JA N. - MAR.
IND I '"
Rs . 125
AED 2 5
arl Schurz believed that "ld~als are I!ke stars: you will not succeed In touching them with your hands. But like the seafaring man on the desert of waters, Y?Y,l.. choose them as your guides . and follow ing them .. . vou will reach your destiny." Here is one man'who every young Indian would love to choose as his or her ideal. He's a wi nncr with a story . .. of'achieving beyond aspirailons ... of exceeding personal expectations .. .of rising way above limitations! His is the success saga that is weaved through the most resplendent threads of extraordinary human intelligence ; prolific ambition ; dedication to dreams and beyond. Dr Shan Nair is an enormously su~cessful research scientist in the UK nuclear industry; a path-breaking engineer; an except ioual ly intel ligent and efficient entrepreneur and a truly refined human being. He is indeed the perfect role model I ideal. .. whatever one may call him for the millions of young Indians waiting to define their destiny and fulfilling their dreams. He befits the example of a modem day achiever... who cannot restrict his achievements to just one domain and who tests his own nerves to attain a lot more than what destiny has ordained for him. He plays the game by his own rules; is never a conformist: he's flexibIe and adaptable to change and progress; and ever remains in pursuit ofthe remarkable. Dr Shan Nair's story is thatofone such achiever, who'll never faiIto enthuse today's young generation that's so ostensibly filled with great expectations and inexhaustible ambition.
With his eyes on the stars and his feet firmlyon the ground. Dr Shan Nair has achieved a lot more than just his simple dreams. It was only yesterday when he dared to struggle and it is today.. .when he dares to win! Shun Nair didn't want to end up with a story that was only mediocre: he always aspired for something grand. Courtesy his rare intelligence and a dogged approach ... achievements beckoned him on every road that he took and he chased thcm till he made them his very own. One road ledto theother as Shan Nair tireiessly marched onwards and upwards. With a plethora of achievements and a sound reputation , he soon 'became recognizable as a role model Indian. However, this did not in any way, subdue his desire for more, And Shan Nair continued to aspire and achieve.. . In fact. he still continues to do so! His constant journey to success makes one to believe, these famous words by GeorgeBernard Shaw: "Some men see things as th; y arc and say, "Why?" I dream of things that never were and say. "Why not?" That he subscribes to these words is so evident; and his belief in them reflects best in his illustrious and vivid career. It shows in the van ous distinctions earned by the man all through his journey ... as a renowned research scientist , an invent ive engineer and a dynamic entrepreneur. With a doctorate degree In Nuclear Physics at
Oxford University, Shan Nair began his career as a research scientist in the UK nuclear industry. He was instrumental in developing a code which set the UK standard for caleulating waste arising from spent nuclear fuel, and when the Chernobyl accident occurred. Dr Nair was one or'the two UK technical experts assisting the European Commission ... of its post-accid ent response . After the privatization of the UK power generation industry in the early I990s, he retrained as an accountant within the industry. And after a short spell as a quality consultant to UK legal practices, Shan Nair set up Nair & Co. Inc. in 1994, jointly with his wife VyornaNair. Nair & Co, Inc. of which Dr Shan Nair is the Co足 Founder & President; provides businesses with an integrated solution in the HR, finance, tax, compliance and legal ar enas. It works toward s making a company's move overseas less ri sky, stress free and more strategic. Headquartered in the United Kingdom, it now has 700+ c l ie n t op erations in 40 countries with considerable presence in the U.S. It has offices in California, Florida, Mas sachusetts , and North Carolina . Shan Nair is responsibl e for the Overall developm ent of the Group, its policies, strategies and goals, and has driven the company's strong focus on using IT to leverage business advantage.
"l wanted to continue towards a PhD at Oxford, my interests being in nuclear Physics and Astro Physics."
YOUNG BOY NAIR!
