Kumar Birla bid to push service businesses

13th May, 2009

The Times of India
13 May 2009

Aditya Birla Group Chairman, Mr. Kumar Mangalam Birla is drawing up plans to scale up the Group's service sector businesses comprising telecom, financial services, life insurance, BPO, IT services and retail. The Group has set up a strategic platform under a business review council, headed by Bharat Singh and D D Rathi, to explore synergies among the various service sector companies, to facilitate transfer of knowledge and to replicate best practices.

The Group's service businesses are housed under Idea Cellular, Aditya Birla Minacs, Birla Global Finance, Birla Sun Life Insurance and Aditya Birla Retail. These together contribute about 12 per cent of the Group's total turnover of $29 billion.

The setting up of the business review council is also being seen as a move to retain two of the Group's key directors, Singh and Rathi, and benefit from their vast experience. While Singh is due to retire in a month or two from the post of managing director, Aditya Birla Nuvo, Rathi has already retired after a long tenure as CFO, Grasim Industries.

TOI had reported in its edition dated 6 February 2009, that the Group is creating new roles for the two trusted lieutenants. Singh and Rathi continue to be part of the Group's apex body, Aditya Birla Management Corporation (ABMCL).

"The review council for the service businesses will be a business forum comprising different people drawn from across the Group. Bharat Singh will be the convenor of the council and D D Rathi will be a member," said Santrupt Misra, director (HR and IT), ABMC. The idea behind the council, said Misra, is to assist in building operational excellence, disseminate learnings across companies and aim for stretched challenges. "For instance, every company would require real estate to grow. The forum could help in coordinating such market intelligence on all fronts across companies," said Misra. The Group had earlier experimented with setting up a review council for its manufacturing sector businesses, a couple of years back.