On his second day of a five day US visit, Modi dined with 47 leaders of the Fortune 500 Companies and addressing their concerns regarding investments in India. Among those present were Marillyn Hewson (Chairman and CEO, Lockheed Martin), Mark Fields (President and CEO, Ford), Ginni Rometty (Chairman, IBM), Indra Nooyi (Co Chief, Pepsi) and Andrew Liveris (Chairman, Dow Chemical).
According to Singh, “There was support and appreciation expressed for the make in India program, the skills India program and the work related to smart cities, the focus on renewable energy. Some emphasis on the needs in the infrastructure sector and appreciation for the way in which the concept of smart cities has been approached,”.
The overall tone of the meeting was optimistic and the PM’s transparency in the meeting was also appreciated. The PM discussed major steps taken by Indian government in the past 15 months to resolve major issues in the economy to make it more investor friendly. He allayed their prime concerns, including the structured tax regime (GST), giving his personal assurance that they will soon be resolved.
Michael O’Neill (Chairman, Citigroup), Ajay Banga (CEO, MasterCard), Marc Allen (President, Boeing International), Gary Cohn (President, Goldman Sachs), Hamilton James (President, Blackstone), Sanjay Mehrotra (co-founder, SanDisk), Dinesh Palatal (Chairman, Harman International) and Joe Ripp (CEO, Time Inc) were also seen.
The meeting was held following a roundtable meeting with CEOs of media and communications companies including Comcast, Time Warner, Discovery, Sony, ESPN, News Corp, 21st Century Fox, Disney Industries, ABC television group, where they talked about the trends in the field and opportunities for India. He also pledged that India being a technology driven society was resolved to protect Intellectual Property Rights in the spirit of fostering creativity and growth.
Earlier in the day, he had also participated in a roundtable with top 10 financial entities in the US, including JP Morgan and Blackstone, where various opportunities for investment in Indian market and key changes in reforms were discussed. The roundtable was led by CEO of JP Morgan, Jamie Dimon. Others who participated included CEOs of Black Stone, KKR, General Atlantic, AIG Insurance, Tiger Global, and New York State Common Retirement Fund.
The meetings were fruitful and general feedback of CEOs was that the PM had been cooperative and open to their ideas. They also expressed satisfaction with changing government reforms; saying that although slow, the changes were encouraging.