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Rao Elected Chairman of TiE Global Board
HILTON WORLDWIDE: 19 Hotels in India
WALMART: Healthier Food

Rao Elected Chairman of TiE Global Board

Ashok Rao

The TiE Global Board of Trustees has elected Ashok Rao as its chairman for a two-year term starting January 1, 2011. Rao replaces Arjun Malhotra. Rao is the former president of TiE Houston and has served on the Global Board of Trustees since January 2009.

A successful serial entrepreneur, Rao is currently on his fifth technology start up, as Chairman and CEO of Inlogy Inc., developing cutting edge software solutions for large enterprises, using state-of-the-art artificial intelligence, contextual search and sense-making. Rao founded Trex Communications Corp. in December 1997 and grew it to $70 million in two years before selling it to L3 Communication in early 2000. Prior to that, Rao was the president of the North American operations of Enron Corp.

After several years in the telecommunications world, Rao founded Excalibur Pictures and produced three full-length Hollywood feature films. His first film, “My Bollywood Bride,” was released worldwide in theaters in July 2007. His second, “The Whisperers” won awards for best picture in the thriller category and best edit in the overall category at the Worldfest International Film Festival in 2008. “Before the Rains” was released in the summer of 2008 received a nationwide theatrical release in the United States.

Rao has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the IIT Delhi, a master’s degree from Marquette University, and a diploma in financial management from the London School of Economics. He has been a guest lecturer at Rice University and a trustee at Franklin Pierce University.

On becoming the new chairman of TiE Global, Rao said, “I am grateful for this honor bestowed on me by my fellow trustees. With the support of chapter leadership, charter members in 56 chapters, and the trustees, I will strive to enable the chapters to take TiE to its fullest potential.”


HILTON WORLDWIDE: 19 Hotels in India

Hilton Worldwide is planning to develop 19 hotels in the next five years, of which six will begin operations in 2011, a top company executive has said.

"We are currently looking at 19 hotels in India that are in various stages of development and spread across the country in a mix of tier I, II and III cities," Hilton Worldwide president of Asia-Pacific region Martin Rinck said.

These will have approximately 3,000 rooms covering the luxury, full-and focused-service offerings in the next 4-5 years, he said. The U.S.-based group is expecting to launch operations of six properties during 2011, with around 1,000 rooms, Rinck said.

"Our new openings consist of four Hilton hotels , one Doubletree by Hilton, one Hilton Garden Inn and one Hampton by Hilton. This effectively means that we will more than double our trading estate during this calendar year."

At present, Hilton Worldwide manages three properties in India, Hilton Garden Inn, Hilton New Delhi and the newly added Hilton Mumbai International Airport. He said India's growing hospitality sector provides huge opportunity and there is still tremendous room for the entry of new brands to penetrate and grow exponentially in one of the world's fastest-growing major economies.

Talking about global expansion, he said the Hilton Worldwide plans to add more than 130,000 rooms. In Asia Pacific, the company is bullish on opportunities in India and China.

"China is our top international development market followed by India. The Hilton brand has had a presence in Shanghai and Beijing for many years and we now have 17 trading hotels under four brands, with more than 60 properties in the pipeline," he said.


WALMART: Healthier Food

Walmart has unveiled a comprehensive effort to provide its customers with healthier and more affordable food choices. The company was joined by First Lady Michelle Obama as it outlined the five key elements of the program including:

Reformulating thousands of everyday packaged food items by 2015 by reducing sodium 25 percent and added sugars 10 percent, and by removing all remaining industrially produced trans fats. The company will work with suppliers to improve the nutritional quality of national food brands and its Great Value private brand in key product categories to complete the reformulations;

Making healthier choices more affordable, saving customers approximately $1 billion per year on fresh fruits and vegetables through a variety of sourcing, pricing, and transportation and logistics initiatives that will drive unnecessary costs out of the supply chain. Walmart will also dramatically reduce or eliminate the price premium on key “better-for-you” items, such as reduced sodium, sugar or fat products;

Developing strong criteria for a simple front-of-package seal that will help consumers instantly identify truly healthier food options such as whole grain cereal, whole wheat pasta or unsweetened canned fruit;

Providing solutions to address food deserts by building stores in underserved communities that are in need of fresh and affordable groceries; and

Increasing charitable support for nutrition programs that help educate consumers about healthier food solutions and choices.

“No family should have to choose between food that is healthier for them and food they can afford,” said Bill Simon, president and CEO of Walmart U.S. “With more than 140 million customer visits each week, Walmart is uniquely positioned to make a difference by making food healthier and more affordable to everyone. We are committed to working with suppliers, government and non-governmental organizations to provide solutions that help Americans eat healthier and live a better life.”



Reliance group chairman Mukesh Ambani missed two key events he was to address here with inclement weather playing spoilsport on the opening day of the World Economic Forum on January 25.

With 39 heads of state and CEOs of several top companies here to attend the annual jamboree, Ambani is busy meeting them, said his aides. When he found time, he stepped into the adda, the hub of India’s presence in Davos , to not just have samosas — his lunch, he said — but also meet the likes of commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma.

Ambani is not the only one networking hard at WEF, which has some 2,500 participants . There are over 100 Indian CEOs, who have spent anywhere between $50,000 (over Rs 22 lakh) and $1 million (Rs 4.5 crore) to attend the event. And, the tab does not include boarding and lodging charges for them and their executives, which could be upwards of $500 a day.

If you are a strategic partner, you could be spending $1 million a year, which includes participation at not just the annual meet here but also other events around the world. Companies are allowed to send four executives along with their spouses. Every additional participant from the firm has to spend around $25,000.

For an individual, the tab, including membership and partnership fee, is around $50,000, said participants. These members are also allowed to get an associate along.

Participants say by opting for a high fee, WEF ensures that only the elite gather here.



Click here to read the Current Issue in PDF Format

India Honors Diaspora: Pravasi Bharatiya Divas
president Ashok Gupta joined 2,000 expatriate Indians to celebrate the 2011 Pravasi Bharatiya Divas in New Delhi.

Cancer Chronicler:
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A Siliconeer report.

Peace through Music:
Unity Jam 2011
Abraham’s Vision and the Samina and Salman Global Wellness Initiative’s “Unity Jam 2011” concert drew a diverse crowd at a music jam that promoted kinship between people of all faiths, writes Ras H. Siddiqui.

EDITORIAL: Pravasi Divas
SUBCONTINENT: India's Indigenous Fighter Jet
PHOTO ESSAY: India's Republic Day Celebrations: Washington, D.C. and San Francisco, CA
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SUBCONTINENT: Scrapping Big Bills
RECIPE: Veggie Thai Crunch Salad
BOLLYWOOD Film Review: Dhobi Ghat
TAMIL CINEMA: Review: Kavalan
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