Mumbai: Political bigwigs, policymakers and corporate honchos who are reshaping the current landscape of Indian economy were all in attendance at the CNBC-TV18's 15th Indian Business Leader Awards (IBLA) held in Mumbai on Friday night.
Touted as one of the biggest business award shows in the country, this year, IBLA was marked by a perfect confluence of business and politics. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman addressed questions asked by industry leaders such as Sanjiv Puri (Chairman and MD of ITC), and Pawan Goenka (MD of Mahindra and Mahindra Limited), while Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray took to the stage to felicitate winners such as Mukesh Ambani (CMD, Reliance Industries), Deepak Parekh (Chairman, HDFC) and Rajesh Gopinathan, (CEO and MD, TCS). The late former Finance Minister Arun Jaitley was also posthumously given the Hall of Fame Award during the event.
The event began with stalwarts of India's corporate world walking down the red carpet and interacting with the media. The award ceremony was hosted in the Regal Room at Trident, Nariman Point, which was packed with an audience of dignitaries like Governor of Reserve Bank of India, Shaktikanta Das, and corporates such as MD of HDFC, Aditya Puri; Founder and CEO of Nykaa, Falguni Nayar; co-founder of Rivigo, Gazal Kalra; co-founder and CEO of Meesho, Vidit Aatrey among others.
In keeping with this year's theme of 'Leaders of Change', IBLA celebrated leaders in fields like business, sports, entrepreneurship and entertainment who, with their years of work, have been instrumental in bringing change. During the event, Deepak Parekh took home the Lifetime Achievement trophy, while Mukesh Ambani bagged the award for Iconic Business Leader of the decade. The Iconic Company of The Decade Award went to TCS, and the Global Indian Business Icon was awarded to Satya Nadella (CEO, Microsoft). Among the winners were also Karan Johar, who won the Iconic Entertainment Leader of the Decade Award and P Gopichand, who took home the trophy of Iconic Sports Leader of the Decade.
Needless to say, the evening was punctuated by some touching and heartfelt acceptance speeches as well as some fun ones. The 75-year-old Deepak Parekh (Chairman, HDFC), who took home the lifetime achievement award, jokingly pointed out how he has been receiving 'lifetime achievement awards' for some decades.
“When I was in my 50s and I got a lifetime achievement award, I was told that it was too early in life. Then when I got a lifetime achievement award in my 60s, I got a subtle hint that I have to hang my boots. Now that I'm in my 70s and I am getting another lifetime achievement award, I'm convinced that I don't need any award, simply because in India we have so many young and amazing achievers,” said Parekh.
However, Parekh thanked the IBLA jury for the honour and added, "I am accepting this award on behalf of all the HDFC group companies and all the employees of HDFC for the last 40 years, past and present, who have contributed to the growth of this brand.”
Mukesh Ambani, on the other hand, gave a heartfelt speech and dedicated his award to his father. Accepting the award of the Iconic Leader of the Decade, the industrialist said, "For me, in my life, the only iconic leader has been my father Dhirubhai Ambani. He has taught us that we have to dream big. Big for Reliance, and even bigger for India. So, this evening, I would like to dedicate this recognition to my father, Shri Dhirubhai Ambani. And, together with him, to the young leaders of Reliance..."
However, the most touching moment of the evening was when late Arun Jaitley's wife Sangeeta Jaitley took to the stage to collect the Hall of Fame award that Jaitley received posthumously. As the audience gave a standing ovation, a teary-eyed Sangeeta Jaitley said: “Thank you for recognising the work that my husband had done for so many years. One country, one tax was his vision for the country. It is being carried forward and I'm very happy about it."
Another big award of the evening, The State of the Year Award, went to Maharashtra. The award was received by Subhash Desai, minister for industries and mining and CM Uddhav Thackeray.
Accepting the award, Thackeray said: “First, I wasn't even aware that my own state is receiving an award. But I am happy because Maharashtra has always been, continues to be, and shall remain the number one state in this country. However, I also wish that next year, I see other states winning this award as well. Because just like Maharashtra is ours, so is our country. And if all the states of this country participate in this competition and start receiving awards, our country will become number one in the world."
Winners of the prestigious IBLA awards were adjudged by a jury steered by Aditya Puri.
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