Interview with Dr. Frank-Jürgen Richter, Chairman, Horasis
“The 2011 Global India Business Meeting focuses on the changing paradigm of the global and Indian economies.”
Dr. Frank-Jürgen Richter, Chairman, Horasis, the Global Visions Community, has lived, studied and worked in Asia for almost a decade, principally in Tokyo and in Beijing where he developed and managed European Multinationals' China operations. Prior to founding Horasis, Dr. Richter was a Director of the World Economic Forum. During this time he has developed an extensive experience and knowledge on the world's economic, business and political scene and of its key players. Under his leadership, the Forum's Summits in Asia and the Asia part of 'Davos' have evolved to facilitate the exchange of expertise between leaders in business, government, and civil society.
He has addressed audiences at the World Economic Forum, Brookings Institute, Harvard University, Beijing University, Royal Institute of International Affairs, and several high-level corporate events. His writings appeared in the financial and regional press, such as The International Herald Tribune, The Wall Street Journal, The Far Eastern Economic Review, The Straits Times and the South China Morning Post. He has been interviewed by several publications and appeared on CNN, BBC, CNBC, CCTV (China Central Television) as well as the Voice of America. Dr. Richter was educated in Germany (his home country), France, Mexico and Japan. He is a fluent Mandarin and Japanese speaker.
Horasis, The Global Visions Community, is an independent international organization committed to enacting visions for a sustainable future. The community hosts annual meetings to advance solutions to the most critical challenges facing corporations today. Participants jointly identify globally relevant business issues and develop sophisticated and interdisciplinary solutions. Participants then leverage these solutions to enhance corporate performance and long-term growth. Among the participants are the Chief Executive Officers of the world's most respected corporations as well as key business leaders from emerging markets. From the first meeting in 2005, annual gatherings have been held around the globe. The flagship events are the Horasis Annual Meeting as well as regional summits focusing on China, India, Russia and the Arab world.
Replying to Anil Mascarenhas of IIFL, Dr. Frank-Jürgen Richter says, “The 2011 Global India Business Meeting focuses on the changing paradigm of the global and Indian economies.”
Could you provide a brief overview of your operations?
Horasis is an international organization that enacts visions for a sustainable future. Through the Horasis community, corporations from emerging markets join together to explore and implement strategies for global leadership and sustainable growth. Existing global business meetings usually bring together mostly CEOs from the OECD-countries – we wanted to reflect on the new economic realities by focusing on high growth markets from the emerging world. In 2005, we hosted our first annual Global Business Meeting on China and have since expanded to organize forums on India, Russia and the Arab region. These gatherings of high-profile CEOs provide a platform to address the opportunities – and critical challenges - for each market. Participants share perspectives on future economic cooperation with the global market and develop interdisciplinary solutions that can be implemented to enhance corporate performance and long-term growth.
The Global India Business Meeting is organized with greater emphasis on open discussion and audience participation rather than formal presentations. Naturally, it is not our claim that these discussions lead to incontrovertible truth, but our goal is to present the different sides to each issue in the broadest manner possible.
I understand you host annual meetings. What is your business model? How many events do you hold a year?
We hold a total of 5 meetings and typically draw 300-400 CEOs from prominent companies around the world. A country is selected as the focus of the meeting and its situation is discussed in the global context: importantly, the venue of the meeting is outside the focal country. This separation is needed to promote freely moving in-depth discussions and networking.
The inaugural Global India Business Meeting convened in Munich, Germany, in 2009. Last year’s meeting was held in Madrid, Spain. The meetings are always held outside the country to be discussed and, co-hosted by a country which wants to establish economic ties with India. This year’s India Business Meeting will be held in Naples, Italy, 26-27 June. The host government is deeply engaged in the preparation of the meeting – they also provide the basic infrastructure for the meeting, as venue, catering, etc. Thanks to the international acknowledgement achieved, the Global India Business Meeting has already established a tradition, which Horasis intends to preserve.
Who are your typical attendees? Any big names from abroad and India?
The Global India Business Meeting comes at a critical international moment for the Indian business leaders. Interaction with Western CEOs can help outline the elements of globalization strategies for Indian firms. Our intention is to create a global meeting bringing together CEOs from the emerging markets – with India at the core – and business leaders from the developed world. We manage to attract high-profile Indian and global CEOs year after year, creating a community of senior business leaders. CEOs of Indian firms show great confidence in this meeting as a global platform for engaged dialogue with leaders from other parts of the world. The co-chairs of the 2011 India meeting are:
- Sanjiv Ahuja, Chairman, Augere, United Kingdom
- Rahul Bajaj, Chairman, Bajaj Auto, India
- Subodh Bhargava, Chairman, Tata Communications, India
- Lord Karan Bilimoria, Chairman, Cobra Beer Partnership, United Kingdom
- Carla Cico, Chief Executive Officer, Rivoli, Italy
- Dinesh Dhamija, Founder, ebookers.com, United Kingdom
- Hans G Ekdahl, Managing Director, Neilsoft, India
- Sunil Godhwani, Chairman and Managing Director, Religare Enterprises, India
- CP Gurnani, Chief Executive Officer, Mahindra Satyam, India
- Rajive Kaul, Chairman, Nicco Group, India
- Praveen P Kadle, Chief Executive Officer, Tata Capital, India
- Mohan Kaul, Director-General, Commonwealth Business Council, United Kingdom
- Harsh C Mariwala, Chairman, Marico, India
- Tidu Maini, Executive Chairman, Qatar Science & Technology Park, Qatar
- Efrat Peled, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Arison Investments, Israel
- Deepak Puri, Chairman & Managing Director, Moser Baer, India
This conference will focus on the Indian market? Why?
