Meher Pudumjee CEO of the Year 2007-08

Meher Pudumjee of Thermax is the BS CEO of the Year

Business Standard | March 13, 2009

Four other award winners also announced.

Thermax Chairperson Meher Pudumjee is the Business Standard CEO of the Year for 2007-08. Pudumjee was selected by a distinguished six-person jury chaired by Nandan Nilekani, co-chairman of Infosys Technologies.

The 42-year-old Pudumjee, who took over as chairperson in October 2004, was chosen for sustained growth in sales and net profits, as well as value return to shareholders, in an industry dominated by large players. The Pune-headquartered Thermax posted a compounded 41 per cent growth in net sales and 62 per cent in net profits in the three years to 2007-08.

The jury also took into account the reputation of the company, as one that had grown rapidly without compromising on corporate ethics. The jury members felt that this aspect needed to be highlighted in a year that has been dominated by news of corporate misgovernance.

Four other companies were selected for Business Standard's “Star” awards in different categories. The jury chose PowerGrid Corporation as Star Public Sector Company for its game-changing role in the industry; Areva T&D, which is among the country's top equipment suppliers to the transmission and distribution sector, as the Star Multinational; Opto Circuits, the Bangalore-based medical equipment manufacturer, as the Star Company in the Small and Medium Enterprises sector; and Chennai-based Tractors and Farm Equipment (TAFE) as the Star Unlisted Firm, as it has done well in the face of stiff competition from both local heavyweights and MNCs.

Other than Nilekani, the members of the jury were Hindustan Unilever CEO and Managing Director Nitin Paranjpe, McKinsey India Managing Director Adil Zainulbhai, KKR India Advisors CEO Sanjay Nayar, Vodafone-Essar Managing Director Asim Ghosh, and ONGC's former Chairman and Managing Director Subir Raha.

Read about the achievements of the winners in the BS 1000 magazine that is being distributed free with Business Standard.

Read also about how the confidence that prompted industrialists to acquire businesses that were twice as large as their own has vanished. What is left is the realisation that not all that buying made sense and much of it may have been indulgence. But India Inc is trying hard to deal with the new reality, and taking some hard decisions — scaling back production and laying off people — after several years of heady growth.

Amidst the gloom, the good news is that there is no shortage of enterprising Indians who have seized the opportunities that are still there in the world of Indian business. The list of newcomers that have made it to the BS 1000 club for 2007-08 may not have been as long as it was in the previous year, but has its share of success stories — like Arvind Rao's OnMobile, which has snapped up a 35 per cent share in the mobile value-added space, and Shriram EPC, which has managed to find a niche for itself in a highly competitive industry. From mobile telephony to wine and engineering, almost every sector has thrown up new winners. Meet them in the pages of BS 1000.