Most Indian visitors to the Airbus headquarters at Toulouse in France are pleasantly surprised when Kiran Rao, executive vice-president (marketing and contracts, customer affairs), Airbus, serves them hot dosas with lip-smacking sambhar and coconut chutney. All made at home, with the choicest of Indian spices, by his wife.
What few people know is that his wife is English (Bangalore-born Rao himself is a British citizen) – as far removed from South Indian delicacies as an Eskimo from swimming trunks, writes Bhupesh Bhandari.
If that doesn’t convince you that he is a marketing genius, you could take a look at the numbers. Rao has so far sold between 250 and 300 aircraft to various Indian carriers in the last few years. “I don’t need to spend so much time in India now. Most of my deals are now done on SMS,” he said as we settled down at Club Floor restaurant in the Maurya Sheraton in South Delhi.