Davos Diary

For once,top CEOs did not mind queuing up on a chilly Friday evening to show up at the India Reception organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry at hotel Morosani Schweizerhof.

Written by P Vaidyanathan Iyer | Published:January 30, 2011 12:36 am

CEOs don’t break queues
For once,top CEOs did not mind queuing up on a chilly Friday evening to show up at the India Reception organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry at hotel Morosani Schweizerhof. The serpentine queue had PepsiCo’s Indra Nooyi,Jet Airways’ Naresh Goyal,ITC’s YC Deveshwar,Bharti’s Rajan Mittal,the Bombardier global CEO,Ernst & Young’s Rajiv Memani,KKR’s Sanjay Nayar and NDTV’s Prannoy Roy,to name a few,waiting patiently to be screened and let in. Like obedient school children,but without a school teacher,they maintained discipline and chatted up with all and sundry without breaking the queue.

At 60,and still young
Pakistan cricket captain Imran Khan turned out to be a big draw at the reception. He may be almost 60,but was surrounded by young pretty women,much to the amusement of socialite Parmeshwar Godrej,seated next to him. Khan was earlier in the day a panel member in a session on the “reality of terrorism”,sharing the podium with home minister P Chidambaram.

Power banking
State Bank of India chairman OP Bhatt may be on his way to retirement in two months,but the self-confessed modest garwahli and the country’s biggest banker continues to command attention from all corporate honchos. McKinsey & Co’s senior partner Rajat Gupta requested Bhatt,who had just dropped by,to lend his thoughts on medium enterprises at a breakfast session.  At the India Adda,later in the afternoon,an informal meeting place at Café Schneider,Reliance’s Mukesh Ambani would not let go Bhatt. “Many private sector opportunities are coming up,but I haven’t taken a call yet,” he told this correspondent when asked about his post-retirement plans . 

Space,no constraint
The hall at Morosani Schweizerf was one of the biggest available in the village. “The hall taken up last year had a seating capacity of 600. But this year,the CII booked one of the larger halls,that could take about 750. All the Indian leaders,P Chidambaram,Kamal Nath,Montek Singh Ahluwalia and Praful Patel hung around at the reception giving audience to all those who wanted to rub their shoulders with the big,rich and powerful.

The space was not enough even then.

Gandhi & inclusion
Mahatma Gandhi’s statue at many places in Davos lent more weight to the “inclusive” agenda being promoted by India. His bust not only brought gravity to the discussions at the Summit venue — the Congress centre. His statues were at various other places too where India events were being organised. You could see him at the India reception too.

Jet’s Naresh Goyal got himself photographed holding Bapu’s hand.

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