It was sometime in October 1990. An eclectic mix of guests had gathered at the late LM Thapar’s house to celebrate his 60th birthday. Hemant Luthra, the-then COO and CFO of Ballarpur Industries, and his wife chose to gift Thapar a present wrapped in The Pioneer, which the latter had just relaunched in Delhi. As the evening progressed, the late Vinod Mehta, the recently hired editor of the newspaper, stood up and raised a memorable toast to Thapar: “I have been hired and fired many times… and am told that all bosses are SOBs. But it seems to me that LMT [Thapar] is the best SOB that I have ever known.” The toast brought the house down.
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