These are times of constant change. Whether it is the ever-evolving global economic scenario or the emergence of new and potentially disruptive business ideas, corporations must constantly be in a state of high alert to ensure they remain firmly on the path of sustainable growth and profitability. In such times, leadership assumes great importance. How should a leader negotiate the path when nothing is certain? How much should he do himself and how much should be delegated? Uncertain times call for an even greater level of courage and resolve from business leaders. Those able to demonstrate it best will eventually be able to take their companies to the next level.
As chroniclers of entrepreneurial capitalism, Forbes India has been celebrating leadership for years. One important way we do it is through the Forbes India Leadership Awards (FILA), which honours a set of such inspirational business leaders every year. FILA, now in its sixth year, celebrates those who, by their actions, have made a difference to their organisations, their employees and also to the business segments in which they operate. These leaders galvanise their teams against the odds and ensure they move forward to achieve a common goal. As you will agree, such leaders are rare and need to be honoured and celebrated.
To arrive at this year’s FILA nominees across nine categories, we began the process early with Forbes India editors digging deep into their notes, speaking to several sector- and domain experts and arriving at a long-list of names. A similar exercise was conducted by our Knowledge Partner KPMG, after which a shortlist of 44 nominees was drawn up to be presented to our eminent Jury. This year, the FILA Jury was chaired by Harsh Mariwala, chairman of Marico, and had Sanjay Nayar of KKR India, Zia Mody of AZB & Partners, Noshir Kaka of McKinsey India, Roopa Kudva of Omidyar Network and Manish Sabharwal of TeamLease Services as members. After detailed deliberations, the Jury arrived at the final nine winners, about whom you will read in the following pages. As you do that, you will realise that while leaders may come from different backgrounds and business sectors, they have one common thread: The courage and the will to do what is best for their organisations.
When talking of leadership, it is impossible not to mention the recent developments at the top in one of the country’s most respected business groups, the House of Tata. The sudden removal of Cyrus Mistry as chairman of Tata Sons, the return of Ratan Tata as interim chairman and the consequent, rather public, war of words between the Mistry and Tata camps have sent shock waves through Corporate India. This is a story which is still unravelling, and we will be following it very closely. For now, very few can really hazard a guess on how, and when, this face-off will end.