Corporate chatter: Corona hits b'day bash of NBFC boss, and Biyani wedding; Dushyant Dave's grand lunch at Lutyens home

The corona virus has put the best-laid-plans of India Inc to rest, and how.

BCCL
(L-R) Father-daughter duo Avni and Kishore Biyani smiling in times of coronavirus, and who's who the political world were seen lunching with the feisty friend Dushyant Dave .
SUITS & SAYINGS | ET’s weekly roundup of the wackiest whispers and murmurs in corporate corridors & policy parlours:

Hard Talk
What triggered the showdown between the tycoon and the legal eagle at a recent pre-wedding gathering that has got folks chattering? No one knows for sure, but it apparently involved another billionaire’s real estate purchase by the sea. The senior counsel, most certainly in high spirits that evening, accosted the tycoon who arrived post-eleven close to midnight and appeared to have suggested that he was responsible for holding up approvals after being beaten in the race by the out-of-town fellow industrialist to acquire this marquee sea-facing mansion with diplomatic credentials. This led to a verbal skirmish and the outburst, which now has become the talk of the town.


Being Homesick
It is perhaps too difficult to settle down in the competitive Indian private equity landscape after long stints in the Valley even if you are investing in the smartest of new-age ventures. This is what happened to a senior executive who was leading a team in one of the biggest global PE franchises in the country, we are told. After a short stint, he has left the organisation and possibly gone back to where he came from. His team though is showing no signs of slowing down and they are on a roll when it comes to chasing new deals.

No Show
Movies, malls and restaurant meals are out as fears of Covid-19 reach our shores. Even birthday bashes. We hear the grand celebrations of the affable chief of a top NBFC got cancelled last week since it would have led to a large gathering of his friends and associates at his upscale residence. He’s also not been keeping too well, so it’s best to be safe than sorry. We wish him the best in any case.

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Soul Curry
If you see Sunil Mittal enjoying Surti delicacies, along with Mr and Mrs Arvind Kejriwal and Manish Sisodia, or P Chidambaram taking an early flight after attending the Ruia family festivities in Mumbai to dig into healthy ponkh, then rest assured they are all lunching with feisty friend Dushyant Dave at his Lutyens address. The annual save-the-date lunch at his Golf Links house is a must attend, especially since it’s well-known that he gets the cooks flown in from Gujarat to cook up a storm. The recent do was no exception and, with winter lingering on, we are told it was a perfect afternoon. Those in attendance included Soli Sorabjee, Ahmedabad’s jetsetters like Torrent’s Sudhir Mehta and Pradeep Chona, who sold his ice cream company Havmor to the Japanese in a mouth-watering deal, as well as Kapil Sibal and Lekha Poddar.

Career Mapping
Days before Rana Kapoor had to face tough questions by an investigative agency, the head chef of a family establishment – a members-only club — seemed to get wind of what was up and put the word out about his availability. Kapoor, the gregarious host and gourmet, had handpicked him for the venture but at the end of the day, you can’t dish out haute cuisine on an empty stomach, can you?

​​Sandeep Aggarwal​'s biography is coming out mid-April.
Sandeep Aggarwal's biography is coming out mid-April.

Back Story
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Biographies are one way of telling a good redemption story. Coming out mid-April is one about Sandeep Aggarwal, the CEO of auto marketplace Droom, and the former founder of ShopClues. Now, while most such tomes tend to be dreary, bland, and at times, almost unreadable, one should expect Aggarwal’s story to be a bit more interesting. After all, how many CEOs have been accused of insider trading in the US, seen their marriages implode in the most public manner imaginable (and that too on Facebook) and get turfed out of aforesaid company. The launch of Aggarwal’s biography was pushed back to accommodate the dropping of all charges of insider trading in the US. As they say, if there’s a good tale to be told, it must be shared.

Lift Off
Thirty thousand feet above sea level, political divisions have little meaning it appears. Rajiv Pratap Rudy was thus happy to ferry colleagues from across the aisle such as Supriya Sule and Milind Deora or even his BJP colleagues Nishikanth Dubey and Shahnawaz Hussain. They all happily posed for the cameras too with Rudy resplendent in his uniform — he regularly pilots commercial aircraft to maintain his licence. Some passengers were headed for the Maharaja Jiwaji Rao Scindia polo match in Delhi and the after party hosted by none other than Yashodhara Raje herself. An immaculate hostess, her friends from the capital – Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Naveen Jindal, Ravi Jaipuria, Neeraj Sekhar – were also there to cheer the winning team. We could not help but wonder whether such bonhomie would be in place had the event taken place just a few days later!
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File photo of 2017: ​Dushyant Dave (C) at a party hosted by Cyril and Vandana Shroff to mark the completion of 100 years of their Mumbai-based law firm in Delhi​
File photo of 2017: Dushyant Dave (C) at a party hosted by Cyril and Vandana Shroff to mark the completion of 100 years of their Mumbai-based law firm in Delhi..

Moving On
There are some corporate professionals, they say, who refuse to retire. But much to the surprise of this investor who recently fixed up a meeting with this pugnacious, tough-as-nails executive and followed it up with a lunch meeting with his CEO, the senior gent graciously declined the offer to join the working lunch. It’s good to see he did not intrude and let his protégé take centrestage at the important meeting.

