20 June : Better known for his sprawling steel empire and mounds of wealth, Lakshmi Mittal has now been named as a visionary by Fortune magazine for extending support to help Indian athletes win Olympic medals.
The league of eight individuals also features two other Indians–Rikin Gandhi, the chief of New Delhi-based NGO Digital Green, and Indrani Medhi, an executive at Microsoft India.
Elaborating on the ‘The Fortune Global Forum Visionaries’ list, the magazine said it set out to find “eight trailblazers whose innovative contributions to emerging markets and developing nations are as significant as they are universal.”
The NRI billionaire has found a place in the list as the founder of Mittal Champions Trust that supports Indian athletes in as many as six sports.
The publication said the England-based chief of the world’s largest steel company ArcelorMittal plays a pivotal role in India’s ongoing quest for the Olympic metals.
“According to Mittal, the goal of the Mittal Champions Trust is to identify, support and enhance the performance of talented up-and-coming Indian athletes in six sports: track and field, shooting, wrestling, archery, boxing, and squash,” the magazine noted.
The trust, started in 2005 with an initial funding of USD 9 million, supports over 60 Indian athletes, including the Olympic gold medalist and shooter Abhinav Bindra.
“The next goal? Bring home at least five medals from the 2012 Olympics in London,” the report said.
The Rikin Gandhi-headed Digital Green teaches farmers in small villages the latest agricultural techniques with the help of multimedia presentations and personal demonstrations.
Quoting Gandhi, the magazine said, his effort is “ten times more effective per dollar spent in converting farmers to better farming practices than more traditional approaches”.
Writing about Indrani Medhi, the publication said her research work is to “make assistance-free and useful interaction possible for any first-time, non-literate user of a PC or mobile phone”.
Medhi is an associate researcher (Technology for Emerging Markets Group) at Microsoft India.
The Nobel Prize winner and founder of Bangladesh’s Grameen Bank Muhammad Yunus, International AIDS Vaccine Initiative’s epidemiologist Seth Berkley and the Hong Kong-based sourcing firm Li & Fung Group’s Victor and William Fung also feature in the list.
The Fortune has also named French business school HEC
Paris’ associate dean Valerie Gauthier and China South Locomotive and Rolling Stock Corporation chief Zhao Xiaogang among the eight visionaries.