As the day to crown the IMPACT Person of the Year, 2011, presented by Jagran Group, draws near, the industry is all abuzz with predictions of the possible winner this year. While most industry leaders refrain from commenting on who among the eight nominees could win, most of them are ready with their secret list of top three contenders. The most common reaction from the industry after the nominees were announced has been ‘May the best person win’; and only the much-awaited result will bring all forecasts to a halt. Excitement is building up as the votes are being counted.
As for the nominees themselves, they were quiet until IMPACT asked for their reactions on their nomination. Here is what some of the nominees had to say:
Agnello Dias, Chairman & co-founder of TapRoot India is a nominee for the second time in a row this year. Agnello, who is the first nominee in the alphabetical order, was incidentally the first to respond. He said, “Well, this is the second time I have been nominated and I continue to be amused at finding my name among the nominees.” Calling Impact Person of the Year a ‘much-looked-forward-to’ event every year, the talented adman said, “I am constantly surprised at how big advertising has grown over the years and perhaps this is an indication of how the spotlight on the industry has only grown stronger and sometimes even harsher. Being nominated for Impact Person of the Year sounds intimidating to say the least, and I do hope I am able to do enough over the years to justify the honour.”
Madhukar Kamath, MD & CEO of Mudra Group; and Chairman of the Organising Committee of the recently held AdAsia 2011, was initially away from the buzz of nomination due to his hectic schedule at AdAsia. But he too was amused after he found his name in the list of nominees. He said it was “an honour to be recognised by the peer group and the Industry”. “I am humbled,” he added.
Sandeep Goyal, non-executive Founder Chairman, Dentsu India, called IPOY “a good platform” and noted that many stalwarts like Vineet Jain and Ronnie Screwvala were also on the shortlist. “Well, may the best man win,” he declared. Reacting to his nomination this year, he said, “I am both delighted and amused that I should make the IPOY shortlist in a year when I technically ‘exited’ the hurly-burly of advertising by selling my 26% stake in the Dentsu India JV!”
Haresh Chawla, who recently resigned from the Group CEO’s position at Viacom18, said in a brief reaction, “As I always say, I get more credit than is actually due to me. The company is not a one-man job. It is built on the strength of the huge number of great people we have.” He stated that he is proud of the fact that Network 18 has the best talent in the industry. “Those are the people who built this company. This nomination is on behalf of them, and I am truly honoured,” he added.
Man Jit Singh, CEO of Multi Screen Media (MSM), who has also been nominated for the second consecutive time, said, “It is certainly a very humbling experience given that it comes from our peers in the industry. I don’t know whether I deserve to be a part of this group of nominees who are far more experienced and knowledgeable about the industry than me.” While explaining his role and contribution in Multi Screen Media, he said that developing a set of values and executing them in the company has been his biggest achievement and also his proudest moment. “Our entire senior-level team believes passionately in these values. There are things like empowering our people, building a culture of continuous innovation and letting people feel that they can innovate at every level and take risks. That’s been the most powerful driver of change in this company,” he added.
The other three nominees – Ronnie Screwvala, CEO and founder chairman of UTV Group, Rajiv Verma, CEO of Hindustan Times Media Limited and Vineet Jain, Managing Director, Times Group – were not available for comment.
Past winners of IPOY include Peter Mukerjea (then CEO of Star India) (2005), Rajdeep Sardesai, Editor-in-chief of CNN IBN (2006), Dr Vijay Mallya, Chairman, UB Group (2007), Lalit Modi, Former Commissioner, Indian Premier League (IPL) and Raghav Bahl, Founding/Controlling Shareholder & Managing Director – Network 18 (2008), Rajesh Kamat, CEO, CA Media (then CEO Colors) (2009). Last year, the award went to Uday Shankar, CEO, STAR India.