But Shan Nair's journey is more fascinating when you picture it from the very start. His progression and growth have been commendable all along; and the choices he made have ensured to place him in a highly venerab Ie position today. As a young teenager, Dr Nair was always interested in physics . So, he enrolled in the prestigious Ox ford University to do a Physics undergraduate. "I wanted (0 continue towards a PhD at Oxford," he tells you. "my interests being in nuclear Physics and Astra Physics ." BUI because Nair was an Indian citizen at that time, he did not qualify [or any U.K grants to do the PhD. "There was however," he further narrates, "this one grant offered by the U.K. Atomic Energy Authority in conjunction with Oxford University for PhD on a particular topic relating to nuclear physics ." He continues, "There were about a lot ofnon U.K. candidates applying for it, I was lucky enough to get it," says Nair. However, there were challenges strewn on his path and the first was that in research 99% of it is less exciting stuff and only I% is really brilliant mental thinking or NRI ACHIEVERS
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"T his sounds a bit exotic but it's a particular mathematical problem that required a solution and that was actually the best aspect of doing that code. That's where I got excited. "
original work. So , the challenge before Nair was to actually ge t thro ugh to the 1%. " When you an aly ze the da ta and start interpret ing it that's whe n a sc ie ntist's life becomes ' ,1 interesting," he shares. Besides being brill iant in his field, Nair was also a determined boy and there was nothin g stopping him from my reaching his go a I.
"The defining moment)n career as a research scientist
was the Chemobyl
"I thought to myself, why should I be staying in this organization long term. If I was not going to do original research, I thought, I might as well work for myself."
As a research scientist Dr Shan Nair soon became instrumental in developing a cod e whi ch set the U.K. standard for calculating waste aris ing from spent nuclear fuel. It was a major accomplishment which fetched him due recognition in his chosen field . Today, when he looks back, he says, " Mathema t ica lly, th e major achievement was the discovery ofa new approach to solv ing a set 0 f coupled d i f fe re n t i a l equation s , invol v ing rate constants that vari ed from fractions of a se co nd to thousand s to years.,. "The co nventio nal num erical analysis techniques," explains Nair. "didn't work an ymore because you have to integrate these eq ua tions numerically on a computer over mi llions o f yea rs but you are g o ing forward a million years at a few seconds, at a time . It uses up a lot of computational time," he says. According to Dr Na ir, the key here was to a find a d ifferent mathematical approach that translated into a set of numerical ana lysis techniques that were codified through a computer program a nd the probl em got sorted just like that. It cut the computing lime do wn by many orders of magnitude. "T his sounds a bit exo tic," he sugg ests, "bu t it's a parti cular mathematical probl em that required a solut ion and that was actuall y the best as pect o f do ing that co de. That's where I got exc ited," remarks an e lated Nair.
111e less exciting parts ho we ver, ne ver quit e elud ed him. Nai r had written the code for a research proj ect but a lot o f people picked up this code and suddenly he found , all these users interested in this code. "They wanted this change and that change ," he narrates, "and J really did not wan t to carry on working on the code because 1was not a code developer. Ijust happened to develop this code for an applic ation but a s there were many applications possible of this code, eventually, a group of people were set up under me to actually maintain this code," shares Nair. "in fact," he claims, "the whole code had 10 be rewritten because ori ginally, it was written in a tearing hurry for a research project, it was not written according to structured programming NRI ACHIEVERS
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techniques ." Shedding light on the most de fin ing mom ent of his career as a resea rch sci entist, Dr Sha n Nair says, "The defin ing mom ent in my career as a rese arch sci entist was the Ch ernobyl acc iden t." Nair was at that point head ing a group o f sc ien tists and eng inee rs who had been mod elin g nuclear acc idents fo r years and sudde nly, he had this real life acci de nt, Chemo byl. "It was a chance to actuall y set up and take all the measurements becau se the radioacti vity took time to come for Chernobyl to U.K. ," he informs. further claiming that they were able to set up the measuring instruments and validate computer model s for atmo spheric diffusement o f radioac tiv e pollutants. to test the accuracy of these models, Nair confesses. that Chcmobyl thus became the turni ng poi nt 0 fh is career.
