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ET Awards 2019: Here're the winners

The winners were bound by a common thread — they were all bold, ambitious and committed to creating a better society.

ET Bureau|
Updated: Dec 01, 2019, 09.20 AM IST
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The Star-studded Jury (Clockwise from top left) Uday Shankar of Star & Disney India, Sunil Mittal of Bharti Enterprises, Hero MotoCorp’s Pawan Munjal, Cyril Shroff of Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, Bhavish Aggarwal of Ola, former chairperson of Thermax Anu Aga, Isha Foundation founder Sadhguru, Nandan Nilekani of Infosys and Kalpana Morparia of JPMorgan.
Sanjiv Mehta, managing director of Hindustan Unilever, is the Economic Times’ Business Leader of the Year while Bajaj Finance won the Company of the Year as a starspangled jury comprising stalwarts plumped for quality growth, corporate governance and longterm vision in selecting winners of the Economic Times Award for Corporate Excellence 2019.

Kolkata-based Bandhan Bank won the Emerging Company of the Year, Falguni Nayar, CEO, Nykaa walked away with the Business Woman of the Year while former Maharashtra chief minister Devendra Fadnavis was the jury’s choice for Business Reformer of the Year. Sriharsha Majety, CEO, Swiggy, won the Entrepreneur of the Year and the jury’s choice for Global Indian of the Year was Ajay Banga, CEO of payments giant Mastercard. Wipro won the Corporate Citizen of the Year while Metro Man E Sreedharan won the Lifetime Achievement award. Ajay Bhushan Pandey, revenue secretary, won the Policy Change Agent of the Year for his work at the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI).

The jury also unanimously instituted a special award to recognise the enormous contribution to public service of former finance minister Arun Jaitley, who passed away last month. Jury members recognised Jaitley’s role in instituting complex structural reforms such as the goods and services tax and the bankruptcy code. These reforms would benefit business and the country in the long run.

“We miss his presence,” said Bharti Enterprises chairman Sunil Mittal.

“Entrepreneur of the Year (award) generated a lot of debate and I would say this year the Global Indian was a close one and it was down to two people and therefore it was becoming rather difficult to see where it finally ended,” said Mittal. “But in the end, the decisions across the segments were well accepted. Not everybody got their candidate but that’s the beauty of a democratic process.”

Apart from Mittal, the jury that gathered in Delhi on September 25 to select the winners, comprised Nandan Nilekani, non-executive chairman, Infosys; Kalpana Morparia, CEO, South and South East Asia, JPMorgan; Cyril Shroff, managing partner, Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas; Anu Aga, former chairperson of Thermax; Pawan Munjal, chairman, Hero MotoCorp; Sadhguru, founder, Isha Foundation; Uday Shankar, chairman, Star and Disney India, and Bhavish Agarwal, cofounder, Ola.

“The winners have a few common traits — they are all bold and ambitious but not reckless; they are all committed to creating great value but above all, they are all committed to creating a better society and a better India,” Shankar said.

HUL’s Mehta received accolades for heading a company with sound corporate governance and stakeholder management. It is the largest company in the Unilever ecosystem and Mehta has successfully presided over several innovations locally that have been leveraged by the wider Unilever ecosystem, the jury felt.

“The nominees were a good blend of emerging companies and established ones,” said Cyril Shroff. “The message that comes through from the selected names speaks for itself. Going forward, new business models will be rewarded and appreciated. Different business models will emerge instead of new-age ones, as boundaries will keep blurring on what is emerging. The new names that came up in some categories represent excellence, and indicate what is valued —not only ability to innovate and create value, but also to demonstrate resilience.”

Fadnavis was picked by the jury because of his efforts to improve Mumbai’s urban infrastructure. “He’s always engaged with problems of industry,” said a jury member. Pandey was selected because of his contribution in stabilising and implementing the rollout of the Aadhaar system. The jury felt that Nykaa’s Nayar went out of her comfort zone to launch a venture that has become profitable within a short span and expanded into new categories. In a list of nominees that largely included inheritors, she stood out as an entrepreneur who began a venture which was very different from what she had done in the past, a jury member said. “The big theme was despite tough macroeconomic conditions, some companies are powering away because they have a fundamentally strong business at the core,” said Agarwal of Ola.

Bajaj Finance was praised for being an NBFC that has done well and grown in an environment where others have floundered and also for becoming the star performer in the Bajaj stable.

Sreedharan was accorded the lifetime award for his pioneering role in transforming urban transport. He was also praised as a man of impeccable integrity. Ajay Banga received the award for leading a large global company for a long period of time that has successfully transformed and innovated to compete in the digital era.
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