The Boss

Sunil Bharti Mittal

The Bharti Enterprises chairman is a leader who relentlessly pushes to challenge the status quo

The year was 2002. On a cold December morning, an uneasy calm prevailed at the ITC Mughal in Agra, even as hot tea was being served to the 30-odd well-suited men in one of the luxury hotel’s large rooms. The occasion was a conclave of Bharti Tele-Ventures’ senior managers to discuss an impending but very real crisis. Reliance Infocomm’s ambitious chairman Mukesh Ambani was talking of bringing down the price of local calls as low as that of a postcard and putting a mobile phone in the hands of every Indian. ‘Go mass’ was the credo and Ambani was at the forefront of this project that his father had always dreamt of. Reliance Infocomm, worthy competitors like Bharti feared, would spoil the market.