A RARE GENIUS & MYRIAD SKILLS "To me success means effectiveness in the world, thai I am able to carry my ideas and values into the wo rld --that f am able to change it in positive ways" - M H KINGSTON. A lways dr iven by this spirit of"effectiveness," Dr Shan Nair was all con sum ed by some higher goa ls and gre ater ideas , w hen post the privat iza tion of the UK power ge neralion indu stry, he undertook some major initiatives to bring about some s ignificant changes in his professional ca reer. He recalls , "A fter the priv ati zation of the el ectricity supply industry in the early eighties under Margaret Thatche r. employees of the se to-be privatized un its ended up on two sides. Th ey could either change with the lime s or find new roles for them selves or they basically got laid off bec ause their jobs were not needed. A cornrnerc ial Iy dri ven organ izat ion," cites Nair, "does not need to do bas ic research ; it needs to do a lim ited amount o f applied research. which it cannot contract out. For me ," he reason s, "t he good side of this was that I was invo lved in a un it th a t w as lo okin g at th e de commissioning liab ilities for the co mpany." According to Shan Nair. when a nucl ear pow er stati on shuts do wn, there are a lot of bac kend cos ts . "These liabi lit ies," he cla ims, " have to be pro vision ed in the ac counts, so ," he says, " I ch aired a learn that included sc ien tists, engi neers and accountan ts." Nai r further explains that one has to unde rstand accountin g to be able to commission p roperl y, one has to understand the technology involved in decommissioning, to be able to es timate these fuel cycle costs, therefore, his. he remembers was kind of a funny unit that was a combination of the technical people and accounting people. "It is here ," says Nair, "that [ learned about accounting , and liabilities .. .came to grips with the concept of protecting an organi zation ." " I thought to myself," he reflects, "why should I be staying in tbis organization long term . ]f I was not going to do original research, f thought," states
Nair, "I might as we11 work for myself." The switch was a gutsy move; and Shan Nair braved all odds to triumph eventually. As fascinating as one may find it, even as a research scientist, Nair claims to be in sound knowledge of tile entrepreneurial spirit in hl"iri. "Because the organization [ was with," he explains, "was going through a very rapid and very extreme change, the only way to survive was to have your work supported -by other departments.' "I always made sure," claims Nair , "that the work of my group had internal customers." When the head ofthe organization that Nair was working with; looked to cut headcounts, he would not touch Nair's group because they were involved in projects, which if cutback would create problems with other departments. In a declining environment then; Nair claims to be preserving his group by having internal customers. A choicej -that kept him and his group members in good stead! The change for Shan Nair was very gradual. From being a scientist to an engineer. .. to getting internal customers, to being in-charge of the decommissioning liabilities, which inevitably meant. .. he had to learn a fair amount of accounting..,It was a fairly gradual shift," remarks Nair, as he looks back today with sheer pride. He recalls, "Once the organization had been sold off, the new company that was formed, actually looked at buying U.S. consulting firms that were nuclear consulting firms. At one point," admits Nair. "it also looked at buying 3 major U.S. utility company. A lot of the due diligence and pre颅 acquisition appraisal work was done by the group I was working with, " he conveys. Nair remembers that when he left the company, he knew more about what the cli ent should not be doing. rather than what the client should be doing .. . and this very ability proved to be more valuable in the future course. . Shedding light on the origin of Nair & Co. and his momentous plunge into a business career; Nair stales that after he left the company he was working for; it was a question of work ing out what he was going to do next. "It so happened," he recalls, "tha t there were some U.K. employees of U.S . tech companies who [ fmew needed support. WIlen [ looked at the kind of support they were getting, I realized that it was really very poor, " conveys Nair. Sharing further, Nai r cla ims, "It was set up the wrong way. U.S. offer letters had gone out insteadof U.K. offer letters, the employer had lost the rights they could have had as a U.K . employer if they had reserved them . The way theaccounting was done was appropriate to a U.K. company instead of being done as U.K . subsidiary of a foreign company, wh.ich is whatwas needed. The articles were also set up wrong," concludes Nair. Talking more about the blunders that were fatal, Nair remarks, "There were family company articles set up for what should have been 3 corporate
