Thursday December 8, 2016

7:45 PM IST

Speaker(s) Name

Multiple Speakers


The Leela Kovalam, Kovalum Beach Road, Kovalum Beach, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala 695527

The Twentieth Annual CEO Roundtable


in association with



Friday, 11 November, 2016


Registration and Tea

2.15 pm

At the Ballroom, The Leela Kovalam

Come together over tea to kick off the 2016 offsite, a weekend of shared learning or, as we prefer to call it – collective wisdom.

Tectonic Shifts: India in a New World Order

3.00 pm – 4.30 pm

Adit Jain, Chairman and Editorial Director, IMA India

Volatility has taken on a whole new meaning in the weeks leading up to the 20th Annual CEO Roundtable. India’s economic growth paradigm has been steady but the risk has been on the downside. Today, the variables are higher than ever - demonetisation and its likely impact are illustrative. Of equal import are accelerating developments on planes both political and economic, many of which will have far reaching impact on economic structures and growth paradigms – and business responses. A clear outlook on transformative trends in the global environment and how those integrate with India’s domestic economic impulses of demand, policy and investment are fundamental for business leaders. Kick off the Roundtable with an expert context set by IMA’s Chairman and Editorial Director, Adit Jain, among the country’s most credible and independent observers of the Indian economy, as he talks through his expectations of growth, risk and opportunity in what might just be a new world order.

Coffee Break

4.30 pm – 5.00 pm


Digital Payments: The Route to a Digital India?

4.30 pm – 5.15 pm

Manish Dewan, Executive Vice President Retail Sales and Corporate Cards, SBI Card

At midnight on November 8, 2016, India’s Prime Minister demonetised 86% of India’s cash in circulation in a bid to curb black money, terror financing and corruption. At one end are the painful implications of a sharp pullback in consumption impacting near term growth and great inconvenience to India’s populace. The longer term impact of this move, however, are many, and can shift the needle on one of India’s most frustrating and debilitating malaises – the black economy and corruption. Many believe that this will give a strong fillip to converting India into a digital economy, a core focus of the NDA government, and linked in turn, to much greater productivity and effectiveness of the financial sector in specific and of the economy at large. Its thrust to payment banks, to UID-linked bank accounts are a related component. The fact of a younger, more digitally savvy population is another. The dream, if realised, can be transformative. Given that the bulk of India still transacts in cash, however, it is imperative to understand exactly how much will be accomplished in this bid to convert India into a ‘less cash’ economy, one that transacts via the digital medium, or through payment mechanisms that are creating new business models as they progress their own opportunities in this striking new environment. Manish Dewan leads growth for one of India’s most forward thinking payments companies. His perspective on the issue is among our more considered. Whilst no one really knows how this cookie will crumble, brainstorm with Manish one core lynchpin of the Prime Minister’s bid for tomorrow’s India.

Change of Hats

5.15 pm – 5.30 pm

India’s National Security: A Paradigm Changed

5.30 pm – 7.00 pm

Jayadeva Ranade, President, Centre for China Research and Policy
Pramit Pal Chaudhuri, Foreign Editor, Hindustan Times, Fellow, Asia Society

India’s response, to September’s militant attack on the Uri military base, of surgical strikes on militant camps across the Line of Control between India and Pakistan, reflects a complete departure from India’s ‘soft power’ policy. That we live in a more dangerous world is a given. Security risk, globally, nationally as well as locally, is higher than ever before in recent memory. The more recent attack on Nagrota is a shocking reminder. Our preparedness as a nation - as a military (even if many attacks have been foiled, how can even one succeed is a valid question), as a population - must be assessed, as must a changing geo-political framework for business, where China, China:Pakistan:Afghanistan, the Middle East, the migrant crisis and EU, and the US’ position in world affairs are all key issues. Is the risk of war between India and Pakistan still reality? Perhaps not but it seems more real a possibility than ever before in the last decade. What is the world’s strategic security paradigm today and what will this demand out of India – as a military, as a responsible nuclear power, and as a nation preparing to deal with rising tension, both within and beyond its borders. Talk through this issue that impacts us as individuals and as businessmen with Jayadeva Ranade and Pramit Pal Chaudhuri, among India’s leading thinkers on national security. Both are former members of the National Security Advisory Board and members of ongoing Track II and III dialogues with other nations. Jayadeva has held the apex position in India’s intelligence services and served actively in the field. As Foreign Editor of HT, Pramit’s engagement with policy makers and with those of other nations gives him unique insight into how well prepared India is, and needs to be.

