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Games CEOs play

Games CEOs play
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First Published: Mon, Dec 17 2007. 09 32 AM IST

Updated: Wed, Dec 19 2007. 02 52 PM IST
Pradeep Gupta, 52
Chairman, Cyber Media Group, New Delhi
Pradeep Gupta, the 52-year-old chairman of the Cyber Media Group, is one of those lucky people who are naturally calm and collected. An engineer from IIT Delhi and MBA from IIM Calcutta, this angel investor is a keen observer of developments in information technology. Gupta ascribes his success to his philosophy, “remain ahead of your time”. On the health front, he relies more on the power of mental exercises than physical exertion.
Responsibilities: Chairman of the Cyber Media Group, South Asia’s largest speciality media house; chairman of PanIIT India and a member of the IIT Delhi Advisory Council; board member of Kaleidoscope Entertainment; The Indus Entrepreneurs, New Delhi; member, executive committee of the Indian Newspaper Society; vice-president, Association of Indian Magazines; chairman, IT Committee, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry; and management committee of Band of Angels.
A typical workday: He wakes up at 8am, leaves for work by 9am, works between 10am and 7pm, comes back home by 8.30pm and sleeps at 2am. About 90 hours a week are devoted to work.
Social engagements: Generally two-three times a week. During festivals or the wedding season, it could be as many as five.
Pradeep Gupta. (Madhu Kapparath/Mint)
Typical diet: “A king’s breakfast, a pauper’s lunch and a queen’s dinner. I start the day with a hearty breakfast comprising sprouts, nuts, ‘murmura’ (rice puffs), bread with butter and jam, fruits and a glass of milk. I completely skip lunch (have about three cups of tea during the day). I have a regular north Indian dinner (paratha, dal, sabzi, curd, papad) around 8.30pm. I am a vegetarian.”
Alcohol/cigarettes: In moderation.
Fitness regime: “I don’t exercise at all. I guess I don’t need to because I control my diet quite strictly. I don’t have a sweet tooth, so it’s easy to say no to desserts. I keep myself mentally alert by doing a lot of crosswords and Sudoku.”
How to keep cool: “I do transcendental meditation occasionally. I am generally calm and cool. I take power naps while commuting.”
Time off work: At least two breaks a year.
Good health practices he has introduced at the workplace: Health checks are mandatory. Cafetaria menus are supervised. Art of Living programmes have been organized in Bangalore and New Delhi. There are also ongoing activities such as quizzes.
Personal health goals: “I try to maintain my weight between 70kg and 75kg.”
A special mantra: “Be cool, stay calm.”
Key takeaways: Controlled diet, power naps and staying calm.
Vishal Bali, 39
CEO, Wockhardt Hospitals Group, Bangalore
Vishal Bali. (Hemant Mishra/Mint)
Vishal Bali is part of an industry which is seeing hectic growth. The livewire chief executive officer (CEO) of Wockhardt Hospitals, who is travelling almost 15 days a month, is an active participant in shaping the growth of the health-care sector in India.
Responsibilities : Bali drives the corporate strategy, value growth and expansion of the Wockhardt Hospitals chain at various locations in India and strengthens the international presence of the group hospitals. Besides being a member of the board of Wockhardt Hospitals, he also serves on the advisory board of Harvard Medical International and is chairman of the CII Young Indians National Healthcare Committee.
A typical workday: 12 hours.
Social engagements : Tries to limit it to weekends.
Typical diet: “Thanks to my wife, my diet has undergone a positive change. Earlier the non-vegetarian content was high. I now have compulsory helpings of salad, more carbohydrates and lentils, besides yoghurt. I am also made to eat oats for breakfast.”
Alcohol/cigarettes: Neither.
Fitness regime:“I try and hit the treadmill and cross-trainer for at least an hour three times a week.”
How to keep cool: “Over the years I have realized that anger is not the way to solve a problem. I try to take measured decisions. The best stress buster for me is to tuck my six-year-old into bed and read him a bedtime story. Nothing else matches that experience.”
Time off work: “We go on a family vacation once a year and try to do a long weekend break twice or thrice a year.”
Good health practices he has introduced at the workplace: “The health-care delivery environment is in itself a reality check. The thought that keeps getting reinforced is that good health is a real blessing. So our people don’t need incentives to work at staying healthy, the environment makes sure they do it.”
Personal health goals: “One of my most desired health goals is to eat at the right time. This is erratic right now due to work pressure. I know it is critical for good health. I am working towards it and hopefully will meet the challenge.”
A special health mantra:“Indoor and outdoor sports learnt early in life have not only helped me stay physically fit, it has also helped me evolve as a better team member in my work life. Sometimes you play alone and challenge yourself but mostly you play with your team to create success.”