enterprise:' lt thus became obvious to Nair that there was a need in the market of a very fast but comprehensive so lution, covering everything that a company needs when operating overseas. "From the set up of the . company, risk protection . year-end eomp1iance, to ultimately, if there is recession or a client pulls out, a shutdown of the company etc ." there were various needs that required a comprehensive solution says Nair. The first challenge for Nair therefore, was to put the solution together because there was no single reference source from where you could get alI the answers. "There arc three leve Is:' he explains, "O ne is the time-consuming process of finding and using different sources and using your own experience to collect information. Secondly:' he says, "your clients have different types of problems like they want to ship goods or need to terminate somebody in a foreign country .. .so you adv ise the clients through a plethora of issues before you can develop the kind of know ledge b3sc needed to put together the right solution. This knowledge base needs to be ba sed on practical examples of consulting tasks you have done. and the solutions that you've worked on." "Finally," explains Nair, "once you have the turnkey for the U .K . the next challenge is to make it a fully equipped solution for Europe. The next challenge is 10 understand the very different regulatory environment of Asia and to amend this turnkey for Asia ." he says. The last big challenge according to Nair is to understand the very different and very risky environments in South America, in places like Brazil and Argentina, and to turn this so lutio n around; and work out an appropriate one offor thos e countries. Nair had understood the problems quite perceptively and he was game to meet all challenges in order to crack the solution and make it succeed. Today, his business prodigy Nair & Co. successfully protects companies overseas with an integrated solution for your HR, Finance, Tax and Legal needs. "We are exceptional in our ability to handle multiple issues across multiple countries accurately, so that our clients remain safe when expanding overseas," declares Nair.
TECHNOCRATTURNS ENTREPRENEUR.. . So, how easy was it for a research scientist to NRI ACHIEVERS
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"We are exceptional in our ability to handle multiple issues across multiple countries accurately, so that ou r clients remain safe when expanding overseas. "
crack th e fo r mula of success in th e entrepreneurial world ? Shan Na ir, who has been nam ed among lOp 50 out standing Asi an America ns in Bus iness. in 200 8; says, "There are the gro wth pains a nd challe nges of 'b g rowing company. Our probl em has not bee n actually gelling the business . The problem has been in coping wi th the amount of busin ess that' s com ing and bein g able to match.t hat w ith increasin g the staff recruitment levels, the trainin g levels and the increasing workload. " According to the diligent entr epren eur, if one ofthree goes out ofsync then there is bound to be trouble. "If more work com es in than you have the staff for," he sa ys.. . "then the se rvice levels begin 10 decline and the company can implode. r have been very careful to avoid this and in ensuring; that we keep pace with our growth. " slates Nair. For Shan Nair, there are a few key things tha t ha ve enabled him earn success and recogni tion in the world ofenterprise. He emph asizes, that first, it's about show ing integri ty in behavior. "Clients trust us imp licitly," he says, "TIley trust us with keeping them sa fe abroad, they trust us with handling their mon ey safe ly, they trust that we'll keep them compliant.. .they trust their bus iness to us. So, integrity is the most important, it's the key to Nair & Co .'s success," asserts an emphatic Na ir. Second, he inform s is Nair & Co.' s co mmitment to client care and responsi veness. Third is being detai led and accurate in the work they do. The ment ioned standards being imperative to his company's function ing, Nair says , "Many clients have told me that the reason they are using Nair & Co . is because they know that when Nair & Co. is looking after their intern ational operations, they can slee p easy at night." Undeniably, Nair & Co. has grown organically, almost exclusive ly through word足 of-mouth recommendatio ns. Shan Na ir himself has bee n managing his company's wide ranging opera tions qu ite fantastically. "T he key to this," he admits, " is not focusing on bein g on ly a clever guy yourse lf but to find c1cver people who can , in tum , recruit clever peopl e 10 help you nm the besin ess." To a large exte nt, Na ir & Co . has been success ful in this respect and this has helped them sustain the ir unpreced ented growth. The comp an y significantly grew its staff in 2008, but many of its senior exec utive tcam members have been with it since the formati ve years. "Amid the execut ives with us since prior [0 our latest recruitment , o/.th or them hav e over se ven yea rs at Nair & Co. , and still go ing strong," inform s a buoyant Nair. A good leader always leads from front and Shan Nair is unequivocally a leader par excellence. As Theodore M. Hesburgh said, "The very essence of leadership is that you have to have visio n. You can't blow an uncertain trumpet ." Sh an Nair' s grea t leadersh ip emanates from both .. . his vision
