R "Bala" Balachandran
is a business builder and entrepreneur with 35 years of experience spanning several sectors, product categories, markets and blue chip companies.
22 of these 35 years have been as a CEO and C Level Executive across 4 countries in Asia and Africa.
Beginning his career, after post graduation from IIM Bangalore, in advertising as one of the industry's first Account Planners, Bala quickly rose to head, as President and
later Chairman of OgilvyOne Worldwide, the pioneering direct marketing company.
Moving on to what he has described his "first love" - telecommunications - in heading marketing and customer service for the Sri Lankan subsidiary of Telia, Bala has since headed telecom companies and major telecom projects in India, and West and East Africa.
Subsequently, he has gone on to head multi sector multi product groups of companies in East Africa - first heading a group of consumer facing companies in diverse product categories, and thereafter a group of EPC, consulting and services companies.
In between and since, he has started several businesses both as an "intrapreneur" and entrepreneur - selling one of the latter, in organic foods , after a quick and profitable build-up. He, along with his wife and business partner Preeti Balachandran, today runs a trade consultation company specialising in global sourcing of foods, bulk agro commodities, organic specialities, etc. He also advises emerging companies and brands in different sectors, and mentors some start-ups in digital marketing and branding.
Bala's key strengths include the conception and execution of business, brand marketing and sales strategy; customer service systems and structures; project management and network rollout; and the motivation and hands-on leadership of teams from small to huge, with the demonstrated ability to get his co-workers to consistently live up to their true individual and team potential. He has consistently built cohesive, enthusiastic and high performance teams across sectors, countries and cultures. His skills in communication, presentation and public speaking, coupled with a strong personal work ethic, have helped him in this.
Bala is an avid high altitude trekker, and has completed in a twelve month period 3 legendary Himalayan treks - the Chadar, the Kailash Parikrama and the Everest Base Camp treks. Besides tennis and golf, his passions include driving, eclectic reading and computers. He has spoken at international industry seminars in Asia and Europe; and has been on the guest faculty of several management schools, and the governing bodies of industry associations.