 2010 on recovery in demand for the commodity and higher margins.Mukesh Ambani with a net worth USD 27 billion was ranked ninth on the world list, while the head of consumer products to outsourcing giant Wipro, Azim Premji, was next ranked 36th with a net worth of USD 16.8 billion.”The largest such endowment by an individual in India makes Premji one of Asia’s biggest donors,” said the magazine, referring to a donation of USD 2 billion worth of shares last year to a trust to fund his Azim Premji Foundation.

Among the top 10 Indians on the list were Shashi and Ravi Ruia, with a net worth of USD 15.8 billion, Savitri Jindal and family (USD 13.2 billion), Gautam Adani (USD 10 billion), Kumar Mangalam Birla (USD 9.2 billion), Anil Ambani (USD 8.8 billion), Sunil Mittal and family (USD 8.3 billion), and Adi Godrej and family (USD 7.3 billion).For the second year in a row, Mexican telecom tycoon Carlos Slim Helu takes the title of world’s richest man with a record-breaking fortune of USD 74 billion. His net worth grew USD 20.5 billion in a year.Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, 55, was second again as his net worth rose USD 3 billion to USD 56 billion. Warren Buffett, 80, chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., held on to third place with USD 50 billion.

Mark Zuckerberg, the 26-year-old cofounder and chief executive officer of social-networking website Facebook Inc. jumped to 52nd this year from 212th place last year.There are now 1,210 billionaires in the world and 214 new members joined the club in 2010, while only 47 dropped off the list last year. The US still dominates, with 413 billionaires, compared to Asia, which came in second with 332.The US gained 23 new billionaires and lost 13, recording a net gain of 10. Asia cranked out 98 new billionaires last year, and their combined fortunes jumped 37 percent.

The BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) countries alone accounted for 108 new billionaires, giving them a total of 301. China had the most new billionaires, with 54 and a total of 115. Moscow displaced New York as the city with the greatest number of billionaires with 79, compared with 58.The Asia-Pacific region had more billionaires than Europe for the first time in more than 10 years and gained the most billionaires of any region, with 105 newcomers.Here is a complete list of Indian billionaires in order of India Rank, World Rank, Name, Net Worth, Age, Source:

