Global Business Leaders Forum: Insight to 21st century leadership

Mumbai: After a dynamic and enlightening first day of the 2nd Global Business Leaders Forum hosted by Commonwealth Business Council (CBC), and co-hosted by Bank of Baroda, in partnership with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) at Mumbai, the second day started with a discussion on 'Mastering the Global Economy: Reverse Globalisation – Financing the expansion'.

Chaired by Robert Blackburn, Senior Vice President SNC-Lavalin, Canada, the session debated on various aspects of reverse globalisation. ''Reverse globalisation has a variety of versions ranging from emerging companies buying overseas companies to state owned companies buying offshore and bail out by the Sovereign Wealth Funds. These result in wide ranging implications'', commented Blackburn.

Taking the discussion forward, Sunil Kakkad, Partner and Head of India Group, Lawrence Graham LLP, UK talked about the current trends in outbound Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A's). ''Indian offshore investment has almost doubled, exceeding $32 billion in 2007, with most of it being M&A driven'', said Kakkad. He went on to explain the growth drivers as desire to have international footprint resulting into increasing globalisation, increased appetite for risk and larger spending power.

T C Venkat Subramanian, Chairman and Managing Director, Exim Bank gave a statistical flavour to the discussion, when he stated that global FDI flows exceeded $1.3 trillion in 2006, a growth of 38 per cent over the previous year, with most of the FDI flows being in terms of outbound M&A's. He illustrated the role of emerging economies in Asia as being prominent, where due to favourable financing conditions; most of cross border M&A deals were financed through cash/debt financing. ''To sustain global competitiveness, firms need to strive towards adopting proactive measures to enhance their globalisation efforts, technological progress, innovation and human skill development'', emphasized Subramanian.

The discussion progressed, with Tom Troubridge, Partner PricewaterhouseCoopers, UK stressing that competition to attract IPO's was growing between America and Europe, with Europe having 132 IPO's in 2006 against USA's 29. In 2007, this changed to Europe having 126 IPO's as against USA, which recorded 50. Troubridge further explained the reasons of companies getting attracted to offshore IPO's as access to global investors, springboard for international expansion and political hedge among others.

During the second session, human potential, and the need for leaders as against managers and the relevance of job titles in today's corporate environment was discussed. Titled '21st Century Leadership Challenge: Unlocking the Human Capital- The Demise of Job Title', the session was introduced by Dato Mohamed Sulaiman, Chairman, Redmax, Malaysia.