Suits & Sayings: ET's roundup of corporate murmurs

ET’s weekly roundup of the wackiest whispers and murmurs in corporate corridors & policy parlours.

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US tech executives with business interests in China aren’t too keen on getting President Trump’s attention.
ET’s weekly roundup of the wackiest whispers and murmurs in corporate corridors & policy parlours.

Full Cycle
We don’t know if we should call this multi-tasking or workhaholism, but the promoter of a Mumbai based consumer goods firm was spotted reviewing and signing official company documents while perched on a stationary bike machine at a suburban gym that’s a favourite haunt of Bollywood A-listers. Or maybe he’s testing out a concept for a new kind of coworking space?


Unfriendly Fire
Discussions over the distribution of Jet Airways slots and flying rights saw some sniping among airline bosses at a recent meeting in the aviation ministry. When the promoter of a Mumbai-based airline sought international routes to launch more flights, a Delhi-based promoter asked why, when it had six planes on the ground. The Mumbai-based promoter, known for not taking such comments kindly, responded that his carrier had the financial strength to keep aircraft grounded. The spat continued outside the conference room, when the Mumbai-based boss told his counterpart that he knew things about the Delhi-based carrier’s operational details that could be brought up for discussion at such meetings.

Reading & Comprehension
The CEO of a newly-formed company practices Yoga Nidra, a form of meditation that helps sort out his thoughts and bring clarity to dealing with competition. He says it’s like taking different books from a library and sorting them into categories after they are read. It helps him zoom out and see each issue affecting the company as a book that needs to be read, finished and put back in order. Given that his company is going through one of its toughest phases, one hopes this form of meditation will help maintain overall balance.

Card Choice
India’s largest digital payments entity, Paytm, joined hands with Citibank to launch a co-branded credit card last week. However, the buzz is that Paytm’s first choice was another American bank known for its elite card membership programme to tap the premier end of the market. But the said bank was not keen to dilute its branding and talks fell through with SoftBank and Alibaba-funded Paytm. That’s when the Vijay Shekhar Sharma-led firm started the hunt for a new partner bank and got Citibank on board.
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Ever Vigilant
A handful of top bankers are said to be in the fray for the post of vigilance commissioner after TM Bhasin retires in June. They include Oriental Bank of Commerce MD and CEO MK Jain, IOB chief Subramania Kumar and Punjab National Bank head Sunil Mehta. An executive director of UCO Bank is also said to be on the list. If not for the Nirav Modi scam, PNB’s Mehta would have sailed through, but now, one of the deputy managing directors of State Bank of India is tipped to tilt the scales.

TV Trouble
The telecom regulator took its time holding the first open house on regulating OTT (over-the-top) apps. It was apparently keen on avoiding unseemly protests by local cable operators over the new tariff regime for TV channels, which they say has been highly disruptive. The event was moved to Bengaluru from Delhi for that reason, but this didn’t stop cable operators from filling up the hall. Only a handful of representatives were from the telecom sector.

Pilot Programme
One of India’s leading airlines sought to lure pilots of grounded Jet Airways last week by offering them a one-time sign-on bonus of Rs 15-20 lakh. Many joined, given the short deadline and dwindling hopes of a Jet revival. The airline that was hiring had been affected earlier this year by pilot shortage; hence the generous offers. Another carrier that’s picked up most of Jet’s Boeing 737 aircraft seems to have more planes than it can handle. The next few quarterly earnings should reveal whether this is indeed the case.

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Trump Warning
US tech executives with business interests in China aren’t too keen on getting President Donald Trump’s attention. The US trade war against China has made most of them, even the outspoken ones, cautious about what they say. After all, one tweet by Trump can wreak havoc in the markets and affect their stock. A visiting tech executive who was discussing Trump and his actions had this request — not to get him into trouble with the ever tweeting President.

Different Flight Path
The tension between IndiGo’s founders has been simmering for a while. Some say the first signs of this had emerged in 2017 when they planned offers for sale. After the initial plan of doing it together, they chose to hit the market separately and even picked different advisers to manage the issues.

Shopping Rendezvous
Five Land Rovers, paramedics and a bevy of armed guards outside our favourite weekend shopping destination— a Mumbai food haven that was once a fashion store — took us by surprise. We thought some VVIP or the chief minister had decided to drop by. Turns out, it’s the recently-married billionaire heiress who had decided to do some grocery shopping. Or was it a field trip to check out what rival retailers are up to?
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