"Every good business story has a conflict and triumph at the core, and a turning point where a transformation takes place. At Harman, we had to reinvent ourselves so that we can compete on a global playing field. We did it by instituting a culture where teams can take calculated risks. But to inspire such a shift in mindset requires meaningful rewards across the ranks, and freedom to experiment and innovate. I like to think of it as our courage culture." -- Dinesh Paliwal
How do you create a culture of innovation?
Dinesh Paliwal has served as President and Chief Executive Officer of Harman International (NYSE:HAR) since July 1, 2007, and was appointed Chairman on July 1, 2008. He has led several significant change initiatives at HARMAN and instituted numerous programs to simplify and strengthen the company’s operations. These include the formation of a diverse and multi‐cultural board, recruitment of a seasoned
executive management team, expansion of the company’s footprint and revenue in the high‐opportunity emerging markets, propelling HARMAN’s innovation pipeline and dramatically improving its cost structure.
To put the company on a profitable growth trajectory, he transformed the company culture and launched the STEP Change program in mid 2008 to institute best in class business processes which delivered an
unprecedented $400 million in sustained cost savings.
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 $40 billion global industrial leader), where he last held the dual role of Group President with responsibility for the company’s global P&L, and Chairman/CEO - ABB North America. His achievements included driving profitable growth by eliminating the cultural and organizational silos among multiple P&L operations across eight regions globally and turning the multi-billion dollar North American region profitable following 18 years of losses.
He moved to Beijing, China in 1994 to establish ABB’s operations in China and North Asia, where he
subsequently grew the region’s business ten‐fold in four years. He was then asked to relocate to the company’s headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland to turn around and grow its large industrial automation business. He was the youngest person and the first Asian ever to join the ABB Group Management Board. During the historic turnaround of ABB beginning in 2002, the company’s Board selected him to run the global Automation division, representing more than half of ABB sales, reporting directly to the Chairman. As President of this division, Dinesh posted 14 consecutive quarters of top‐line and earnings growth.
Dinesh earned a Masters degree in Engineering with highest distinction from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT Roorkee). He also earned a Masters degree in Applied Science and Engineering (1983) and went on to earn a Masters degree in Business Administration (1985), both from Miami University (Ohio).
In addition to the Harman Board, Dinesh serves on the board of directors of Tyco International (NYSE: TYC), a $20 billion global provider of security and industrial products and services. He is on the Board of XBMA, the International Institute for the Study of Cross-Border Investment, Mergers and Acquisitions and previously served on the board for Embarq Corporation (NYSE:EQ).
Until he left ABB in 2007, he served as Chairman of ABB India Ltd. (a publicly-listed company with a multibillion-dollar market capitalization). He is a member of the CEO Business Roundtable in Washington, DC and also a member of The Trilateral Commission. Previously, he served as Chairman of the US National Foreign Trade Council in Washington, DC; as a member of the board for the US China Business Council, US India Business Council, and International Swimming Hall of Fame. He also served for three years as Economic Advisor to the Governor of Guangdong Province, China.
In 2010, Dinesh was named Metro New York Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young, and also received the Indian American Achiever Award from the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin (GOPIO). He also serves on the board of Stamford Symphony.