and miss ion in his busin ess care er. His vision is to get Nair & Co. to a po int where it rem a ins the recogn ized market leader in this field . "We were the first o nes in this niche and we were here long before anybody else," he claims. Havin g far mor e expe rience in help ing clients operate risk-free over seas, Nair further sa ys, "We are way ahead o f anybody else who is purporting 10 ac t in this niche. To continue being a clear cut market leader, kno wn acro ss the industry for its customer care , it's integrity and excellence in wo rk qu ali ty; as my vision.,. Nair admits to not havin g an ambitious gro wth target ofso many mill ion dollars turnover or an IPO or anything in the order. " I just want Nair & Co ." he says , "10 be kn own for the excellence of its work and the very high level of personal integrity 0 f the people who work herc."Nair & Co. is exceptional in its ability to handle multiple iss ues across multipl e countries accu rate ly so that its cl ients rem ain sa fe. "O ur mission stems from this .. ..our business help yours grow internatio na lly," assures Nair. The forte o f Shan Na ir's co mpany is to be ab le to, via one or maximum tw o people. take care
of multiple iss ues s pa nni ng HR. ta x, compliance, accounting, stock options etc. acros s multiple co unties. Th e adv ice they give is internally generat ed. They are neither a coordination point, nor are they middlemen . They deal directly with the clients a nd pro vide them an integrated so lution. Claim s Nair, "We know nearly 100% of the answers to any ofthe client que stion s bec ause we' ve been around so long , our knowledge base covers almost everything that our field of business demands. and if there is something we haven't had dire ct experience in, we are qui ck to update ourselves via our trusted so urces." "We've been there , seen it, and done that ," he adds categorically. For Shan Nair's company, the Nfli ACHIEVERS I JANUARY - MARCH 09 I 22
"Clients trust us implicitly. They trust us with keeping them safe abroad, they trust us with handling their money safely, they trust that we'1/ keep them compliant.. .they trust their business to us. So, integrity is the most important, it's the key to Nair & Co.'s success."
'1\nd though, generating thet initial momentum is not always easy, you should never take "no" for"an answer. Become extremely persistent but without offending people."
"S trive for the highest levels of success, I know the road is difficult, you will need good luck, need to be at the right place at the right time, and also need to realize it when you are actually there and use it to your advantage."
primary thing is gaining the respect and trust of its clients and this also is its biggest achi evement so far. "To hear from the clients that Nair & Co.'s work is making a differen ce : to their bottom lines, how we are actually giving them peace of mind about their oversea s operations; and they arc able to focus on their business in the U.S.... it is absolutely gratifying." confesses Shan Nair. The future plans of Nair & Co. revol ve around its growth targets and budgets for the next year: for which its management has a set of projects sales targets ju xtaposed with projected costs for t he year. They arc p lann ing towards sustaining long 颅 term growth, though obviously. the rece ssionary environment that most of the world is in today, is likel y to show some effect for them too. "But I'm moderately confident ," claims Nair sanguinely, "that the impact's going to be relatively minor for Nair & Co." Hc further expla ins , "The pr imary goal IS to get the maximum possible growth without compromising in any wayan service quality." To beat the heat of a recession phase, where everybody becomes very price sensitive. Nair & Co. has also looked OIl more efficient ways of doing things for their clients. And while its management is actively working at someway at improving the company's efficiency, it is also looking at the possibility of opening a second operational center in India in a lower-cost location than Mumbai, where their current operations are based . "We are carrying out what we can, while refusing to reduce the service quality and accuracy of our work. These two principles override everything else." suggests Shan Nair. Some other things that Shan Nair would like 10 do, for his company. are looking at potential acquisitions strategy for the group and looking at different ways of achieving growth .
