Gautam Adani: Reimagining Business in India and the World; book launch event at FPJ

Gautam Adani: Reimagining Business in India and the World; book launch event at FPJ

"When I first wrote an article on him in 2007, its title was 'The man who could change India'. By 2018, I discovered that he had indeed changed India. The title was prophetic. With his rise in global rankings, the book could not have come at a better time," said RN Bhaskar.

Staff ReporterUpdated: Tuesday, January 31, 2023, 04:29 PM IST
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Abizer Diwanji, Sr. Partner, EY in conversation with RN Bhaskar, Consulting Editor FPJ | Swapnil Sakhare

As Gautam Adani scales new heights, a new book looking into his journey and his rise that has influenced the business in India and the World has caught the eyes and minds of businessmen.  The book has been authored by R N Bhaskar. To discuss the issues involved, Free Press Journal organised a discussion between Bhaskar and Abizer Diwanji, senior partner EY.

Gautam Adani book on display. Gautam Adani - Reimagining Business
in India and the World (Penguin Random House)

Gautam Adani book on display. Gautam Adani - Reimagining Business in India and the World (Penguin Random House) | Swapnil Sakhare

The event was special because it involved an audience comprising several consul generals, senior bankers from private, foreign and government owned banks. Also present were high networth individuals and fund managers.

Madhav Nair (Country Head & CEO) Mashreq Bank

Madhav Nair (Country Head & CEO) Mashreq Bank | Swapnil Sakhare

In response to a query from Abizer, Bhaskar said, "The book, I can say, was an accident. An accidental first meeting with Adani in 2007, and several times thereafter.  Then in 2013, I got to meet the family and senior strategy planners from within the group.  This was because they family wanted me to write a limited-edition book on Gautam Adani for his 50th birthday. Only 25 copies were printed. Those meetings gave me a ringside view of the businessman and his strategic planners.”

Guru Prasad Pantula (Head-Corporate Banking) BBK Bank, Lee Sangchel (Deputy General Manager) Shinhan Bank And Sachin Jain (CFO & Strategy Head) Shinhan Bank

Guru Prasad Pantula (Head-Corporate Banking) BBK Bank, Lee Sangchel (Deputy General Manager) Shinhan Bank And Sachin Jain (CFO & Strategy Head) Shinhan Bank | Swapnil Sakhare

“And in early 2022, I got Gautam Adani’s consent that I could proceed with publishing this independent (non-sponsored) book on him and his corporate strategy.”

"When I first wrote an article on him in 2007, its title was 'The man who could change India'. By 2018, I discovered that he had indeed changed India.  The title was prophetic. With his rise in global rankings, the book could not have come at a better time," said Bhaskar.

Amita Lotankar (Financial Controller) ANZ Bank

Amita Lotankar (Financial Controller) ANZ Bank | Swapnil Sakhare

Adani started his career as a trader before becoming an industrialist in much the same way as Azim Premji of Wipro did along with several other industrialists.  As Bhaskar put it, "He is a trader. A trader smells money more quickly than others. A trader's sense of money and opportunity is remarkable. But a trader thinks short term.  An industrialist needs to think long terms.  That is why few traders make this transition of trader to industrialist. Had it not been for his trade instincts, Mundra port would not have been what it is today," said Bhaskar.

To manage the high costs of building a port, Adani chose to build it modularly.  He built specific jetties for specific commodities – trading in which was already a profitable opportunity.  This gave the ports its business, and also the possibility of flexible financing, module by module. "He began with coal that got him money and then moved to other things. He sought a railway line connectivity and persuaded the government to introduce a port connectivity by rail policy which helped all port owners. " said Bhaskar.

Bhaskar Singh (Chief Financial Officer) Credit Agricole-CIB India

Bhaskar Singh (Chief Financial Officer) Credit Agricole-CIB India | Swapnil Sakhare

One of the reasons why Adani succeeded was because he consciously chose to align national interests with his own business interests. With coal he catered to the energy security interests of India. Ditto with the defence sector, strategic ports and investment in airports and data services. He is excellent de-risking himself. For every business gamble he takes, there is always a plan B.  Moreover, Adani is not sentimental about any project he enters into. "The moment he sees it draining management time without the potential of becoming one of the top three players in India, he moves out of the business," said Mr. Bhaskar.

Dr. Yang Xuhong (Deputy General Manager) ICBC Bank

Dr. Yang Xuhong (Deputy General Manager) ICBC Bank | Swapnil Sakhare

"He is persuasive and charming so he cuts across party lines. The ability to implement quickly is another factor.  That is why governments trust him with executing large projects in their respective states.”

Md Soheab Imran (General Manager & CEO) AB Bank Ltd

Md Soheab Imran (General Manager & CEO) AB Bank Ltd | Swapnil Sakhare

Questions also moved to his investments into the Haifa port. Since Adani already has several defence joint ventures with Israel, and since he also has the ability to bring business to pots, he manage to get the requisite clearances for acquiring the ownership of Haifa port. This port is of immense strategic significance, he said.

THE BOMBAY BREAKFAST CLUB

The Bombay Breakfast Club launched by Consul Generals (L-R) Guillermo Eduardo Devoto, CG, Argentina, Cheong Ming Foong, CG, Singapore, Kobbi Shoshani , CG, Israel, Dr. Valsan Vethody, CG, Srilanka, RN Bhaskar, Consulting Editor, FPJ, Agus Prihatin Saptono, CG, Indonesia, Ms. Andrea Kühn, CG, South Africa, R. J. Vakil, Honorary Chancellor, CG, Austria, Peter Truswell, CG, Australia, Ahmet Denk, Dy. CG, Turkey, Abizer Diwanji, Sr. Partner EY, Abhishek Karnani, Director, FPJ. | Swapnil Sakhare

The Bombay Breakfast Club launched by Consul Generals (L-R) Guillermo Eduardo Devoto, CG, Argentina, Cheong Ming Foong, CG, Singapore, Kobbi Shoshani , CG, Israel, Dr. Valsan Vethody, CG, Srilanka, RN Bhaskar, Consulting Editor, FPJ, Agus Prihatin Saptono, CG, Indonesia, Ms. Andrea Kühn, CG, South Africa, R. J. Vakil, Honorary Chancellor, CG, Austria, Peter Truswell, CG, Australia, Ahmet Denk, Dy. CG, Turkey, Abizer Diwanji, Sr. Partner EY, Abhishek Karnani, Director, FPJ. | Swapnil Sakhare |

"We are also announcing the launch of ‘The Bombay Breakfast Club’ where we meet with someone important once a month over breakfast and interact over a specific subject that may affect India, an industry segment, or about a new trend that is catching the attention of key people. It will have only 50 members and would be strictly by invitation.": Abhishek Karnani, Director, Free Press Journal.

Narayanan Shivaramakrishanan (Head of Finance) Qatar National Bank

Narayanan Shivaramakrishanan (Head of Finance) Qatar National Bank | Swapnil Sakhare

Royston Dsilva (Chief Compliance officer) And Sandeep Thacker (Chief Finance officer)

Royston Dsilva (Chief Compliance officer) And Sandeep Thacker (Chief Finance officer) | Swapnil Sakhare

Vikas Golyan (Finance Manager) Doha Bank

Vikas Golyan (Finance Manager) Doha Bank | Swapnil Sakhare

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