Key takeaways: Lot of vegetables in the diet, regular exercise, an interest in sports inculcated from childhood.
Bharat Patel, 63
Chairman, Procter & Gamble Hygiene & Healthcare Ltd
Bharat Patel (Ashesh Shah/Mint)
The cheerful chairman of P&G disarmingly says that he should be the last person to give health tips since he is overweight and has a heart ailment. But he hasn’t slowed down a whit since 1994, when a blockage in one of his arteries was detected. In addition to his own company, he chairs various industry committees and finds time to devote to two of his alma maters—he is a board member of The Scindia School, Gwalior, and active on the alumni body of the University of Michigan. For Patel, golf is a major stress buster, almost like meditation. The cricket-crazy Patel (he was wicketkeeper-captain of his school team and even led P&G on the pitch) switched to golf rather late, when he was in his late 40s. But now he is such an addict that he can be spotted on the course even on some weekdays before he starts work.
Responsibilities : Chairman, Procter & Gamble Hygiene & Healthcare Ltd, the Brand Protection Committee and the Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) Committee of Ficci, the OTC (Over the Counter) Committee of the Organisation of Pharmaceutical Producers of India (OPPI), and chairman of the University of Michigan India Alumni Association.
A typical workday: 8-9 hrs.
Social engagements: Three times a week on average
Typical diet: Basically DBRS (for dal, ‘bhat’, ‘rotli’, ‘shak’ in Gujarati) plus non-vegetarian food on some days.
Alcohol/cigarettes: He doesn’t smoke, but enjoys a drink.
Fitness regime: Patel goes swimming and also works out at a gym near his house.
Regularly plays: Golf.
Time off work: At least three-four times, this includes visiting his family home in Baroda.
Good health practices he has introduced at his workplace: P&G has a gym. Many managers go around with step counters to measure the number of steps walked a day. The canteen even has a special ‘health lunch’.
Personal health goals : He says he still needs to lose 8-10kg, though he tries to stay off sweets/desserts. Patel, however, ensures that his cholesterol level is under control through a combination of exercise, medication and red wine.
A special mantra: “I live by the motto—have fun.”
Key takeaways: Red wine in the diet, golf for mental relaxation, cardiovascular exercises for physical fitness, a breezy attitude to life, and taking rejuvenating breaks—at least three—every year.
K.V.S. Manian, 46
CEO, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Mumbai
K.V.S. Manian (Ashesh Shah/Mint)
“Don’t take yourself too seriously,” is K.V.S. Manian’s attitude to work and life. His tips for investing in good health are these: Spend less time at the dining table, never slack off and seize time during travel for power naps.
Responsibilities: These include overseeing branch banking, direct banking and third-party distribution
A typical workday: 10-12 hours.
Social engagements: One or two a week.
A typical diet: “I have consciously restricted intake of very oily stuff and sweets. I prefer food that’s not too spicy, with lots of greens. If given a choice, I would prefer dal and rice or a plate of fruit to a buffet.”
Alcohol/cigarettes: “I do smoke. But am a very occasional drinker.”
Fitness regime: “I eat healthy and sleep well. I generally have an active day—I try and push myself to get the most out of the day. Other than that, I do not indulge in any specific physical activity.”
How to keep cool: “Stress is a state of mind and it is important to do things you enjoy. My daily prayers take about 20 minutes. Music is a great stress buster. I find old Hindi songs, ghazals, and Carnatic music soothing. When I am angry or in a retaliatory mood, I count to three or defer it. The mood normally passes. My children have taught me patience”.
Time off work: “Two breaks, a longish one for 15 days, another for about a week. Apart from this, I take two-three days weekend breaks at least four-five times a year”.
Good health practices he has introduced at his workplace: “We have stress management workshops, yoga classes, health check-ups and counselling. Recently we introduced a programme called Fun Connect where we encourage employees to take a break every day in the evening to play simple games. I wish we could have a gym in the office, but with our dispersed offices and real estate prices, it has not been possible so far”.
Personal health goals: “My cholesterol level is borderline but it has remained in control. My weight has remained 62-64kg for the past 20 years. Now I am planning to take up golf.”
A special health mantra:“I think good and controlled food habits are critical. I am able to get sound sleep. Even six hours of uninterrupted sleep keeps me charged up throughout the day. When I am travelling or have some time between my busy schedules, I catch up on sleep by taking power naps. It refreshes me completely.”
Key takeaways: Controlled food habits, regular breaks, the refreshing power of sleep and music.
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First Published: Mon, Dec 17 2007. 09 32 AM IST