FUNDAMENTALS TOSUCCESS Ask Dr. Shan Nair about the essentials to business success and he's replies with an air of certainty. Says he. "That's pretty simple actually. Be permanently switched 00 and be aware of business opportunities. Follow the opportunities, even if some of them turn out to be dead ends; because there is always going to be that one opportunity that will work out big time," he insists. The ambitious president of NRI ACHIEVERS
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Nair & Co. follows no particular philosophy at work, though he admits to essentially keeping himself aware of business opportunities. "When there was an opportunity 1realized it," he explains. Talking further, Shan Nair says, "I used the niche market to my advantage, and worked hard at getting cIients, which was very difficult in the first few years . A lot of business es in the U.S. work on recommendations and you need a critical mass of clients to have the kind of profile needed to get new business," he explains. For Nair, gelling thai critical mass of clients is the hardest part of a business . but after that things flow by sheer momentum he says . "And though, generating that initial momentum rs not always easy, you should never take "no" for an answer," insi sts Nair. " Become extremely persistent," he says, "but without offending people. " Citing an interesting example Nair goes on to narrate, "One of our earliest clients. I got on the 28th telephone call. First 27 calls went 10 voicernail and on the 28th call, he was a client." Nair maintains. "Persistence has rewards but do not be a nuisauce ei ther." For the budding entrepreneurs, Nair has a precious piece of advice . Says he, "Strive for the highest levels ofsuccess , I know the road is difficult, you wi II need good luck, need to be at the right place at the n ght time, and also need to realize it when you arc actually there and usc it to your advantage. " In order to succeed in the business world, Nair believe s thai it is important to be business aware, spot the opportunity and also be hones! and very positive in outlo ok. He firmly believe s that thinking positive leads to posrt ivc developments in any sphere; therefore he maintains ; it is essential that one remains positiv e all through. Dr Nair holds this unique distinction ofhaving dabbled in multiple profession s with equal efficiency and allegiance. Such has been the diversity in the line s he's chosen, that it seldom ceases to amaze the ordinary mind of his extraordinary prowess . From a technocrat, to a business leader Dr Shan Nair, with his rare ability and genius is way above an ordinary achiever. The scientist in him he says, has taken a back seat only in the sense that he doesn't do research full time; bUI he claims, he could flip back to being a nuclear scientist in a vel)' short span of lime at any given juncture. " 1would need to become updated with some of the more recent developments," he says. "I have kept up with many nuclear science advancements, so it's not going 10 be that difficult," he admits. An experience from his past life also gives him the confidence that he still "can" .. .whcn it comes to nuclear science . He shares it. Says he. "J used to do a lot of graduate recruitment for the research division of what was then known as the central electricity board of the
U.K. A lot of these scientists coming for interviews were PhOs in a wide range oftopics from Material Science, Astro Physics, High足 energy Nuclear Physics, Low-energy Nuclear Physics, to Chem istry and more. So," stales Nair, "you have 10 have a pretty broad ranged scientific knowledge to be able (0 ask them questions to know how their minds work." Nair conveys that in these interviews, the interviewer is interested in not jusf wJ13t they know. but how their minds work, and can they think out of the box and devise an original solution to a real-time or a new problem. "Therefore, when you're doing a lot of these interviews, ' suggests Nair, "you become very versatile in your understanding of science across a very broad spectrum , So, it's not difficult in my case," claims the greatly confident man. Talking of Shan Nair being an inspiration 10 the youth of today; and he speaks of his own inspiration with extreme reverence in his ' voice. "On a business level, there are two people I absolutely admire," he says. One is the founder of Reliance , Dhirubhai Ambani, "To have started a business with 200 rupees, a small room, a table and two cha irs and to have built it up into a Fortune 500 Global company, it was