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BW Businessworld

Bidding Adieu

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Dear Readers,

The last five years may have been among the worst for the Indian economy, but it was an extremely interesting and rewarding time to be the editor of BW | Businessworld. That is why saying goodbye is such a difficult task. But this is my last letter as editor of Businessworld as I prepare to move on to a new assignment.

I took over as editor of the magazine in 2009, even as businesses worldwide were settling into an era of prolonged slow or no growth. For most Indian businessmen, it was particularly hard to believe that the India story was over — at least temporarily. For much of 2008, many had held on the hope that Indian businesses would remain relatively immune to the global economic crisis. Unfortunately, the government of the day was prey to the same illusion. As the UPA II government blundered and dithered in its response to the global financial slowdown, the Indian economic story came crashing down. And it was an interesting time to edit a business publication because it allowed me to observe at close quarters the responses of both senior government officials as well as business leaders to the altered economic environment.

Between 2001 and 2008, most corporate leaders in the country had only witnessed good times. Despite the first dotcom crash, the overall India story had remained unchanged. The business cycle for the first three quarters of the decade consisted of good times — and better times. Unfortunately, all that changed with the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy in end-2008. A great many Indian businesses did not do too well when the crisis struck. Profits turned to losses overnight, and debt taken during good times to expand the business became a millstone around the necks of many corporate houses.
But there were plenty of exceptions as well — farsighted leaders who called the slowdown correctly and had started taking steps to prepare their organisations for the new times. Many of these businessmen kept growing at a scorching pace, often picking up weaker rivals who were floundering.

Businessworld chronicled both the businessmen who were blindsided by the slowdown as well as those who weathered the crash. It also captured the changing technology trends that were completely revolutionising entire markets and creating new ones. We reported on the App economy, the rise of Cloud Computing, the Big Data revolution and the social media revolution. We also spotted and highlighted business threats — from the rising labour unrest to the decline of Nokia.
I was fortunate to gather a team of wonderful reporters, editors, photo editors and designers. Together the team won every reporting competition it entered in 2013. The media business itself was changing and I felt that the news weekly format was no longer as relevant as it had been in 1999, when it had been originally conceived and implemented. Businessworld turned fortnightly in February 2013, and you, dear readers, responded very favourably to the changes in the magazine.

Now, a little over a year after Businessworld turned a fortnightly, I am moving on to another assignment. My long-time colleague and currently executive editor of the magazine Rajeev Dubey will take charge as editor from the next issue.

(This story was published in BW | Businessworld Issue Dated 25-08-2014)