1.. 6 Lakshmi Mittal USD 31.1 B 60 Steel
2.. 9 Mukesh Ambani USD 27 B 53 petrochemicals, oil & gas
3.. 36 Azim Premji USD 16.8 B 65 Software
4.. 42 Shashi & Ravi Ruia USD 15.8 B 67 Diversified
5.. 56 Savitri Jindal & family USD 13.2 B 60 Steel
6.. 81 Gautam Adani USD 10 B 48 commodities, infrastructure
7.. 97 Kumar Birla USD 9.2 B 43 commodities
8.. 103 Anil Ambani USD 8.8 B 51 Diversified
9.. 110 Sunil Mittal & family USD 8.3 B 53 telecom
10. 130 Adi Godrej & family USD 7.3 B 68 Diversified
11. 130 Kushal Pal Singh USD 7.3 B 79 real estate
12. 154 Anil Agarwal USD 6.4 B 57 mining, metals
13. 159 Dilip Shanghvi USD 6.1 B 55 pharmaceuticals
14. 182 Shiv Nadar USD 5.6 B 65 Information technology
15. 265 Malvinder & Shivinder Singh USD 4.1 B 38 healthcare
16. 310 Kalanithi Maran USD 3.5 B 45 media
17. 347 Uday Kotak USD 3.2 B 51 banking
18. 376 Micky Jagtiani USD 3 B 59 Retail
19. 393 Subhash Chandra & family USD 2.9 B 60 media
20. 440 Pankaj Patel USD 2.6 B 57 pharmaceuticals
21. 440 Indu Jain USD 2.6 B 74 media
22. 440 G. M. Rao USD 2.6 B 60 infrastructure
23. 512 Cyrus Poonawalla USD 2.3 B 69 biotech
24. 540 Rajan Raheja & family USD 2.2 B 56 Diversified
25. 564 Desh Bandhu Gupta USD 2.1 B 73 pharmaceuticals
26. 595 N.R. Narayana Murthy & family USD 2 B 64 Software
27. 595 Gautam Thapar USD 2 B 50 engineering, paper
28. 595 Sudhir & Samir Mehta USD 2 B 56 Diversified
29. 595 Aloke Lohia USD 2 B 52 chemicals
30. 651 Venugopal Dhoot USD 1.9 B 59 electronics
31. 651 Chandru Raheja USD 1.9 B 70 real estate
32. 692 Nandan Nilekani & family USD 1.8 B 55 Software
33. 736 Ajay Kalsi USD 1.7 B N/A oil
34. 782 Rahul Bajaj USD 1.6 B 72 motorcycles
35. 782 Senapathy Gopalakrishnan & family USD 1.6 B 55 Software
36. 833 Brijmohan Lall Munjal USD 1.5 B 87 motorcycles
37. 833 K. Anji Reddy USD 1.5 B 69 pharmaceuticals
38. 879 Vijay Mallya USD 1.4 B 55 liquor
39. 879 Ajay Piramal USD 1.4 B 55 pharmaceuticals
40. 879 Vikas Oberoi USD 1.4 B 40 real estate
41. 938 Baba Kalyani USD 1.3 B 62 Engineering
42. 938 Rama Prasad Goenka USD 1.3 B 81 Diversified
43. 993 Keshub Mahindra USD 1.2 B 87 Diversified
44. 993 K Dinesh & family USD 1.2 B 56 Software
45. 993 Rakesh Jhunjhunwala USD 1.2 B 50 Investments
46. 993 Brij Bhushan Singal USD 1.2 B 74 Steel
47. 1057 Yusuf Hamied & family USD 1.1 B 74 Pharmceuticals
48. 1057 S.D. Shibulal & family USD 1.1 B 56 Software

Indians Abroad

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Anita Desai
All through history, Indians have ventured out to different lands in search of new prospects. Today, the Indian Diaspora (the Indian Diaspora is a broad term used to describe the people and their descendants who migrated from territories that are currently within the borders of the Republic of India) is widely spread. Presently, the Indian Diaspora (including the NRIs and PIOs) is estimated to number over twenty million. The Diaspora covers practically every part of the world. The Indian Diaspora numbers more than a million each in eleven countries, while as many as twenty-two countries have concentrations of at least a hundred thousand ethnic Indians.The Indian living abroad have excelled spectacularly in their chosen professions and fields by dint of their single-minded dedication and hard work. They have excelled in fields like the IT, medicine, venture capital, engineering, construction etc. to name a few. The most important thing about the Indians living abroad is that they have retained their emotional, cultural and spiritual links with the country of their origin. This strikes a mutual chord in the hearts of people of India. In this section of famous Indian personalities abroad, we have traced the life, biography and history of some of the prominent Indians abroad.


Lakshmi Mittal, steel tycoon

  • Oct. 27, 2008: UK NRI steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal was the richest man in Europe and the 4th richest man in the world but now world’s biggest loser after his net worth 13.7 billion dollars as compared $45 billion in January.
  • UK NRI steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal is the richest man in Europe with his fortune estimated, 27.7 billion pounds ($45 billion). He is Britain’s wealthiest person for fourth year in a row. April 27, 2008

The world’s most expensive70 million pounds house bought by Mittal

Mr Lakshmi N. Mittal
Chairman and CEO
Mittal Steel Company Ltd, United Kingdom
Mr. Lakshmi N. Mittal is the Chairman and CEO of Mittal Steel Company. He founded the company (formerly the LNM Group) in 1976 and has been responsible for the strategic direction and development of its businesses.

Mittal Steel is the only truly global steel producer in the world with operations on 14 countries, spanning 4 continents.
Mr. Mittal’s ability to guide the company in its identification, acquisition and turnaround of steel assets has led to its emergence as one of the world’s fastest growing steel producers.