The programme for the 2011 Global India Business Meeting was designed not only to discuss the impact of the economic crisis on India, but also to consider how India’s robust economy can contribute to a global recovery. The impact of the global economic crisis naturally varies across the region – important variables include reliance on IT-outsourcing, infrastructure projects and agriculture. Still, India might be better placed to weather the global downturn. The Global India Business Meeting provides an exceptional platform to address challenges and opportunities for India.
What are some of the critical issues facing Indian firms as they build global and sustainable brands?
The 2011 Global India Business Meeting focuses on the changing paradigm of the global and Indian economies. Some of the critical topics to be discussed are as follows: How might the fallout of the Japanese disaster and the changes in the Arab world impact the Indian economy?
- Will the dramatic cuts in public sector spending in much of the developed world derail global recovery?
- Could the disruption of financial flows unsettle emerging markets, including India?
- Given that emerging markets were not the root cause of the 2008 crisis, and given their ability to recover swiftly from there, is the recent lowering of risk aversion toward emerging markets likely to be a long-term phenomenon?
- Will global growth adversely impact on India growth perspectives?
- Can and will changes in legislation, coupled with the advent of meaningful pools of domestic savings, result in further growth of financial centres in emerging countries like India?
- What are the challenges and opportunities facing Indian corporations and investors?
India's strong growth figures will clearly instill robust optimism among the participants of the 2011 Global India Business Meeting. India sits at the top of the heap in terms of economic expectations for the current year, as business leaders in Europe, Japan and the US worry about possible setbacks. Recovery in the global economy is asymmetrical. India and other emerging markets, in both output growth and trade, are growing substantially faster than the developed economies.
You started with a focus on the Chinese market in 2005. How has the experience been since then?
Originally, the Chinese government asked us to host a meeting for Chinese CEOs in Europe. The Chinese government wanted to create a platform for their companies to globalise their operations – the government encourages the CEOs of state-owned and private firms to take part in the meeting on an annual basis. Participation has grown by [XX percent since then] and additional meetings have been held in Geneva (twice), Frankfurt, Barcelona, Lisbon and Luxembourg. This year’s meeting will be held in Valencia. The Global China Business Meeting, like the other meetings Horasis is hosting, rotates amongst major world capitals.
The participants, who are prominent representatives of the global business community, government officials, academics and the media, discuss a wide range of topics, but primarily they focus on business. We observe that participants typically engage in real business by discussing and concluding cooperation agreements, merger & acquisitions, investment deals, etc. Also, governments sometimes conclude bilateral agreements on the sidelines of the meetings – Indian Commerce Minister Anand Sharma and Spanish Commerce Minister Miguel Sebastian signed an agreement on Indian-Spanish trade at last year’s Global India Business Meeting, for instances.
In what other geographies are you present?
Horasis is based in Zurich, Switzerland and Dubai, UAE. We might add further offices in the future. We work with public and private entities from all around the world – developed and developing to explore, define and implement trajectories of sustainable growth.
Is it really easy to come to a consensus on globally relevant business issues? To what extent are you able to build on sophisticated and interdisciplinary solutions?
At this year’s Global India Business Meeting, I am most excited about a session on sustainable development. The Indian government has taken sustainable development as an important objective for the country‘s economic and social development. For example, the government has issued a record number of carbon credits - expected to reach 246 million by December 2012 (CRISIL Research) - for emission reduction projects. Cleantech and renewable energy is only one part of the sustainable conversation, however, and we look forward to discussing it holistically.
In addition to sustainability, we will address mergers and acquisitions, branding, private equity and corporate globalization. We select practical topics that aim to enhance Indian firms’ growth to global eminence. Through the annual business meetings, Horasis hopes to produce resolutions that allow all everyone from globalization, not just a few.
What has been the experience from the participants? Any anecdotes you could share?
Participants are using our meetings to build trust, turning these from a gathering of minds into a true partnership of results. Last year’s Global India Business Meeting (in Madrid) ended with some cautious optimism. Global trade has been growing steadily, rising oil prices reflect on a better mood in the global economy, and industrial production is recovering. Still, inflation in most developing countries – including India - remains a problem. We will reflect on the current state of the global economy when we meet at the 2011 Global India Business Meeting. The focus will clearly be on how to envision and enact the post-crisis world. With the full support of the Horasis visions community, we will convene 300 of the most prominent Indian and global business leaders, to build on the success of the 2010 and 2009 meetings.
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