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Pradeep Mallick: The multilinguistnews
Venkatachari Jagannathan
22 August 2001
Pradeep MallickNot many know that fifty eight year old Mr. Pradeep Mallick, managing director, Wartsila India Ltd, is a man fluent in many languages. Apart from Tamil, Punjabi (his mother tongue), Bengali, Hindi and English, Mr. Mallick can converse in, French and German! He, however, confesses that he is not very fluent in the foreign languages since he does not get too much of a chance to converse in those languages.

So don't be surprised if you hear him conversing in Tamil. Quiz him further on that he would reply, " I studied in a boarding school in Coonoor where I learnt Tamil. I honed it a bit while studying electrical engineering at IIT-Madras." Though he got admission at IIT-Kharagpur, Mr. Mallick decided to join the Madras institute in 1960.

After finishing his graduation Mr. Mallick went to the UK to study business management. Fired by a strong sense of nationalism he came back home, after completing his course, instead of flying to USA, where most of his college mates had done.

Back in India after his studies Mr. Mallick joined Crompton Greaves, where he spent ten long years in various capacities. Enamoured by the novelty of exports, he then joined Tata Exports.

But somehow he was never in sync with the companys culture. He then switched to a small Calcutta-based company called EMC Ltd, which was in the business of setting up transmission lines. In doing so he nearly followed his fathers footsteps. His father built transmission lines for leading company, Best & Crompton Engineering.

After a brief stop over at Genelec, Calcutta, Mr. Mallick landed his current job in 1987 when the Finnish power equipment company Wartsila was scouting for a managing director for its Indian subsidiary. "I didn't have any hang up in joining a start up. It provided the thrill and experience to build an enterprise," he explains.

He didn't fail the confidence reposed on him by the promoters. Ever since then it was a smooth sailing for the company except for the usual business cycles. At the end of last year, Wartsila India clocked a turnover of Rs. 340 crore commanding a market share of
60 per cent in the diesel power equipment sector!

Over the years the company underwent name change twice, the last one recently and its business profile expanded from being an equipment supplier to its present position of power seller.

Mr. Mallick likes to walk the talk. For instance when cost cutting measures were implemented in Wartsila India without issuing any circular he started flying in economy class and others in the company naturally followed suit.

"We don't sack people at Wartsila India. Problems are always sorted out by mutual dialogue," he adds. At Wartsila India, goals are laid down after mutual discussion with each employee and achievement of the same is left to the concerned person. "I don't interfere with his work," remarks Mr. Mallick who incidentally has also mastered the language workers understand.

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Pradeep Mallick: The multilinguist