nothing short of earth-shattering impressive," claims Nair. He further speaks in admiration of India's greatest business leader and says, "To have managed such success in an environment when India was subject to the license Raj, which stifled all entrepreneurship, I absolutely admire that." Another powerful figure for Nair is the steel magnate Lakshrni Naravan Mittal. Nair believes that it is rem a~k abl c the way in which the latter capitalized on the collapse of the Soviet Union to build the nucleus of his business which basically compr ises of the old soviet steel mills that were being sold at rock bottom costs. That he managed to spot thc opportunity, buy those steel mills, and built a business on it, which he has since taken to very great heights. is even more incredible to Nair. "These are the two individuals I absolutely admire," he declares. On a personal level for Shan Nair, the greatest person who walked on this earth is MahatmaGandhi. (
ON AMORE PERSONAL NOTE The most gratifying and proud moment of Shan Nair's life, as he himself recalls, was when he did his Indian School Certific ate Exams. He says. "1 was 16 years old, and 1 ranked first in India in English literature and first in Mathematics, Thai was my proudest moment." Shan Nair's father worked as Diplomat and his job required the family to move to different countrie s. Nair was born in the Middle East; the family also lived in South East Asia, Scandina via - what was then communist Europe - North Africa and in southern Europe. Of all the countries Nair has lived in; he believes that his motherland India has got a huge opportunity to excel. Opining
on contemporary India, Nair says , "Everybody says India is an emerging power. and it clearly is. But, J think the political makeup of the government is still conditioned very much by the thinking 0[20 years ago.t' ln Nair's views, perhaps this is a good opportunity for a lot of the senior politicians in the country to encourage and groom younger people. Citing an important point, Nair suggests that since the country is run on coalition gov e rnm en t s ... the latter remains relatively ineffective . However, Nair convey s that India still has been good for business , even though there is a kind of hesitation on the part of India to pla y its full pot ential in th e w o r l d sce n e . "India is a country w ith ma s siv e potential and it is going to realize its potential, but it should be actively realizing it right now," asserts Nair. " T he othe r b ig issue , h e c ompl a in s , "is I s I a mi c Fundam enta lism. This threat needs to be con ta ined because if it is not contain ed, a lot of the progress that India has made could be reversed," believes Nair. It comes as a surprise when you hear these words coming from a man of Nair's statur e and background. "I was never in favor of this nuclear deal," he says, while talking further about India. "It's ju st perhaps one example of where India is not being assertive enough," explains Nair. "I think," he says, " India could have obtained a much better dcal if it would have taken a tougher line. India is paying the price by having international safeguards on most of its nuclear facilities, not all admittedly." Nair questions, "What has it gotten in return?" "It has gotten,' he says, "the promise of sale of nuclear technology, which of course, directly helps the compani es selling it. But does India actually need it? I mean," explains Nair, "India's managed without foreign nuclear technology for 25 years, and there are nuclear power stations operating in India. l'm not quite sure," he states, " what benefits this nuclear deal is giving India." In Shan Nair's views, membership of the nuclear NRI ACHIEVERS
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"Everybody says India is an emerging power, and it clearly is. But, I think the political makeup of the government is still conditioned very much by the thinking of 20 years ago. "
