India’s growing economy is attracting leaders of global companies to hold their annual board meetings in India. After beverages and snacks major PepsiCo and global FMCG giant Unilever, global banking giant Goldman Sachs group’s board met in Mumbai on Thursday, for the first time ever in India.
These meetings are viewed as a nod to India’s growing importance as Goldman and other banks are increasingly looking overseas for business to offset a slowdown at home.
PepsiCo board met in India in 2009 while Unilevers’ board had met in 2003."It signifies the increasing importance of India’s economy for global firms," said Avinash Gupta, head, financial advisory, Deloitte. "Through these meetings global leaders want to get the pulse of Indian economy."
A week before the meeting, Goldman Sachs raised its outlook for India’s equity market to neutral, or market weight, from the equivalent of a sell rating.
According to Goldman Sachs forecasts India’s economic growth may accelerate to 7.2 % in the fiscal year 2012-13, which is comparatively higher when the global economy is facing uncertainty.
Lloyd Blankfein, chairman and chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs, the fifth-biggest US bank by assets, is leading a three-day meeting in Mumbai and New Delhi.
The 12-member board’s meeting comes two weeks after former derivatives salesman Greg Smith wrote an opinion piece in the New York Times, which blamed Blankfein and president Gary Cohn, both members of the board, for presiding over a deterioration in the firm’s culture.
The only member of Goldman Sachs’s board from a BRIC country is Indian-born Lakshmi Mittal, the 61-year-old chief executive officer of Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal, the world’s biggest steelmaker.
Goldman Sachs climbed 40% in the New York Stock Exchange composite trading this year after dropping 46% in 2011, its worst year for profit since 2008.