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“Doing Business in India, with India’ Topic URI Honors Colloquium panel Nov.3

Media Contact: Dave Lavallee, 401-874-5862

KINGSTON, R.I. – October 26, 2009 – A panel of experts from finance and industry will explore the promises, prospects and challenges of “Doing Business in India and with India” at the University of Rhode Island Honors Colloquium, Tuesday, Nov. 3 at 7:30 p.m.

Part of the “Demystifying India Colloquium,” the discussion will be held in Room 271 of Chafee Social Science Center, 10 Chafee Road. All Honors Colloquium programs are free and open to the public.

As a public health precaution, the University asks those with influenza-like symptoms on the day of the event not to attend, but rather watch online at uri.edu/hc.

URI Professor of Marketing Ruby Dholakia, who is coordinating the colloquium with URI Professor of Marketing Nikhilesh Dholakia, and Engineering Professor Arun Shukla, said the speakers will bring a wide range of experiences to the panel discussion.

“Each panelist is involved with a business enterprise operating in India that spans the agricultural, industrial and financial services sector,” Dholakia said. “The attractiveness of the Indian market as well its challenges will be the focus of the presentations. The panelists also bring diverse backgrounds; one as a venture capitalist, a second as the strategic head of a German industrial company setting up manufacturing operations in India and the third as a CEO of a large global firm with India as one market in its portfolio of markets.

The panelists are:

• Shivan S. Subramaniam, chairman and chief executive officer of FM Global, one of the world's largest property and commercial insurance firms, headquartered in Johnston, R.I. FM Global has been named “Best Property Insurer in the World” by Euromoney magazine, “Best Global Property Insurer” by Global Finance magazine, twice named “European Business Insurer of the Year” by Strategic Risk magazine, and received the “Queen’s Award for Enterprise” from the queen of England.

Subramaniam earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the Birla Institute of Technology, Pilani, India, in 1970. In 1972, he earned a master’s degree in operations research from Polytechnic University, Brooklyn, N.Y., and, in 1978, he received a master’s degree in management from the Sloan School of Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

• Tobias Luehrig, head of strategy for KSPG, maker of combustion engine parts, Stuttgart, Germany. An alumnus of URI's business and engineering programs, Luehrig has extensive experience in the automobile sector of India. Prior to KSPG, he worked for seven years for McKinsey & Co. as a consultant serving automotive clients around the world. Using his European perspective to discuss the common pitfalls and misjudgments in entering the highly competitive automotive market in India, Luehring will present some surprising examples and facts to illustrate the cultural barriers that add to the common market entry barriers for doing business in India.

• John Struck, another URI alumnus - from the College of Arts & Sciences, is the managing director of Wand Partners Inc., a major venture capital firm; and also a director of SeedWorks India Private Limited. Struck spends his time between New York, Florida, Rhode Island, and international ventures including one in India.

For further details about the colloquium, including an updated schedule and information on parking, go to www.uri.edu/hc or contact the URI Honors Center at 401-874-2381 or debg@uri.edu.

Major colloquium sponsors are: The Honors Program, Office of the President, Office of the Provost, College of Business Administration, College of Arts & Sciences, College of Engineering, Division of University Advancement, The Anthony J. Risica Lecture Series on Innovation & Entrepreneurship, and The Village Inn - Narragansett.

Additional sponsors include: College of Human Science and Services, College of the Environment and Life Sciences, Office of the Vice President for Administration, Office of the Vice Provost for Information Technology Services, University College, URI Diversity Week-Multicultural Center, URI Women’s Studies Program, The Mark and Donna Ross Honors Colloquium Humanities Endowment, Kabob N Curry - Providence, and Professor G.S. Verma and Mrs. R. Verma.