Friday, May 17, 2013

Mr. Rainer, former CFO Unilever at Alliance Uty, Bangalore

Mr. Rainer Schultheis in Alliance University, Bangalore.

It was indeed a great privilege to hear Mr Rainer Schultheis, former CFO, Unilever and present MD Conference Board, (a non-profit organisation of Global CEOs) speak in Alliance University Bangalore on 17 May 2013. He was the special guest of Prof S. Ramadoss, Regional Director and Senior Fellow of Conference Board and faculty in OLS at Alliance University. (Prof S. Ramadoss was former Sr. VP and CHRO, Titan Industries of Tata Sons). Here in the snaps Mr Rainer is seen  interacting with students in Alliance Uty, Bangalore.

Prof Ramadoss, introducing Mr Rainer to the MBA Jan '13 class

Mr Rainer narrating and sharing his vast global experience to the students ..

Mr. Rainer fielding "interesting, inquisitive" questions from the students ..

Mr. Rainer originally hails from Germany, completed his schooling and education from Germany and was operating till recently from Brussels in Belgium, just a 45 minute flight from his country, before taking over as MD of Conference Board a consortium of Global CEOs, which works to influence the way the globe develops.

While talking in general regarding the massive challenges facing the country, Mr Rainer stressed on the agriculture sector in India. Improving productivity in the agriculture sector which employs almost 55% of our population, generating just 14 % of GDP is the most important and immediate action the policy makers in our country should be taking up on war footing. Cost cutting by effective assets utilization with great investments in imparting education and improving skills of the population will allow the GDP to grow at 10-11 %. If only the economy picks up at this rate, he feels India can lead the world yet again ..

He stressed on the need to improve our global competitiveness by innovating, helping reduce costs and supply talented, skilled human resources which will see India take the lead over China (China is seeing a shrinking workforce now). Mr Rainer also made a special mention about managing the risks in growth.

All these measures would "generate enough jobs" to propel the Indian economy. Here is a link to an earlier posting from the author of why China should be wary of India and not the other way round..

Mr. Rainer was particularly impressed by the meeting he had the previous evening with top CEOs from the city of Bangalore in a meeting presided over by the Chief Secretary of Karnataka Mr. S. V. Ranganathan.

He was upbeat about the intellectual prowess and complete grasp of the Indian economy and global matters by Mr Ranganath in his speech the previous day and the discussions which ensued after that. He was satisfied that Karnataka was in safe hands, indeed. He was happy that Karnataka was the only state in the country where agriculture grew by 6% consistently over the past five years.

Mr. Rainer did field interesting questions put by the students to him and was indeed impressed by the quality of the interaction. He felt improving agricultural practices would catapult India to the forefront of nations. Though he was of the view that productivity in IT and ITES in India was among the best in the world, in the area of agriculture and manufacture it had to improve a lot. India is one of the countries where agriculture is still practiced in medieval ways. By improving the productivity in the agriculture sector he opined the population would move to more productive agri-services related businesses, improving employment and spurring the growth in GDP.

The departing point he made was : make agriculture high tech and see the increase in productivity and the growth in GDP then !!

George Easaw

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