Blog Posts by Natalia George

  • Mukesh Ambani

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    Few years ago, Mukesh Ambani made news with his skyscraper-house Antilla that overlooks Mumbai’s infamous slums.

    This year he’s back with yet another controversy surrounding the hike in gas prices which is apparently supposed to benefit Reliance Industries. Social activist Arvind Kejriwal has hit out against the elder Ambani brother (and the prime minister in effect) saying that the former runs the country and is blackmailing the government.

    Kejriwal went so far as to state that Jaipal Reddy was removed as the petroleum minister for refusing Ambani-led Reliance Industries' proposal to hike charges of gas it supplied to state-run power plants. Kejriwal also said that Mukesh Ambani has a Swiss account with Rs 100 crore stashed abroad.

    Ambani, however, is enjoying his status as India’s richest with a net worth of around $19bn-$21 billion – and topped both Forbes and Hurun’s list this year.

    Read More »from Mukesh Ambani
  • Raghuram Rajan

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    Raghuram Rajan is India’s newly appointed Chief Economic Adviser to the Prime Minister’s office. He formerly served as the president of the American Finance Association and was the chief economist of the International Monetary Fund.

    Raghuram Rajan was one of the economists who predicted the 2008 financial crisis. As early as 2005, Rajan delivered a controversial paper that was critical of the financial sector, warning that what looked like a booming economy was based on extremely risky financial practices.  The response to Rajan's paper at the time was negative.  However, following the 2008 economic crisis, Rajan's views came to be seen as prescient.

    He graduated from the Indian Institute of Technology with a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering, and he completed the Post Graduate Diploma in Business Administration at the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad.  He received a PhD in management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

    Rajan is expected to be nextRead More »from Raghuram Rajan
  • Duvvuri Subbarao

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    When Duvvuri Subbarao took over as the RBI Governor in 2008 the global economy was in shambles and Subbarao kept a firm handle on the monetary policy. Three years hence, he continues to maintain his hawkish stance at the risk slowing down the economy.

    Most banks in developed have kept interest rates near zero and have promised to leave rates unchanged until 2013. India’s interest rate, however, has been hiked constantly since 2008 in an effort to rein in inflation and currently stands at 8 percent.

    Though Subbarao has earned more critics (like the Finance Ministry) for his bold decisions, he still has many that admire him for his independence, asserting the Reserve Bank’s autonomy. He has remained undeterred by industry and political pressure to lower rates.

    Read More »from Duvvuri Subbarao
  • Kaushik Basu

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    For someone who studied under the tutelage of Nobel Laureate Amartya Sen, Kaushik Basu has definitely done is Guru proud. The World Bank, in September, named Kaushik Basu as its chief economist.

    The former chief economic adviser to the government of India holds a Ph.D. from the London School of Economics, and is on leave from his position as a professor of economics and international studies at Cornell University in New York.

    Basu, who describes himself as left-leaning, believes that good moral qualities are essential for growth and development within the economy. Quite aptly, he is also the president of the Human Development and Capabilities Association founded by Amartya Sen which promotes research from many disciplines on key problems including poverty, justice, well-being, and economics.

    The 60-year-old Basu is also the motivation behind ‘Arthapedia’, an online portal that provide explanations to the concepts used in Indian public policy to assist its understanding among citizens.

    Read More »from Kaushik Basu
  • Rajat Gupta

    While some Indians make it to the world’s richest list, some kings have lost their crown to bad times. From announcing blockbuster reforms to inflation hawks, these men have rocked our financial world.

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    In 2012, insider trading was a term that got synonymous with former McKinsey managing director Rajat Gupta, who leaked inside information to hedge-fund manager Raj Rajaratnam.

    Interestingly, Gupta liked to quote a verse from the Bhagvad Gita every time he addressed the students of Indian School of Business, which spoke about work ethic. As a teenager he lost both his parents, moved into IIT Delhi, then into Harvard, and at 45 became the first Indian-born chief of a US international corporation.

    But that was the beginning of the end of the fairy tale for Gupta.

    Gupta met Raj Rajaratnam through a common friend and in 2003, the duo started investing millions of dollars in Asian private equity funds that Gupta helped to start. In 2011, Gupta was convicted in Manhattan federal court for leaking Goldman Sachs boardroom secrets to Rajaratnam, who was implicated in a US government crackdown on insider trading over the past four years.

