Deputy MD is the only In­dian to stick with the Korean co since its en­try in ’95

The Economic Times - - Business Of Brands - WRITANKAR MUKHER­JEE

At 59, Sam­sung In­dia deputy man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Ravin­der Zut­shi is still the South Korean gi­ant’s man Fri­day in In­dia. Right from han­dling a re­cent cri­sis when the com­pany’s global chair­man Lee Kun-hee got a court sum­mons in In­dia and li­ais­ing with the govern­ment to man­ag­ing dis­grun­tled deal­ers, it was Zut­shi who swung into ac­tion with the full con­fi­dence of Sam­sung head­quar­ters. Zut­shi is the only In­dian ex­ec­u­tive re­main­ing at Sam­sung from the ini­tial batch re­cruited by the com­pany when it en­tered the coun­try in 1995. He is also the long­est-serv­ing In­dian ex­ec­u­tive in the lo­cal op­er­a­tions of the two Korean ma­jors, Sam­sung and LG, which to­gether con­trol more than 60% of the .` 40,000 crore In­dian mar­ket. Zut­shi’s par­al­lel in LG In­dia was YV Verma. One of the first three em­ploy­ees LG hired in In­dia, Verma quit last year. The suc­cess of Zut­shi comes against the back­drop of a spate of ex­its of sea­soned In­dian ex­ec­u­tives at both Korean com­pa­nies. The lat­est to put in his pa­pers at Sam­sung was Vi­neet Taneja, its coun­try head for mo­bile phones and dig­i­tal imag­ing busi­ness who quit early this month. Most of the In­dian ex­ec­u­tives have suc­cumbed to the Korean man­age­ment style: sales tar­gets that are sacro­sanct and shadow man­age­ment, whereby ev­ery In­dian ex­ec­u­tive in a se­nior role would have an ex­pat in a sim­i­lar role be­hind the scene to make crit­i­cal de­ci­sions. The In­dian ex­ec­u­tive ef­fec­tively be­comes an im­ple­menter, with strict tar­gets. Sam­sung In­dia didn’t re­spond to ques­tions ad­dressed to Zut­shi. “Zut­shi is sit­ting as a sym­bol of sur­vival,” said LG In­dia’s for­mer man­ag­ing di­rec­tor KR Kim, one of the most suc­cess­ful Korean ex­pats in the In­dian white goods in­dus­try. “There are two crit­i­cal as­pects — there is a need for proper co­or­di­na­tion with head­quar­ters which may be best done by Kore­ans, and In­dian ex­ec­u­tives are still crit­i­cal for im­ple­men­ta­tion. It is here Zut­shi is also a sym­bol of In­dian man­age­ment in­volve­ment,” said Kim, who had given com­plete au­ton­omy to In­dian ex­ec­u­tives. Zut­shi has been a durable vet­eran, hav­ing worked with Philips and Video­con be­fore join­ing Sam­sung In­dia as deputy GM for sales and mar­ket­ing. He built Sam­sung’s sales and dis­tri­bu­tion chan­nel across busi-

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