I was quite privileged to have had Baba Kalyani fly into London, especially, to attend a press event, and then to an exclusive event that HSBC hosted for me to mark the launch of my book this evening. For your reference, Mr Kalyani’s claim to fame is that his firm (Bharat Forge) supply components to almost every singly vehicle in North America & Europe! In my book, I refer to him as ‘India’s Mr Manufacturing’.
At the press event, we had a number of journalists from a variety of sectors – sectoral press, newswires, Indian, Chinese, and French journalists etc who grilled him on big picture issues ranging from global warming & climate change, the financial slow-down, India Vs China, what to expect from Davos this year etc.
What struck me was his statement that, despite the scaremongering, the UK presented the best opportunity for manufacturing firms in Europe (and not Germany). I’m used to listening to political spin about these kinda things – we’ve recently had Lord Mandelson waxing lyrical about global manufacturing, but I believe it matters when leading players like Mr Kalyani say it.
At the evening event, which was an exclusive event with “society” figures, the focus shifted from macro issues to his personal story. I wanted to offer the audience the opportunity to ask questions to Mr Kalyani. I felt this was important because when I used to return to London and narrate what I had learnt through my interviews with the entrepreneurs to my friends, they’d chip in by saying “I wish I could ask him / them a question” – so the event allowed them exactly that.
All in all, I’m delighted to say, today was a success.
You can take a look at some of the photos here: