For the Students of Hindu Vedic Astrology by Dr. A. Shanker

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The Professional

Watch Shanker Adawal at his desk and perhaps the first thing one would notice is his grit, his determination and his reticent demeanor. Nothing wavers his fortitude, not the loudest of detractors, not the belligerence of a thorny situation, not the magnitude of a colossal project, not even the paucity of time. As a professional he does not wait for conclusions, he concludes before the beginning - the job has to be done. Well. On time. And with utmost dedication.

Perhaps that is why deadlines do not daunt Shanker. “Deadlines amuse me,” says the corporate professional who has worked in prestigious companies like DCM, Modi Xerox, Tatas, Nortel and Reliance Industries. Deadlines amused him when he started as a professional in DCM’s branch office in Lucknow in 1978; they continue to do so 30 years later as he lords over as President, Corporate Affairs, Reliance Industries.

The son of a bureaucrat father and an educationist mother, Shanker did his Ph.D in Economics, later adding a Management in Business Administration degree from Delhi University with major in Marketing Management and honed his technical skills by learning various software languages in Singapore.

DCM Data Products (1978-1981)

The unassuming Cancerian’s first job at DCM Data Products entailed selling computers and calculators; the beginnings also included training. So well did Shanker fit into the groove and so green did the spreadsheet read that his training and confirmation period were reduced by six months. In two years, he notched up four promotions.

Larsen & Tubro (1981-1986)

Excellence and pats would follow Shanker to the premises of Larsen & Tubro where he handled national accounts and during the 5-year stint was adjudged the youngest achiever to meet targets before the deadline.

Modi Xerox (1987-1989)

Shanker joined Modi Xerox in 1987, the year reprographics was creating incessant buzz as the latest concept. He topped sales in the first year and hurried up the ladder as National Accounts Manager and Branch Manager.

Tatas (1989-1993)
Just when the Indian economy opened its doors to liberalization, Shanker found himself in Nelco, a company then headed by Mr Ratan Tata. The job was challenging; Shanker was entrusted with turning around the fate of Nelco. Shanker effectively introduced the C-Dot technology to the industry and clinched some major government accounts. Orders started pouring in and the coffers of Nelco jingled with what seemed an impossible Rs 100 crores a year.

That was not the only feather in his cap, though. As part of Tata Services, he was instrumental in forging an alliance with Bell Canada and the foray of Tata Bell Canada’s into the GSM business. The company’s internal policies threw spanners in the project, but that did not deter Shanker. He struck a deal with Teleglobe of Canada and the credit of selling the first Public Switching Data Network to Department of Telecom goes to Shanker. Later, he was also involved in the taking over of Teleglobe’s Data Division by the Tatas.

Nortel (1993-1997)

Starting Nortel’s liaison office was the first of the achievements in Shanker’s four-year stint in the company. Starting the company’s enterprise network division was next on agenda, followed by relentless efforts in the fields of coordination, business development and public relations with Nortel offices in Singapore, the UK and the USA. He was strategically involved with various service providers who wanted to enter the country and interacted at the highest level with various industrial houses like Essar, Bharti, BPL, Hughes etc. for sale of equipment and financing.

At Nortel he forged alliance with Global Tele-system for the enterprise division that shot up to an annual turnover of Rs 100 crore and also saw through a tripartite arrangement with GE Global and EDC of Canada to set up the First Electric Mail Business in India.

The job entailed extensive travel through Europe, the US and Asia to attend seminars, workshops and business meetings. The frequent flier miles gave Shanker a global perspective of the industry and economy.

All this was topped with four promotions in four years; he had joined Nortel as a manager and when he walked out of the door, he was the Director, Business Development and Enterprise Network. Ten years on, no one has been able to match that feat.

Reliance Industries (1997-now)

Shanker’s major task at RIL has always been liaison with the government and the industry environment while continuously adding market knowledge to facilitate the company’s business in all spheres. Another area of thrust has been to undertake proactive initiatives to facilitate all regulatory compliances critical to run the projects on pan-India basis.

The highlights have been setting up a single-point corporate management of critical ministries like Petroleum, Commerce, Industry, Coal, Power, Finance, Telecom and Environment and support system to execute all statutory approvals required by the ongoing .projects. He is remembered for executing huge projects and creating a regulatory backbone which gave birth and shape to various projects.

Presently working on the aspects with the higher education sectors which is in the process of being deregulated by the Indian Government.

Shanker’s rapport in the corridors of government organizations, and Industry Chambers have positioned and benefited RIL immensely.

For Shanker, the journey continues… The way it began. With utmost dedication. And yes, deadlines still amuse him. And conclusions still walk in with the beginnings.

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