    Gupta was sentenced to two years in prison in October this

    Read More »from Rajat Gupta
  • Dinesh Trivedi

    While some Indians make it to the world’s richest list, some kings have lost their crown to bad times. From announcing blockbuster reforms to inflation hawks, these men have rocked our financial world.

    Image via AFP Images

    He was neither funny like Lalu Prasad Yadav nor fiery like Mamata Banerjee. But former Railway Minister Dinesh Trivedi will be remembered for the central role he played in the farcical drama of this year’s Rail Budget.

    Trivedi stepped down as the railway minister on 18 March, 2012, a couple of days after presenting his first ever Railway Budget in which he increased passenger fare. This, absurdly, did not go down well with his own political party, Trinamool Congress (TMC) and in particular its head West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

    The defiant Trivedi was replaced by TMC’s Mukul Roy, who promptly rolled back the rail fare hike, expressing concern for India’s "aam aadmi".

    Ironically, Trivedi’s budget had received support from industry groups, all five Rail Unions and even the general public, who believed his argument that the increase in fares was necessary for improving passengers' safety.

    While popular politics won, the Barrackpore MP can take consolation from the fact that Read More »from Dinesh Trivedi
  • Vijay Mallya

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    The man fondly referred to as the ‘King of Good Times’ is facing a really bad time. Once a billionaire, Mallya’s net worth has slipped to $800 million. His Kingfisher Airlines (KFA), which had its license suspended in October after its ability to operate and pay its employees, is facing a staggering debt of $2 billion.

    His bad time though did not stop there. Again last month, a judge issued a warrant for Mallya and four other directors of KFA for their non-appearance in cases relating to bouncing of cheques issued in favour of GMR Hyderabad International Airport Limited towards user charges. He also said that he is reluctant to sell family silver to bail out KFA.

    But not all was gloomy. Despite all the controversy surrounding him, Mallya made an appearance at the Indian Grand Prix asking if he should be anywhere else. The liquor baron was also able to sell his stake in United Spirits to Britain’s Diageo this year.Read More »from Vijay Mallya
  • Angela Merkel

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    Forbes has rated her as the ‘World’s Most Powerful Woman’ for two consecutive years and not without a compelling reason. Often described as "the de facto leader of the European Union", German Chancellor Angela Merkel has vowed to do everything in her power to keep the 27-country EU, well, united.

    Since the financial crisis began unwinding three years ago, Germany is leading from the front and providing critical support to the European bailout plan. But this means, the world's fourth most powerful person (Forbes ranking) is walking a fine line.

    Though her approval rating as the country's leader reached an all-time high of 77% in February this year, Merkel will hope for a miracle to avoid extending aid to countries like Spain and Cyprus.

    Merkel’s faces a stiff challenge as the Europe’s largest economy is becoming increasingly tired of being Europe’s financial crutch. Merkel could face ire in the German Parliament for justifying any further assistance to the far weaker parts of the euro

    Read More »from Angela Merkel
  • Vikram Pandit

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    In a shocking move, Citigroup Inc chief executive Vikram Pandit resigned on October 16, just a day after the bank posted strong quarterly results.

    Board chairman Michael O'Neill criticized the Nagpur-born Pandit for being too detached from the bank's day-to-day operations; even as many felt that the 55-year-old was too ‘cerebral’ to lead the giant consumer bank. Pandit holds two electrical engineering degrees and a doctorate in finance from Columbia University.

    Pandit was also slammed by critics for the bank's failure to win regulatory approval to buy back shares or boost its dividend in March.

    The former hedge-fund manager left after nearly five years at the helm, most of which were during the challenging global financial crisis. Pandit responded fast, declaring to the board, “My salary should be $1 per year with no bonus until we return to profitability."

    But after two years, in January 2011, his annual base was raised to $1.75 million. In May that year, Citi announced $23.2m retentionRead More »from Vikram Pandit
  • Tim Cook

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    After the demise of Steve Jobs, the mantle of Apple chief fell on Tim Cook; but the shoes were big to fill. However, Tim Cook took charge his own way and was proud to show the world how he runs Apple.

    Cook introduced stock-buyback and charitable-giving programs to customers, made management shake-ups such as firing the person in charge of the mobile operating system iOS, Scott Forstall and retail chief John Browett who were long standing employees. In short, it is widely spoken the he has introduced corporate culture. Cook also recently unveiled the iPhone 5 and the iPad Mini.

    Cook’s most noteworthy achievement, however, is how he saw through the patent war win over Samsung. While it’s a little tough to compete with the man who gave the world iPods and iPads, Cook has certainly made his mark.
    Read More »from Tim Cook

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