India Travel -Amidst its own set of troubles that may even see the splitting up of the top job, American investment banking powerhouse, Goldman Sachs, on Thursday said it is holding a board meets in India for the first time as part of the larger series exploring key developing markets.
In an email response to queries sent by Business Standard, Edward Naylor, Asia director, Goldman Sachs said the meeting completes a series of trips made by the board to key developing markets. “The 12-member board, which typically holds a meeting every year outside the US, will travel to New Delhi and Mumbai this month. Directors have previously convened in China, Russia, the Middle East and Brazil,” Naylor added.
The board led by chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) Lloyd C Blankfein includes India-born Arcelor Mittal Chairman Lakshmi Mittal as one of the directors.But the Goldman top brass is clearly watching the ongoing the policy paralysis and the government's taxation policies very closely and as the perfect backdrop.The day began as early as 9 am with interactions with the cream of India Inc meeting Blankfein. From Axis Bank's Shikha Sharma to ICICI Bank and Infosys Chairman K V Kamath to Adi Godrej and Cyrus Mistry, the ideas, outlook and brainstorming session continued with the top Indian corporate thought leaders over a working lunch at the Taj Mahal Hotel as well.
“Issues like retrospective amendments and the Vodafone tax case are bothering many global investors and Goldman is no exception. They made it quite clear that these are retrograde steps, and pursuing them may have a negative impact on the India outlook story,” said a CEO who attended the session. Reserve Bank of India Deputy Governor Subir Gokarn is also believed to have attended the day-long meeting. Taj Mahal Hotel is the base for the entire Goldman team, as many of the 12-member board have brought in their family and children.
So, the Goldman first wives club spent the day shopping and sightseeing while the men had thier working session and review meetings. The grand evening gala that is also planned at the same venue "is expected to be less formal". But the guest list again is be;lieved to be strictly by invitation. It includes Mukesh Ambani, Kumar Birla, Prashant Ruia, and Godrej among others. The guest list is truly exhaustive. Noel Tata, Uday Kotak, Keki Mistry, Nitin Paranjpe, Swati Piramal, Gautam Singhania, Rahul Bajaj, GMR's Subba Rao, Infosys CFO Shibulal also attended the evening dinner.
"Many of the top corporates or CEOs are Goldman clients. So an evening dinner is expected to be more social and broad base," said a person aware of the schedule.From tomorrow, the action will move to Delhi where the board meeting will actually take place. Goldman Sachs, the fifth-biggest US bank by assets, has climbed 40 per cent in New York Stock Exchange composite trading this year after dropping 46 per cent in 2011, its worst year for profit since 2008. The average estimate of 28 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg is for earnings per share to more than double to $11.45 this year from last year’s $4.51 a share.
The 12-member board’s meeting comes two weeks after former derivatives salesman Greg Smith wrote an opinion piece in the New York Times that blamed Blankfein and President Gary D Cohn, both members of the board, for presiding over deterioration in the firm’s culture. Blankfein and Cohn said most employees disagree with Smith’s assertion that the firm rips off clients in pursuit of profit and said they would investigate his claims.