Note: This will be hosted as a joint session, with spouses invited to sit in. We will head directly for dinner from the session. Please plan accordingly.

Cocktails and Dinner

7.15 pm

At the Beach, The Leela Kovalam

The Arabian Sea is unlike most others, particularly during this time of the year – alive, powerful and resplendent. Spend the evening on the beach as Kerala chooses to showcase itself to you in all its beauty.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Global Mega Trends: Dissecting the Future

8.00 am – 10.15 am

Robert Guest, Foreign Editor, The Economist Newspaper
Breakfast will be served at the Ballroom at 8.00 am sharp, with the session commencing immediately after

In the last year, both the fact of Brexit, and of the Trump presidency, are signals of how fast the world can – and will – change. The US President-Elect’s statement on scrapping TPP and on bringing US jobs home is illustrative, as is Italy’s referendum against a change in its constitution, a vote many believe, is also in favour of anti-immigration parties and (ultra) nationalist thinking. An older known fact, no less impactful for its magnitude – is the rise of a (currently slowing) China that will exert its geo-political influence in its neighbourhood, and far beyond. Robert Guest is Foreign Editor of The Economist, one of the world’s most highly regarded journals. During his tenure with the newspaper, Robert has held key positions including as Business Editor and crucially in today’s context, as Americas Editor for seven years. Engage with Robert as he points out the future of a world as he sees it – geo-politically and economically – in the context of which, India must fit, and seek to triumph.


10.15 am – 10.45 am

Customer centricity, Profitability and Growth: The Edge of Analytics

10.30 am – 11.30 am

Deepak Ramanathan, Senior Director Analytical Platform and Customer Intelligence, SAS Institute

The competitive advantage of any business has always lain in our ability to identify and respond to customer expectations. It has also lain in our ability to read the tealeaves on this score, adapting and changing business models as we rise to respond to market volatility, competition, and customers.

In recent times, technology-driven analytics has aided that paradigm immensely, impacting both the profitability and durability of businesses that ‘get this right’ and those that don’t - across sectors. Next generation analytics, however, is changing even this paradigm, and is now beginning to drive true innovation, in product, in the effectiveness of business models, and eventually then, in customer value, the final lynchpin. What is the impact of these massively productive technologies, and how can Chief Executives view their businesses from this lens to recognise what we now need to drive and how we can take advantage of this capability? How does the new interface with the old and how high really, is the risk of not doing so? Global competition will continue to knock on our competitive barriers - engage with Deepak Ramanathan, evangelist and deep believer in this brave new world, to understand the opportunity of accelerating your business to be sharper, more productive and centred on the customer in today’s paradigm, without losing the end goal of profitable growth.

‘Almost Human’: The Rise of Artificial Intelligence

11.20 am – 12.00 noon

Shanker Trivedi, Senior Vice President, Enterprise Business Worldwide Field Operations, nVidia

