Sunil Mittal, chairman & group managing director of the Bharti group, is Business Standard's CEO of the Year for 2005-06.
The award goes to him for transforming Bharti into India's biggest private telecom service provider, backed by leading edge technologies, and for charting new territory in agri-exports and retailing.
Though best known as India's telecom czar with 30 million customers, Mittal's crowning glory came in late November when he tied up with Wal-Mart, the biggest retailer in the world.
He also counts the Rothschilds, Vodafone, SingTel, and Axa among his business partners. Although a first-generation businessman who is only 48 years old, he is worth a mind-boggling Rs 26,550 crore ($5.9 billion).
Mittal is recognised as someone who can think out of the box. He has sealed breakthrough network management deals with Nokia and Ericsson, and outsourced his information technology management to IBM.
The results are there to see: Bharti Airtel has grown at a CAGR of 55 per cent in the last three years; after reporting a loss in 2003, the company reported a profit of Rs 2,000 crore in 2005-06; its return on net worth stands at an impressive 27.45 per cent; and the shareholders have seen their stock appreciate by 89 per cent in the last one year.
The CEO of the Year is chosen by a vote among editors of Business Standard, using a short-list compiled on the basis of financial aggregates by the Business Standard Research Bureau.
Previous winners of the award include Tata Steel Managing Director B Muthuraman, Bharat Forge Chairman & Managing Director Baba N Kalyani, Tata group Chairman Ratan Tata, Reliance group Chairman Mukesh Ambani, Hero group Chairman Brij Mohan Lall Munjal, and Infosys Chief Mentor N R Narayana Murthy.
Last year, Business Standard broadened the scope of its annual corporate awards (now in their 8th year) by introducing one more Star category: Star performer among multinational companies.
This is in addition to the existing three categories: Star performer among public sector enterprises, star performer among unlisted firms (which hugely outnumber those listed on the bourses), and finally Star performer in the small and medium enterprise segment -- defined as companies with a turnover of less than Rs 500 crore.
While Bharat Heavy Electricals has been declared the Star Performer, Public Sector, Manugraph India has emerged as the SME Star.
Parasvnath Developers is the Unlisted Company of the Year (the company got listed in November this year) and Siemens, the Star MNC of the Year.