Name: Dr Diwan Rahul Nanda
Company: Shield Guarding Group (based in London) and TOPSGRUP (headquartered in India).
Turnover: £55m (Shield) and $150m (TOPSGRUP)
First job: Restaurateur in Mumbai. I managed a Chinese restaurant called Tutkuks.
Dream job: A respected film maker in Hollywood and Britain.
Car: Bentley Continental Flying Spur and a Hummer 2
Economy, business or first class: I flew economy all my life until three years ago. Now it’s business class all the way.
Most extravagant purchase: My house in South Buckinghamshire.
Most played song on iPod: “Love me do” by The Beatles.
Best business book: It’s being written right now by my eldest daughter, currently entitled Always at the Top. It’s about the learnings of my entrepreneurial life in the past 25 years.
Worst business moment: At the end of 2008, we were on the verge of acquiring a $500m American security group when Lehman Brothers collapsed. We had signed the MOU with the sellers after a marathon meeting in New York that lasted 31 hours and were celebrating when the world collapsed. Our very ambitious endeavour to make TOPSGRUP into a global giant came crashing down like a pack of cards right in front of my eyes.
Proudest business moment: It was at the beginning of 2008, when TOPSGRUP bought The Shield Guarding Company and I became chairman of the group. That was one of the happiest moments of my entrepreneurial life. It made me realise that I have it in me to leave the safe shores of India, where I was born and bred, and take our business and our brand overseas. That was also a very big moment for our thousands of employees who were looking at the successful closure of this deal with dollops of hope.
Business mentor: My business mentors have been my competitors. I’ve learned what not to do from their mistakes. If you carefully observe your competitors, you don’t need any tutors or mentors.
Next big thing: TOPSGRUP is on the brink of its maiden IPO in India. This will be the first IPO in India within the security sector and we all are very excited about it.
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