club is a kind of dubious benefit in the sense that India was anyway a member ofthe nuclear club, whether the nuclear club liked it or not. And India also has a nuclear-armed Pakistan sitting next door with no controls, so, India is constrained thinks Nair. He reasons, "So, I'm concerned about this agreement." Nair speaks so passionately about) ndia and its future only because the country is closest 10his heart. He's absolutely interested in the country's history that is ancient. "For example," he says, " in parts ofnorthem India, you ean see even today, some ofthe remains of ships that were trading between India and Mesopotamia during the time of the Mohanjodaro civilization. It is certainly something that fascinates me," .adm its Nair. Among his many travels that Sban Na ir has undertaken, the most beautiful cities that he's visited and found extreme ly unique, he claims are Istanbul and San Francisco. Travel deeply interests Shan Nair and he says it is something, he can fwd time to indulge in because he can do it for the company. " I've traveled so much throughout my life. My dad was a Diplomat, so we used to move countries every three years. I've traveled to many countries and lived in so many ofthem... the experiences arc invaluable in running this business," informs Nair. Knowing the different cultures from Europe to the Far East has helped him resolve he says, interpersonal challenges that sometimes arise from misunderstandings of cultural values and where people are coming from . Nair puts across, that at this point ; he's far too busy to spare time to develop any hobbies. " I just haven't got time to go play golf," he remarks, "which is a major interest where I live ." But hopefully one day, thinks Nair, he will have more time to indulge. Shan Nair's family includes his wife and one daughter. And what's for a fact is that his wi fe's technical competence as an accountant was absolutely crucial in building Nair & Co. "It needed two people to make it grow," he suggests, further explaining, "and while ODe person brought in the business, the other executed." It is Nair's firm beliefthat ifthere is one person doing both, you end up in a seesaw situation where you bring work and you're so busy executing it that there is no time to bring in more work. he explains. That his wife bas been instrumental in shaping the company's successful track record reflects in the fact that the husband wife combination formed and excellent team, It worked because Vyoma Nair is a typically conservative accountant, who reigns in ber busband's excessive exuberance. Finally, talking ofall successful men taking up their corporate social responsibility very seriously and Shan Nair is no exception in this regard . "Yes, I do but it's II personal activity," he says, "which I d00'1 really want to talk about." "I do this as my way of giving back to the community," maintains Nair. Most ofShan
Nair's charities are in India; however, he prefers to keep his contributions private. His company is also involved in some charities and charitable activities in the US and in the UK ... as at Nair & Co.; they encourage staff participation in non-profit and community activities. "Very recently," shares Shan Nair, "a sta fT member in California took a work day to work for the advancement of a non-profit that helps Indian women entrepreneurs succeed. We also have started to support nonÂ profits like the South Asian Journalists Association (SAJA), which provide support to South Asians in U.S. media and TiE which helps Indus entrepreneurs succeed," he conveys. To say that Dr Shan Nair is an achiever, would be saying the least . He's not just any one of the Indian achievers sitting pretty across frontiers ... living a life full of accomplishments and fame. He's way beyond the ordinary lags, much higher than the references of a man with success. He's a winner, a victor on world stage.. .who has followed his heart and triumphed in all directions. Dr Shan Nair is an impeccable example of the following words by Larry Bird - "A winner is someone who recognizes his GodÂ given lalents, works his tail off to develop them into skills, and uses these skills to accomplish his goals." The milestones that Shan Nair reached in his life, compliment the supreme intelligence that the man has been so generously blessed with. They reflect his keen enthusiasm in using this intelligence to the fullest and in making it come useful. .. to the people around him. The best part is that Dr Shan Nair sees himself a winner and always performs like one. He is like that experienced mountain climber, who is not intimidated by a mountain but is inspired by it. He's like tbat persistent winner, who is not discouraged by a problem but is challenged by it. A close look at his life and you'll believe thai 'mountains are created to be conquered; adversities are designed to be defeated and problems are sent to be solved.' Only a "Shan Nair" can live by this belief and only he can be that paradigm. .. of a quintessential new age achiever!!!
I JANUARYÂˇ MARCH 09 ! 26
"I was never in favor of this nuclear deal. It's just perhaps one example of where India is not being assertive enough."