The world of artificial intelligence is no longer science fiction. AI – the ability of machines to think, and reach intuitive judgement, better than human beings, it is said – will change the paradigm of business, it is changing the paradigm of life and its limitations, as we know them. Driver-less cars are a tangible example; striking changes in medical treatment as analysis is accelerated beyond measure yet another. This paradigm demands a new set of skills that human talent will now need to bring to the table, as machine learning, cognitive thinking and AI begins to deliver rising impact as a fundamental aid to decision-making. India’s emerging entrepreneurs are born with intuitive ease on this score. Tomorrow, they will be formidable competitors. Necessarily then, the CEO’s tool kit will encompass technologies that do not just analyse data, but work with humans to interpret the same, serving as virtual advisors with both fact and opinion. In times of shrinking opportunities to deliver quantum growth and rising competition from sources both traditional and entirely new, this can be a phenomenal advantage, provided corporations are ready for a world where artificial intelligence technologies will create machines that are ‘almost human’. From what we hear, the journey has only just begun and this competitive capability can transform industry and nations alike. Shanker Trivedi is core to the leadership team at nVidia, one of the world’s most exciting companies that stand at the forefront of the world of AI. Gain a peek into the sheer power of AI to understand the impact of that which we think is yet to come, and is in fact, already here.


12.00 noon – 12.15 pm

The Power of Intent: Unleashing Potential

12.15 pm – 12.30 pm

Dr Achyuta Samanta, Founder, KIIT and Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences via video link

India’s tribal populations are spread across India’s states. With a unique culture and way of life, they are among the most authentic reminders of an ancient way of life. Many believe that despite their potential, given demography, the ability to bring these groups into India’s mainstream, may not be possible. Think again. Dr Achyuta Samanta founded the Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences with a view to creating a residential school for Orissa’s tribal populations, to give them access to a quality of life and education that would enable them to participate directly in India’s growth paradigm, undercutting Maoism, unemployment and poor health outcomes, in the very least. With 25,000 students, it is today the world’s largest residential school, with curricula spanning the spectrum of primary to college education. Awarded multiple times both within India and overseas, the institute has given India some of its leading sportsmen; its students excel in competitive examinations at the national and international level. 40% of its students are girls, including a group that has competed as the Asian level in Rugby! Gain unique insight into these oft forgotten Indians and the power of what they can accomplish, through sharing Dr Samanta’s story and his mission to create level playing fields in education, only because it is the right thing to do.


12.30 pm – 1.30 pm

Industry, Ecology and Forests: Balance in the 21st Century

1.30 pm – 2.45 pm

Jitendra Agarwal, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests, Madhya Pradesh
Homi Khusrokhan, Member of the Board, Tata Capital, former Managing Director, Tata Tea, Tata Chemicals, GlaxoSmithkline, President, Bombay Natural History Society
Adit Jain, Fellow, Royal Geographical Society

India’s forests are home to most of the world’s most stunning wildlife, and the most unique flora. They also stand atop mineral wealth of a quantum unknown, and traverse lands that industry, as it expands, will need. More importantly, in the larger scheme of things, perhaps, they stand cheek by jowl with, and often among, India’s burgeoning populations, aboriginal, rural and soon, urban. The stunning beauty and diversity of India’s forest landscape – the real wealth of a nation many might say – is under threat as competing demands for land fight for balance. If lost, the damage is not possible to redo in a generation. It will take many more. As India’s governments of the day are pressured to create this balance, what is the way forward? How can industry lead, in benevolent self-interest, this national aim of sustainable growth? What is the view from ‘the other side’? Jitendra Agarwal has dedicated his life to the Indian Forest Service – if you have ever been on a safari in the richest of India’s forest states – Madhya Pradesh – you will know what he is striving to safeguard. Homi Khusrokhan has led businesses and acquisitions across the globe, where managing this triad of ecological sustainability, industrial expansion and social responsibility has been a most delicate tightrope. Adit Jain is a keen wildlife photographer, who spends many weeks each year engaging with the multiple stakeholders, who make up India’s forest system. Share their perspectives on what it will take for India to preserve its heritage without compromising on growth, and where industry must now play a role.

