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Govt replaces Mistry at Indo-UK CEO forum

By Nivedita Mookerji
November 05, 2016 09:03 IST

British Prime Minister Theresa May will be in India tomorrow, but Cyrus Mistry will no longer head the Indo-UK CEO forum, discovers Nivedita Mookerji.

With days to go for the Indo-UK Tech Summit from November 7 to 9 in New Delhi, much of what is to come is shrouded in mystery.

The biggest question mark is on the leadership of the CEO forum, which will be part of the summit when United Kingdom Prime Minister Theresa May visits India from November 6 to 8.

While Cyrus Mistry, who was replaced as chairman of Tata Sons last week, has been head of the CEO forum from India's side, a decision has been taken to make a change.

An official working on the Indo-UK summit said Mistry would be replaced at the CEO forum.

The new head will be from the forum, but "it's work in progress".

Among others, Bharti group Chairman Sunil Mittal's name did the rounds for the new co-chair of the Indo-UK CEO Forum.

The Prime Minister's Office will take a decision on the new name and is likely to be announced closer to the event.

Ratan Tata, who became the interim chairman of Tata Sons last week after Mistry's ouster, is listed as a VIP speaker at the Indo-UK summit.

Apart from the uncertainty around who would head the CEO forum from the Indian side, the programme and the delegation list, too, have not been revealed yet by the event organisers and partners -- the British high commission, Confederation of Indian Industry, and the Union government.

An executive close to the event said the UK delegation would have around 250 members including business representatives, educationists, thought leaders and government officials.

The total number of participants at the summit could cross 1,000.

From the UK side, minister of state for universities, science, research and innovation Jo Johnson, and secretary of state for international trade Dr Liam Fox are expected to be among the key participants.

Top representatives of GlaxoSmithKline, Barclays Bank, HSBC, the University of Cambridge and the University of Glasgow, too, are likely to be there.

Besides Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who along with May will inaugurate the summit, many of the National Democratic Alliance council of ministers including Nirmala Sitharaman, Prakash Javadekar, Ravi Shankar Prasad and Harsh Vardhan will attend sessions on health care to smart cities, robotics to start-ups and automation to education.

CII President Naushad Forbes told Business Standard that the Indo-UK summit will focus on R&D and advanced manufacturing, among other things.

The business models of companies have to change, with higher stress on innovation and investment in R&D, he said, while replying to a question on slowing growth and cautious forecast by IT companies.

On Brexit, he said it was bound to be a centre-piece of conversation.

Exactly one year after Modi's trip to the UK, May's India visit is being seen as beginning of a new era of economic relations, at the core of which is technology collaborations, an official handling the event said.

The two countries are looking to boost the quantum of trade in the backdrop of slowing signs. There has been a decline of 10 per cent in trade between the two countries from 2013-2014 to 2015-2016.

The UK, however, is the third largest investor in India, in terms of foreign direct investment, and the largest among G20 countries.

Nivedita Mookerji
Source: source