British Prime Minister David Cameron courted his country’s colonial jewel on Monday with an address to the employees of Unilever, as he moved to charm an emerging high-growth economy of one billion people.
Some of the Anglo-Dutch group’s most talented managers are from India and now hold global leadership positions.
Cameron kicked off his three-day visit to India with a visit to the Hindustan Unilever (HUL) headquarters in Mumbai. Dressed in a black business suit to suit the occasion, Cameron addressed about 200 HUL employees who were at their casual best.
“It is great to come to Unilever as it’s a terrific example of a successful partnership between the two countries. It is a very good place to start,” said Cameron.
HUL had stuck on in India despite tough policies that dissuaded multinationals in the 1970s, and is now arguably India’s biggest listed consumer goods company.
At his eloquent best and to the point, the youthful, fast-talking Cameron grabbed the microphone and moved around while addressing the crowd in a corporate courtyard as employees of HUL listened intently.
The two countries, he said, enjoy a ‘special relationship’ -- a term in the past reserved for Britain’s ties with Big Brother US -- but it is a relationship undergoing profound change.
“India is going to be a leading nation in this century. Sky is the limit for the relationship between Britain and India,” he said.
Cameron’s delegation includes executives from Bae Systems, Cobra Beer, Debenhams, Delloite and Serco.