Not Yet
A leading state-owned bank has been thinking of invoking the personal guarantee provided by a top industrialist who’s fallen on bad times. The lawyers with the brief were asked to get the paperwork ready and await further orders. However, the green signal hasn’t been forthcoming from the lenders. We are not sure whether the delay was over things like a bank rescue plan or because a big name was involved.

Deal Debate
Air India is flying into turbulent weather after the aviation industry was caught unawares by Covid-19 outbreak. While names of probable suitors were mentioned freely, one responded by saying that it was a “poison pill” that would put his entire business at risk.

Put Off
Many get-togethers and celebrations have been put on hold after the coronavirus outbreak. A law firm that called people to celebrate its fifth anniversary by sending elaborate invites decided that discretion would be the better part of valour. The firm informed invitees that the event has been postponed for now.
Avni Biyani (R) and Advay Jhunjhunwala have deliberately kept things discreet.
Avni Biyani (R) and Advay Jhunjhunwala have deliberately kept things discreet.

Crowd Control
Fear of the virus also took its toll on one potentially big fat Indian wedding that was scaled down significantly. Last week saw Kishore Biyani’s daughter Avni get married to entrepreneur Advay Jhunjhunwala at a city hotel that was restricted to close friends and family. The following day’s reception at the Turf Club was also a subdued show after several invites were held back even though the venue was an open area. If you thought it takes months of planning to organise a grand shaadi, imagine the planning that had to be undertaken to warn guests and actually request them not to attend. That’s being conscious and considerate, we must say.

Workplace Trends To Watch Out For In 2020: Lots Of Agility & Collaboration, No Corporate Ladders
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With the advent of 2020, all the proactive professionals are looking forward to workplace trends which will define the new year. The workplace trends in 2019 were all about gender equality, promoting work-life balance and faster pace of work. This year, there will be new expectations that employees will have from their workplace and we are here to help break down and simplify the trends you might get to see at your workplace next year.

According to workplace think-tank ‘Workplace Trends’, the trends that will dominate the office spaces in 2020 will be all about promoting collaboration, deconstructing corporate hierarchies and promoting flexibility and versatility.

Tushar Mittal, the MD of Studiokon Ventures and India partner in ‘Workplace Trends’, shares his take on trends that make a workplace versatile.

With the advent of 2020, all the proactive professionals are looking forward to workplace trends which will define the new year. The workplace trends in 2019 were all about gender equality, promoting..
Read More

The workforce is becoming increasingly diverse and this is creating new synergies within the workspace. An agile workplace refers to flexibility, collaboration, offering remote work opportunities and allowing employees to find their own rhythm, pace of work and autonomy amongst other factors. The newer generations are taking great strides in changing how companies operate. Responding with agility is the only sure way for a company to successfully retain its younger employees.

The workforce is becoming increasingly diverse and this is creating new synergies within the workspace. An agile workplace refers to flexibility, collaboration, offering remote work opportunities and..
Read More

Technologies facilitating collaboration have transformed the workplace. These spaces today, need to be integrated and support everyone from employees to contractors, freelancers to vendors and facilitate instant communication and productivity. Siloes have been steadily deconstructed and hierarchical structures are cascading down. Technology has brought in several advancements such as mobile working, global interconnectivity, the gig economy and tools such as teleconferencing that enable collaboration.

Technologies facilitating collaboration have transformed the workplace. These spaces today, need to be integrated and support everyone from employees to contractors, freelancers to vendors and facili..
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Flexible workspaces allow organisations to implement versatile space solutions. Such workspaces and options also allow companies to save on major investments and infrastructural costs.

A flexible workspace could offer employees work from home options which is the need of the hour seeing that most people today have difficulties juggling work, family and personal obligations. It could also offer employees telecommuting, part-time work from a physical office, shared office space.

Flexible workspaces allow organisations to implement versatile space solutions. Such workspaces and options also allow companies to save on major investments and infrastructural costs.A flexible work..
Read More

AI is a conundrum for many with most not knowing which side of the divide they stand on. While it has certainly generated a fear of job loss and will disrupt certain professions, it is here to stay and can benefit us if leveraged correctly. AI will help employers study employee behaviour, devise business strategies and will create algorithms to boost innovation and productivity. However, for this, the benefits of AI need to be made widely available .

AI is a conundrum for many with most not knowing which side of the divide they stand on. While it has certainly generated a fear of job loss and will disrupt certain professions, it is here to stay a..
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For diversity, inclusion and collaboration to flourish, the corporate hierarchy has to give way and this is being witnessed increasingly. Instant communication and reaction requires a hands-on approach with all employees being on the frontlines. Leaders have to learn to assemble and form teams that can work in a collaborative manner without losing speed and respond to competition and challenges.

For this, there needs to be minimal bureaucracy whereby inputs from all employees is respected and everyone makes unique contributions. Without this, a disconnect will form. Thus, organisations will have to adapt and build cultures that permit feedback, sharing and exchange. When these channels of communication undergo change, the structure of the organisation or its DNA will also change to adapt to modern needs.

For diversity, inclusion and collaboration to flourish, the corporate hierarchy has to give way and this is being witnessed increasingly. Instant communication and reaction requires a hands-on approa..
Read More

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