Triple identity gave me unique Advantage, says Lord Gadhiaby Opinion Express April 1, 2017 0 comments
Lord Gadhia is a British Citizen of Indian origin, born in Uganda and raised in the UK. His family came to Britain during the expulsion of 50,000+ Asians from Uganda in 1972. He was educated at Cambridge University and also the London Business School.
He is an investment banker and has worked with major banks like Barings, ABN AMRO and Barclays before joining Blackstone as a Senior Managing Director, and is an expert on BRIC economies. In April 2016, Lord Gadhia was appointed by HM treasury to the Board of UK Government Investments (UKGI), which brings together UKFI and all the other assets owned by the UK Government under one umbrella holding company becoming the Government’s center of excellence in corporate finance and corporate governance. Following are the excerpts from an interaction with Lord Gadhia
What is your current position?
I now have, what is euphemistically called, a “plural” career. I thought this would give me greater flexibility and a better work-life balance, but I am busier now than ever, particularly given my recent appointment to the House of Lords.
On the private side, I am a Director of BGL Group, which owns comparethemarket.com. I also advise Intas Pharmaceuticals, a global generic pharmaceutical company headquartered in India which has just made the largest investment by an Indian company in UK, post-Brexit, of over £600 million.
You have had an extraordinary journey from your birth country to your home now in the UK. Can you tell us a bit about your toughest challenges, your proudest achievements and of course, your incredible success as a businessman, and now also within the political arena?
It has been quite a journey from a village in Gujarat to the suburbs of London via the hills of Kampala. Having a triple identity Indian origin, born in Uganda and raised in Britain might seem challenging for many but I see it as a unique advantage. the beauty of wearing “three hats” – either separately or all at the same time is that you don’t feel confined to any one culture and you can transcend them all.
As a young banker, I lived through the collapse of Barings in 1995. It was a “Black Swan” moment for all of us working at Barings and, indeed, the City fraternity more widely. We eventually came through this difficultly but the whole episode taught me to “expect the unexpected” and this has helped me develop a sense of perspective about similar events.
Who/What inspires you?
I am most inspired by people who have been successful and yet retained their authenticity. Whether it’s an investor like Warren Buffet in US, an entrepreneur like Sir James Dyson in UK or a politician like PM Narendra Modi in India. they all have a gift for articulating a powerful vision and at the same time they also demonstrably “walk the talk”.
Who has been the biggest influence in your career to date?
It is difficult to point to a single individual but I would say that the quality of experience which I gained working at Barings in the corporate finance team during the 1990s has been an British Indians were promised during the EU referendum that being outside the EU would enable more talented people, including Indian students and professionals to come to the UK. I believe this promise needs to be honoured.
The Prime Minister considers you as a leading expert on UK Indian Diaspora relations, can you share with us your thoughts on the special bonds between the two nations and how this will develop over the coming decades?
It is no exaggeration to say that the next decade for Britain will be dominated by Brexit and therefore the bilateral relationship with India will be framed in this context. It is a defining moment in British history as we grapple with these new realities. We stand at a crossroads for the UK and its future relationship with the rest of the world. In this context, I hope that India will view us as: “a friend in need is a friend indeed” and recognize both the necessities and opportunities opened up by our departure from the European Union.
We also need to constantly work on the relationship and can’t be complacent. A respected Indian business man described the UK-India relationship to me as being like a long married couple. We are so familiar with each other that it is easy to take each other for granted and sometimes we need to find a new spark to revive the relationship. I hope some of us can encourage those new sparks.
Your faith is very important to you; can you tell us how it has helped you in your life?
Being anchored in a set of time less values provides you with a sense of perspective and balance. I believe that both Dharma (right conduct) and Karma (you reap what you sow) are also good ways to approach other aspects of your life be they personal or business relationships.
As a result, you shouldn’t seek to be “somebody” but achieve “something”. If you do your duty, then everything else will fall into place. In the political world this philosophy is sometimes considered as naïve. But we need to change that mindset and encourage more people to get on with doing the right thing.
BY kapil Dudakia