Kerala’s Mythical Backwaters: Glimpses of Eternity

3.00 pm

The Poovar backwater cruise

It is often said of life that the journey is the destination itself. The same can be said of Kerala’s famous backwaters – a vast network of waterways that in their ultimate destination, meet the ocean. Spend a beautiful afternoon experiencing the quiet magic of the backwaters, travelling on boats from the charming coastal village of Poovar to the very mouth of the sea and back. The drive to Poovar will give you a tiny glimpse of the charming town that is Kovalam.

Note: Coaches will depart for Poovar at 3.15 pm sharp. Delegates are requested to convene at the porch of the Ballroom by 3.00 pm. Cool clothing, sunscreen and flat comfortable shoes are recommended.

Cocktails and Dinner

7.30 pm

At the Club Deck, The Leela Kovalam

Spend a lovely evening on the deck of the Leela Club wing overlooking an endless sea, and raise a toast to friendships cemented at the 2016 CEO Roundtable.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Leadership, Succession and Boards: The Ask of Alignment

9.00 am – 10.15 am

Dr Santrupt Misra, Chief Executive, Carbon Black Business and Director Group HR, Aditya Birla Group

The stewardship of organisations is the heaviest, and yet can be, the most rewarding, burden of them all. Without question, decision making and ‘final calls’, at the end of the day, must remain the prerogative of the person at the helm of affairs, both for clear internal messaging for organisational alignment and for the leader to be truly accountable for outcomes. The fact remains, however, that that judgement, if it receives high quality input and advice, can deliver gains manifold higher. The role of the board, in providing that guidance, is paramount, as is the ability of organisational leadership to develop a rhythm of succession planning in line with long-term goals. Indisputable principles like these, however, are hard to follow in the real world. Egos and pride at the negative end, and differences of opinion on future paths to success at the other, can come in the way, putting at risk, organisational growth, reputation and eventually, shareholder value.

How must the different players in this complex matrix behave to ensure sustainable growth at the level of the organisation, and personal satisfaction at the level of the individual? How can unmanageable external volatility be offset by strong internal equilibrium and alignment? Santrupt Misra runs a multi-million dollar business and is responsible at the Group level, for HR for one of India’s largest and most respected corporations. He stands for some of the most forward thinking perspectives on leadership, Board engagement and organisational culture. Talk through with Santrupt the new world order for leadership and Board engagement.

Coffee Break

10.15 am – 10.35 am

GST: Changing the Operating Paradigm of Business

10.35 am – 11.45 am

VS Parthasarathy, Group CFO, Group CIO and President Group Finance & M&A, Mahindra & Mahindra

The most fundamental change in India’s business operating environment is the expected onset of the GST. The GST Council is moving swiftly on its decisions and by the time of this Roundtable, further meetings to take crucial decisions will have been undertaken, and Parliament’s winter session, if it is allowed to move forward in the limited window that now remains, will see possible passage of 3 key bills related to the GST. The GST is another operating paradigm for industry altogether – even if delayed by a couple of months, it is in the offing for certain, and it will impact how business conducts itself across the country – from operations to retail to warehousing, the onset of the GST will demand an exercise in change management driven by the Chief Executive. Group CIO and CFO, VS Parthasarathy runs one of India’s most progressive Finance operations for a conglomerate that is both B2B and B2C, in sectors ranging from automobiles to IT. Engage with Partha, possessed of a canny ability to translate the impact of policy on business, as he talks through how he expects business to be run in a GST-led India.

Change of Hats

11.45 am – 12.00 noon

Diplomacy and Foreign Affairs: A New Prism for India

12.00 noon – 1.15 pm

Shyam Saran, former Foreign Secretary, Prime Minister’s Envoy for Nuclear Affairs and Climate Change, Government of India

