Suits & Sayings: ET's roundup of corporate murmurs

ET’s weekly roundup of the wackiest whispers & murmurs in corporate corridors and policy parlours.

BCCL
Electric Dreams
While industry captains have made it abundantly clear that the shift toward electric vehicles should be gradual and not involve any precipitate ban on internal combustion engines, Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant has adopted Twitter to get the think tank’s contrarian view across. He’s also been tweeting stories on the Kerala government’s recent efforts to push electric vehicles. It will be interesting to see which view prevails.

Familial Ties
Even as Ness Wadia’s been caught up in a kerfuffle, younger brother Jehangir (Jeh) Wadia was the perfect host at the launch of wife Celina’s collection of home furnishings and resort wear at the Bombay Dyeing flagship store in midtown Mumbai attached to Wadia Group headquarters. Low-key and private, she’s an Australian by birth and shuns the limelight, and has chosen to try and revive the brand since one year. The Saturday high tea was meant for a select set of family besties.


Image Issues
The local unit of a UK-based group owned by an Indian billionaire is eager for an image makeover. The company has made repeated attempts to convey to the public and media its transformation into a software company from a backend infrastructure firm, to little avail. It’s now meeting brand experts to figure out a way to successfully convey this metamorphosis. “We have been trying to get out of the mould of an infra company... but we have made no progress. It’s really frustrating,” said an executive.

Friendship Ring
The Mittals of the Bharti Group and the Munjals of the Hero Group have always been very close — the patriarchs were pals from Ludhiana. They even share office space at 1 Nelson Mandela Marg, the posh offices where the Bharti HQ is located. The Munjals have now put their money where their loyalties are, buying a slice of Bharti’s Africa IPO. Sunil Mittal and Sunil Munjal shared the dais in London at the opening bell ceremony — a testament to their multi-generational bond.

Home Food
Passengers will get Made in India grub even on the return leg of long-haul Air India flights. The airline has decided to carry food from India for the journey back as well. The state-run airline expects this to help save as much as `400 crore. However, what happens to the food if the return flight gets badly delayed? Also, most other airlines like to serve their passengers food that’s as fresh as it can possibly be, besides saving on weight and fuel if the planes don’t have to carry twice the food.
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Clear the air
The ongoing debate over introduction of electric vehicles has reached the higher echelons, it appears. Swadeshi ideologue S Gurumurthy is said to have sought a clarification from the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) about the accelerated deadlines that the Niti Aayog is reportedly pushing for. Seems like the top-down approach has ruffled several feathers.

Trunk Show
Venu Srinivasan of the TVS Group is a man of several interests. A patron of the arts, philanthropy and wildlife, the company’s test track near Chennai recently hosted some special guests who went on a stroll — elephants. The four pachyderms — two of which were alpha males — wowed everyone at Team TVS. Srinivasan has been sending pictures to fellow wildlife enthusiasts.

ID Challenge
An executive on holiday walked into the property of a top hospitality chain headquartered in the eastern part of the country. The desk refused to accept his Aadhaar card as proof of identity, saying this was to prevent data leaks as the unique ID was linked to an individual’s financial information. It sounded like another way of saying that Aadhaar wasn’t secure, something that privacy advocates have been arguing.

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Departure Time
It seems to be the end of ghar wapsi for academics of Indian origin who had come back home to take up various roles in policy making. The latest to resign is Amartya Lahiri of University of British Columbia, who was heading the Centre for Advanced Financial Research and Learning, a Reserve Bank of India-backed think tank. He’s quit less than two years after taking over the assignment. Viral Acharya’s resignation as deputy governor had become public last week. Lahiri was known to be close to former RBI governor Urjit Patel, who quit over alleged pressure to tone down bad-loan norms.
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