Mr. Mittal began his career working in the family’s steelmaking business in India, and has over 30 years of experience working in steel and related industries.

Over the years, Mr. Mittal has also championed the development of integrated mini-mills and the use of Direct Reduced Iron or “DRI” as a scrap substitute for steelmaking and led the consolidation process of the global steel industry.

Other related activities of Mittal Steel include shipping, power generation and distribution, and mining.

Following the transaction combining Ispat International and LNM Holdings to form Mittal Steel in December 2004, together with the simultaneous announcement of the acquisition of International Steel Group in the US to form the world’s largest steel producer, Mr. Mittal was awarded Fortune magazines “European Businessman of the Year 2004”.

Previously, he was awarded “Steelmaker of the Year” in 1996 by New Steel in the USA, and the “Willy Korf Steel Vision Award” in June 1998, for outstanding vision, entrepreneurship, leadership and success in global steel development from American Metal Market and PaineWeber’s World Steel Dynamics.

Mr. Mittal is an active philanthropist and a member of various trusts. Mittal Steel is a significant contributor to local community and welfare activities for employees in countries where the Group operates.

Mr. Mittal is a member of the Foreign Investment Council in Kazakhstan, the International Investment Council in South Africa, the World Economic Forum’s International Business Council and the International Iron and Steel Institute’s Executive Committee.
He is a Director of ICICI Bank Limited and is on the Advisory Board of the Kellogg School of Management in the U.S.

He was born in Sadulpur in Rajasthan, India on June 15, 1950, and graduated from St. Xavier’s College in Calcutta where he received a Bachelor of Commerce degree.
He is married to Usha Mittal, and has a son, Aditya Mittal and a daughter, Vanisha Mittal

UPDATED-Oct. 20, 2009: ArcelorMittal is the world’s leading steel company, with operations in more than 60 countries. ArcelorMittal is the leader in all major global steel markets, including automotive, construction, household appliances and packaging, with leading R&D and technology, as well as sizeable captive supplies of raw materials and outstanding distribution networks. With an industrial presence in over 20 countries spanning four continents, the Company covers all of the key steel markets, from emerging to mature.In 2008, ArcelorMittal had revenues of $124.9 billion and crude steel production of 103.3 million tonnes, representing approximately 10 per cent of world steel output.

I’m not done yet.. I’m still pretty young: Mittal

NRI BILLIONAIRE steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal received a lifetime achievement award here last night – but was quick to point out he is far from elderly.

‘It hasn’t escaped my notice that this award is a lifetime achievement award. But just to let you know that I haven’t finished yet… I’m still pretty young and… I’m a fit person,’ Mr Mittal, 58, quipped.

Mr Mittal, chairman and chief executive of ArcelorMittal, on Monday night accepted the Malcolm S. Forbes Lifetime Achievement Award from publishing tycoon Steve Forbes, chairman and CEO of Forbes, at a ceremony in the Shangri-La Hotel.

UK NRI Mittal steel tycoon wins Forbes Lifetime Achievement Award

UK NRI steel tycoon Lakshmi Mittal is the richest man in Europe with his fortune estimated, $45 billion will get Forbes Lifetime Achievement Award tonight at Forbes Global CEO (three day) Conference in Singapore

More than 425 business leaders with a combined net worth of more than 160 billion dollars from across the world are expected to attend. In March 2008, Forbes had named Lakshmi Mittal as fourth richest with a net worth of $45 billion of the world’s richest billionaires.

Forbes said:

  • In 2008, our theme at the three-day conference is “The Winning Hand” and would discuss strategies in dealing with the global uncertainty and issues such as US elections, real estate, China, India and entrepreneurship.
  • The award honors heroes of entrepreneurial capitalism and those who embody and exemplify the ideals of free enterprise
  • This is the highest award for global business success and the third such honour for heroes of entrepreneurial capitalism and free enterprise.
  • At conference speakers will be:
    • Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong
    • TCS CEO and MD S Ramadorai, Sajjan Jindal, Vice-Chairman and Managing Director of JSW Steel, Tulsi Tanti, Chairman and Managing Director of Suzlon Energy

      Short Biography of both Families

      Groom’s parents, Arun and Renu,

      Lakshmi Mittal:

      This 53-year-old billionaire is the richest non-resident-Indian in the world and the fifth richest man in Britain. He started his career in his family’s steel making business in India and now owns the LMN Group, the world’s second biggest steel producers.

