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A Gandhian breathes his last on Gandhi Jayanthi ‘Hero’ rides into the sunset He took Kone to great heights… Justice Iyer, 100 A welcome biography on a towering CA Centurion ‘Leo’ rests in peace MSV – the King of Light Music The ‘Q’ factor cost him Cabinet Secretary’s post Tribute – Baldev Raj A multi faceted prince is no more... Jeppiar calls it a day Sivaraman, 100 Endearing Aachi... Transport S Narayanan Tribute – Ja Ra Su Cement, calcium carbide, shipping… TSN turned these and more into gold The Rajha of Rajapalayam... A versatile, humane and efficient administrator/litterateur A statue for RV, at last! R Desikan – the crusader of consumer interests is gone The honest Sardarji ‘Mandolin’ stops playing... How to build a nation Another Leo of real estate and education is no more Tribute: Dr. Krishnamoorthy Srinivas Remembering I K Gujral… He breathed transport development KP is no more M Subramaniam Bal Thackeray Father of German unification no more... A honest bank executive... Question on Operation X A genius civil servant fades The Hero of bicycles rests in peace A versatile legend moves on Colour-Chem's colorful personality VV Goes... Missile Man takes flight Remembering Chariji India’s Master Builder… KB Sir for all... Saeed Jaffrey ‘Sai’ Srinivasan no more Music Samrat!!! - TMS Honest civil servant The scientist-engineer who lucidly explained economics When SPIC spawned star managers... Tribute - R K Baratan Deora – the best networked politician.... Big ideas, not big words, are important... Brilliant Saeed saab Flute falls silent He took space science to such great heights! Music loses a maestro Samskrt loses a passionate exponent... Dr M G K Menon Master of strokes If only he had fastened the seat-belt... He elevated B&C to its best... Dada of drip irrigation... New team at the helm at TANSTIA Fighter-pilot turned monk... A multi-faceted leader rests in peace Scientist and leader of educational reforms He contributed so much to the telecom revolution He was the greatest. This trendsetter is no more The motor sportsman is no more
 
He took Kone to great heights…
He was a human dynamo. He helped build the-state-of-the-art pistons and rings plants of India Pistons Ltd at Maraimalai Nagar in quick time. He effectively transferred the fruits of these technologies to IPL’s older plants at Sembium to great advantage. That’s A Sankarakrishnan (a k a ASK) for you.
I REMEMBER THE occasions when ASK would drop in for a dosa breakfast, pick me up in the early hours and drive all by himself to Maraimalai Nagar. He would then work late into the evening and drive back in his modest Maruti car. As Executive Director, he built the plants of IPL and IP Rings with such passion and dedication! He mentored Ram Anantharamakrishnan who succeeded him and several others at IPL.

He took charge when the workers were on strike...

In March 1992, ASK took charge as the CEO of Kone Elevators. It could not have been the most ideal time: the employees of the factory were on strike; but his reputation as a dedicated manager and leader was a big help.
The President of the employees union, W R Varadarajan knew ASK well. He called off the strike within three days of the new executive assuming charge (and this without even formally discussing the industrial relations issue with ASK!).

The trust was well-placed. ASK firmly held that the IR issue was essentially a management problem. He believed that “basically every employee wants to work and earn uninterrupted.”

The Finnish engineering giant, Kone Corporation set up the Indian unit at Ayanambakkam near Chennai in collaboration with Best & Crompton in the late 1980s. When the economy opened up and when Best & Crompton, taken over by Vijay Mallya, languished, Kone acquired full control and appointed ASK as the managing director. From a unit that was struggling to earn profits, ASK turned it around and expanded. By the time he retired, he had made Kone a significant player in the elevator market: the company accounted for nearly a fourth of the total elevator market in the country.

Kone with headquarters at Helsinki has made remarkable progress in this high technology engineering field and earned a big reputation through quality, reliability and energy-efficiency. The Monospace elevators, introduced by Kone, eliminated the need for a separate machine room adding to the elegance and economy of building designs.

When Indo-Finnish ties expanded...

The reputation earned by Kone understandably paved the way for larger Finnish investments into India through Wartsila Diesel and subsequently by Nokia which later dominated the cell phone market in India for well over a decade. Soon Finnair introduced direct flight to Delhi: ASK deserves credit for the vast improvements in Indo-Finnish economic collaborations. I remember meeting him as a member of the Indian business team when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited Finland in 2006.

I remember the confidence with which ASK introduced a bold new strategy that made deep in-roots into the near monopoly of the leader Otis Elevators: ASK offered to supply lifts in two weeks against the longer lead time demanded by Otis!

ASK was President of the Madras Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Director, Allsec Technologies, India Cements, and India Cements Capital, among others.

ASK lost his son in a road accident at the prime of his age and didn’t recover from the shock. Afflicted by terminal cancer, the end came on 9 April 2013. IE sends in its condolences to his family and the thousands who worked with him.          

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