A changing global paradigm is manifest in the continued shift of the global axis eastwards as the world’s consuming, faster growing populations weigh in on this neck of the woods. Change is, however, equally manifest as a ‘de-globalisation’ drive, driven by political thinking, starts to clash with business’ more borderless world. Where is this likely to go, also as key countries in Europe go to the polls in the next 12-18 months and as the migrant crisis continues to overwhelm political thinking? How do India’s policy makers view a Trump presidency and what is it likely to mean for business? How are China’s strident examples of its rising heft – and intent to rise to supreme status, despite an economic slowdown – interpreted in India and what do they mean for India’s own ambitions? How will India engage on trade and business with these nations and others, and how are key issues such as climate change to which India has committed, going to play out in both diplomacy and more practically, in domestic policy on industry and the environment? Shyam Saran has been Foreign Secretary of India. He has also been India’s chief negotiator in key summits on climate change and nuclear energy. An avid trekker, Mr Saran is widely travelled and holds an incisive opinion on how India’s stance on foreign affairs, in response to its own needs, and to transformative trends in other countries, could change the paradigm for business, and for the nation at large.


1.15 pm – 2.15 pm

The Power of Resolve

2.15 pm – 3.15 pm

Sakshi Malik, Freestyle Wrestler, Khel Ratna, Bronze Medallist, Rio Olympics 2016

‘Save the girl child’ is a phrase we all know well as representative of one of India’s harshest realities. India’s winners at the 2016 Rio Olympics, however, put a spin on that, because in many ways, we were ‘saved by the girl child’, with three key medals being won by Indian women. A small medals tally for this billion strong nation became so special, only because of that fact. Little lends itself more to that pride than the fact of young Sakshi Malik, a freestyle wrestler born in rural Haryana, winning bronze in her category in Rio. Rustic, Hindi-speaking, innocent, straightforward, powerful, determined, resolute and on the way to being truly ‘best in class’ – all of these attributes are Sakshi, and then some. She is the future that India can win for itself, because she has chosen, in what remains a male dominated field even in other countries, to forge a path towards global dominance. Her journey on the big stage began in 2010, when she brought home the bronze in the 58 kg category of the Junior World Championships in Budapest. She won silver after losing to Nigeria’s Aminat Adeniyi in a closely contested final in the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and then took the bronze again at the 2015 Asian Championships at Doha. Engage in dialogue with this shy young woman, all of 23, who knows what she wants for herself and her country, will not let society stop her, and who has, in many ways, only just begun.

Note: This will be hosted as a joint discussion with partners/spouses.

Coffee Break

3.15 pm – 3.45 pm

India’s Labour, Education, Skills and Employment: The Critical Quadrant

3.45 pm – 5.15 pm

Manish Sabharwal, Chairman and Co-Founder, TeamLease
Radha Ahluwalia, Managing Director, IMA India
Chandrachur Ghose, Head Proprietary Research, IMA India

The average age of an Indian today is 24. In the next decade, India will yield the world’s highest working age population. This demographic dividend should, in the ideal case, yield India’s greatest competitive advantage – the world’s largest consumer market, and its largest workforce. Provided skills development at one end, given the education profile of Indians, and formal education at the other, can keep up, to deliver a productivity triad of education, employment and employability. IMA’s comprehensive Study on Labour (demography and education profiles) and Employment goes back ten years and looks outward five. Regrettably, its statistics suggest a risk to this national priority. Manish Sabharwal is a serial entrepreneur. He is also leading the charge from the private sector on skills development, through deep engagement with governments both Central and State, and by setting up India’s only skills university in Gujarat. With over 100,000 people directly/indirectly employed in TeamLease, few would know this landscape better. Gain insight into the IMA study as it sets the context for the discussion with Manish on what the government – and industry – are doing to drive this most fundamental of all India’s growth impulses.

Dare to Dream: When Change is a Personal Choice

7.30 pm – 8.30 pm

Sonam Wangchuk, Founder, the Students Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh, the Rolex Award Laureate for Environment, 2016 
(This will be hosted as a joint session of delegates and partners over dinner, please be seated by 7.25 pm)

The blockbuster movie ‘3 Idiots’ ended with film star, Aamir Khan, leading a unique educational initiative in Ladakh – for children who ‘fail’ India’s formal educational system and yet go on to create unique innovations and global benchmarks. Aamir’s role drew inspiration from Sonam Wangchuk, a mechanical engineer from Ladakh who founded SECMOL, the Students Educational and Cultural Movement of Ladakh – a school of experiential learning run entirely on solar energy, with the institution split between regular students and those who may technically have ‘failed’ government school examinations.