      He moved to Britain in 1995 and came to public attention three years ago when the British Government became embroiled in a “cash for favours scandal” after Tony Blair wrote in support of him to the Romanian government following a £125,000 (RM860,000) donation to Labour Party coffers. Mittal is a contributor to the Prince’s Trust. Most of his money is tucked away legally in offshore tax havens like the Dutch Antilles.

      Usha Mittal

      Mittal’s wife is the daughter of a money-lender. They met in Kolkata and, post-marriage, went to Indonesia in 1976 following his purchase of a failing local steel works there.
      The couple with the groom’s parents, Arun and Renu, at the Jardin des Tuileris, before the ‘sangeet’.

      Arun Bhatia :

      The groom’s father is a low-profile Delhi businessman and deals in real estate. Wealthy in his own right, the Bhatia family home is in Jor Bagh, a posh area in the city.

      Renu Bhatia :

      The groom’s mother is from a prominent Indian family living in London. She plans to organise a reception for the couple in Delhi later this year.

      Vanisha Mittal:

      The 23-year-old is the only daughter of steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal and, after completing a master’s degree at the School of Oriental & African Studies in London, joined her father’s company.

      Amit Bhatia

      An alumnus of Delhi’s British School, Amit, 25, went to Cornell University in New York and works for Credit Suisse First Boston investment bank in London. Says Amit’s grandfather, Pasha Saigal, a prominent London Indian: “He was the captain of the school cricket team, plays squash and golf. He’s quite a catch.”

NRI steel wizard Lakshmi Mittal, the richest Asian in the UK has purchased a `Guinness Book Records-breaking’ central London house for a record price of 70 million pounds. The previous record was 62.7 million pounds for a 1997 sale in Hong Kong

This house is 12-bedroom house in the prestigious Kensington Palace Gardensr and it has garage space for 20 cars. This manson was sold by former Labour donor, Bernie Ecclestone, the Formula One racing boss, who bought it for his wife three years ago.

The Kensington Palace gardens houses are dubbed “billionaires” row. Nearby are Kensington Palace and the London home of the Sultan of Brunei. According to the Sunday Times Rich List 2004, his worthis an estimated 3.5 billion pounds

Gold glitters, hits record high at Rs 23,470 on global cues

Gold hits record high as euro crisis worsens Taking positive cues from the global markets , gold added Rs 200 to touch a new peak of Rs 23,470 per 10 grams today on heavy buying by stockists and investors. The yellow metal crossed its last record level of Rs 23,270 set on July 16 this year.

Similarly, silver maintained its upward journey for the third consecutive day by adding Rs 1,500 to Rs 59,500 per kg, on increased offtake by industrial units and coin makers.
Silver coins also followed suit and spurted by Rs 2,000 to Rs 65,000 for buying and Rs 66,000 for selling of 100 pieces.Trading sentiments bolstered as gold crossed the USD 1600 an ounce level overseas for the first time on concerns about US and Europe debt crisis.

Gold shot up by USD 11 to USD 1,605.10 an ounce, while silver added 3.26 per cent to USD 40.55 an ounce. On the domestic front, gold of 99.9 and 99.5 per cent purity zoomed up by Rs 200 each to a fresh high of Rs 23,470 and Rs 23,350 per 10 grams, respectively.
Sovereigns followed suit and rose by Rs 50 to a record high of Rs 18,900 per piece of eight grams.
Silver ready moved further up by adding Rs 1,500 to Rs 59,500 per kg. It has gained Rs 1,500 in last two trading sessions.

Silver weekly-based delivery also shot up by Rs 1,245 to Rs 60,600 per kg.