CEO Series: How Dinesh Paliwal Transformed Harman International into a Global Leader



Dinesh Paliwal is Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Harman International (NYSE:HAR).
To transform the company from a founder-run, top down culture to one that is customer-centric and innovation driven, Dinesh has instituted significant changes since his tenure at Harman began in 2007, including building a diverse board and strong leadership team, expanding the company’s business in high growth emerging markets and instituting best in class operating processes that have resulted in top- and bottom line growth.Dinesh has worked and lived in six countries on four continents, including the United States, China, Switzerland, Singapore, Australia, and India. Prior to joining Harman, he spent 22 years with ABB Group (NYSE:ABB, a $50 billion global energy and industrial leader), where he last held the dual role of President of ABB Group with responsibility for the company’s global P&L, and Chairman/CEO – ABB North America. Most notably, he eliminated the cultural and organizational silos among multiple P&L operations globally to achieve profitable growth for the multi-billion North American operation following 18 years of losses.

Moving to Beijing in 1994, Dinesh established ABB’s operations in China and North Asia, where he subsequently grew the region’s business ten‐fold in four years. From the company’s headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland, he reversed losses at – and grew – its large global industrial automation business. After becoming the youngest executive to join the ABB Group Management Board in 2001, Dinesh was tapped by the company’s Board to run the global Automation division, representing more than half of ABB’s sales. As president of the division reporting directly to the Chairman, Dinesh posted 14 consecutive quarters of top‐line and earnings growth.

Dinesh earned a Master’s degree in Engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT Roorkee). He also earned a Master’s degree in Applied Science and Engineering and a Master’s degree in Business Administration both from Miami University of Ohio.

In addition to the Harman Board, Dinesh serves on the Board of Directors for Bristol-Myers Squibb Company. He also serves on the board of the Business Advisory Council of the Farmer School of Business, Miami University. Dinesh served on the board of directors of Tyco, ADT and Embarq, now Century Link Telecom and served as Chairman of ABB India Ltd. (a publicly-listed company with a multi-billion-dollar market capitalization). He is a member of the CEO Business Roundtable in Washington, DC. Previously, he served as Chairman of the US National Foreign Trade Council and on the boards of the US China Business Council, US India Business Council, National Symphony Orchestra and International Swimming Hall of Fame. He also served for three years as Economic Advisor to the Governor of Guangdong Province, China. In 2010, E&Y named Dinesh ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ for the New York region, and Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO) honored him with ‘Indian American Achiever’ Award. In 2011, American India Foundation (AIF) honored him for ‘Corporate Leadership’. In 2012, Dinesh was inducted in the International Honor Society Beta Gamma Sigma and the Asian American Business Development Center presented him with the ‘Pinnacle Award.’
Moderator Biography:
Maneet Ahuja is CNBC’s hedge fund specialist and a producer on Squawk Box. In 2011, she co-created and developed the network’s “Delivering Alpha” hedge fund summit in conjunction with Institutional Investor and was awarded CNBC’s prestigious Enterprise Award in 2009 for her groundbreaking coverage of the industry. She has covered the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and produces quarterly shows at the Department of Labor with former Federal Reserve Board chairman Alan Greenspan as well as U.S. Competitiveness Summits at Harvard Business School. Prior to joining CNBC in 2008, she was a part of the Wall Street Journal’s Money & Investing team. She began her career on Wall Street in 2002 at age 17 in Citigroup’s Corporate & Investment Banking division as a credit risk analyst. Maneet is one of Forbes magazine’s “30 Under 30” (Jan. 2012), has been featured in Elle magazine’s annual Genius issue (April 2011), and in 2010 was nominated for Crain’s New York Business “Forty Under 40 Rising Stars.”
Venue: Jones Day, 222 E. 41st St., between 2nd & 3rd Avenues, NY
Organizer: Hemali Dassani ’99
Videographer: Todd Colburn

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