Once Member of Ladakh’s Hill Council, and part of Expert Panels on education for the State of Jammu & Kashmir, today, Sonam Wangchuk is the 2016 Rolex Laureate for Environment for his engineering feat to create ice stupas from waters in Ladakh’s many lakes for use in the region’s most arid months. In his words, Sonam hopes to overcome water shortages by tapping meltwaters to build artificial glaciers. His plans are ambitious, even idealistic, but in his own way, he is creating history by thinking the impossible is possible and perhaps, simply, by daring to dream. Sonam’s work is a combination of idealism and hardheaded, practical implementation. India’s farthest corners can represent in a microcosm, the many complexities of this millennia-old nation. Ladakh is one-third the State of J&K, in the very far north of the country – beautiful, rugged, and at the battlefront of both geo-politics and climate change. Engage with Sonam to gain insight into how he does what he does, why he does it, and the formidable impact it is beginning to have.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Note: The hotel will be busy with guest departures through the day as the Roundtable concludes. The Reception is likely to be crowded too. It is most important for us that you are there for the Roundtable’s closing debates and hence, we would request you to please complete check-out formalities in the morning well before the first session, unless your flight departs post 4.00 pm.

India’s Policy Framework: The Outlook

9.00 am – 10.30 am

TN Ninan, Chairman, Business Standard
Pronab Sen, Country Director, India Central Programme, IGC, former Principal Advisor Power and Energy, Government of India, former Chief Statistician of India

India’s policy framework will set the boundaries and limits for its economic growth paradigm. Today, that policy is in flux on multiple parameters, with the government at the Centre striving to accelerate the growth paradigm in key areas of infrastructure development, attempting landmark policy changes such as the GST and identifying routes, including the current exercise of demonetisation, to curb India’s black economy. There is ‘action’ in multiple spheres and linkages, both economic and social, are many, with results that can vary manifold. At another level lie India’s states, which differ in both their intent and capacity to create a meaningful reform paradigm. How does one link these many strands to arrive at a cohesive understanding of India’s policy framework, its priorities and its likely impact? What are the opportunities our government will choose to exploit to further India’s growth paradigm – what priorities is it guided by and what could come in the way? Engage with two of India’s most considered minds – TN Ninan, with years of experience in observing the Indian economy from among India’s most senior journalists, and Pronab Sen, a career civil servant, who has been core to India’s planning in some of its most high growth periods.

Coffee Break

10.30 am – 11.00 am

Because Life is for Living

11.00 am – 12.30 pm

Deepa Malik, Paralympian, Arjuna Awardee and International Para-athlete 
(This will be hosted as a joint session with spouses at the Ballroom)

Deepa Malik made history by winning silver for the nation at the Rio Paralympics in shot put. The wife of a Colonel in the Indian army, mother of two lovely little girls, struck down in the prime of life by three spinal tumours that despite multiple surgeries, left her paralysed from the shoulders down. Struck down, one might think. And then think again. International para-athlete, winner of multiple medals in javelin, shot put and discus throw, swimmer, biker, restaurateur, rallyist. This is the same woman, born again, as she chose to be, throwing a challenge to life itself. Engage with Deepa as she talks through her story; gain insight into her will to rise, to conquer, and to excel. Deepa stands for everything we should stand for: pride in oneself, pride in her family, the spirit of excellence and true commitment. Most of all, she stands for the will to live, for reflecting the true human spirit – to simply, rise above.

Luncheon and Close

12.30 pm

IMA India reserves the right to alter the programme as necessary


As you are aware, IMA adheres strictly to session timings as a mark of courtesy to both speakers and delegates. We would request your attention to this!

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2016-12-11 18:00:00