Ananth Padmanabhan,
CEO, HarperCollins Publishers India

Ananth Padmanabhan is CEO of HarperCollins Publishers India. He has over 20 years of publishing experience, and prior to this role was Senior Vice President at Penguin Random House.

A. Get to know me

  1. Who am I? I am curious about everything. I constantly want to create, attract and nurture new ideas.
  2. What motivates me? Creativity, ideas and a deep rooted passion for books. I learnt early on that it is important to love what you do.
  3. How I came into publishing? I have always been fascinated by books. I started my journey in 1992 with Landmark book store. What surprised me then was how customers knew about new books and came looking for them. A life changing experience was an exhibition of Penguin Books we hosted at the bookstore, which was a first of its kind and very successful. Penguin then offered me a job. That’s how I got my break into publishing.

B. A day in my life…

  1. How I start my day? Ours is a family of four-legged kids. The day starts at 6.30 am, kicking two of them out of bed, then comes coffee and the newspapers. I leave for work at 8 am.
  2. How I like to spend leisure time at home? We are pet parents; so our leisure time revolves around our family of FOUR – taking care of them, their walks, health and play. My dogs are very smart and exactly know who to go for what. And books are my constant companion.
  3. My stress buster? I love photography.

C. Life is to live

  1. Favourite sport: I am fascinated by all motor sports.
  2. Favourite book: Fountainhead has had a profound effect on me. I first read it when I was 17. I see it as a love story with deep rooted passion for the things you love to do.
  3. Favourite movies: Jerry Maguire
  4. Favourite actors: Rajnikant, Tom Hanks, Tom Cruise, George Clooney and Amitabh Bachchan.
  5. Favourite destination for holidays: We look forward to driving to pet friendly resorts. Beach destinations and the mountains keep us wanting for more. My wife and I enjoy the mountains, especially in the winters.
  6. Any Bucket list: Explore Machu Picchu, learn Spanish, learn to play the Saxophone…among a few.

D. Work is passion

  1. Business or political leader who motivates you: Quotes by Gandhi. I also had an opportunity to meet and listen to His Holiness the Dalai Lama. I think everyone should practise Mindful Living, more so as a leader.
  2. HarperCollins Publishers India is: India’s only ‘education to entertainment’ publisher and we want to be No 1.
  3. My people mantra: I believe in the wisdom of crowds. Every one of us contributes to an organization’s success and needs to understand and feel part of the organization’s purpose.
  4. To be a leader is: To inspire with action, and take the first step. I keep asking myself if I could have done something differently, how much of my involvement is needed and if people are empowered enough to make a project successful.
  5. An exciting point in a typical day’s work: A challenging situation is between choosing between the RIGHT and the GOOD. A happy point is when we make the right decision.
  6. If you are born again, what would you like to be? I will happily live this life all over again – and want to be surrounded by the same set of people. And If I wasn’t in publishing, I’d be a photographer.

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