Thomas Pulliyel, Mr IMRB

31 Aug,2015


Thomas Pulliyel, long-time President of IMRB International, retires today (August 31). The IIM Calcutta graduate began his career with the Operations Research Group and first joined IMRB in 1981 as Manager for Overseas Projects, and a decade later, became Senior Vice President. In 1992, he moved out to Research International India as Country Manger, but was back at IMRB in September 2000 for a second stint. Friends, colleagues and even business rivals fondly remember the ‘strong and silent’ Pulliyel, and how he took the organisation to new heights.


Dorab Sopariwala

The Al-Futtaim group had asked IMRB to set up a market research unit for them. Thomas spent a year there and I spent the first and the last month. So that’s how I came to know Thomas; you needed to get to know him a bit, before he would open up to you. We were trying to see how we would run this company, and it was only through extensive discussions, that we could work. He would come back in the evening and work till eight pm. I don’t know how we managed for food and such. — Dorab Sopariwala, Consultant and Advisor to NDTV



Sunil Karve

I could trust Thomas very much. He is very straight and there are no lies or false claims with him. He helps you along even if you make mistakes, and is always there to support you. When he started Research International in 1992, nobody knew about it. It was a tough and challenging task for him at the time because there was IMRB and MARG, which were the biggies out there, along with MRS and others. I think that he built up an extremely good team, and the work ethics and output were the main reasons for the success of RI. — Sunil Karve, Partner at Autumn Leaves, Innovation and LLP, Varenyam Consulting


Partha Rakshit

I still remember the first Board meeting I had with Thomas. Everybody says that he is a man of few words. I found that this was, indeed, his way, but he could also be very firm. I can tell you that if Thomas has got something into his head, you cannot convince him to change his mind. It’s quite difficult to do that. But I think he was a great partner to work with. I think we got on pretty well, and I think of the time when even though we were fierce competitors on the outside, we had a fantastic relationship. — Partha Rakshit, Proprietor, Partha Rakshit Associates, and former MD for South Asia, The Nielsen Company


Colvyn Harris

I think the values of IMRB are the values of Thomas. When you think of Thomas, he is a strong, silent type of person. The leadership values of IMRB and the way Thomas conducted himself for the IMRB company, is what has kept the company where it currently is. — Colvyn Harris, Executive Director of Global Growth and Client Development at J Walter Thompson Company??





Eric Salama

Thomas has given all the freedom to his people to make their own decisions and even guided some of them over the years. He was always incredibly protective of IMRB – the company, the brand and the people within. He had a paternal instinct towards people and is incredibly patient. Incredibly also, he took both failure and success in his stride. I knew Thomas when he was at Research International, and he has been the heart of an industry that has grown [around him]. I can think of so many clients, so many competitors and so many colleagues who have worked for IMRB at one stage or another. As a talent magnet and a talent machine, IMRB has produced some of the most special people in the industry. Not just one or two people, but at scale, and Thomas has been at the heart of all that. — Eric Salama, CEO of Kantar Media


Preeti Reddy

It is always easier to take over a company which is not making money; where everybody hates the boss and hate each other. Fortunately, we are a growing company where everybody loves Thomas and he is a legend, so you can understand how much harder Thomas has made it [to hate the boss]. I would say that it is a huge legacy. Thomas has nurtured it for 15 years, but it is a 45-year legacy. IMRB has defined the industry and you have heard everybody talk about that. In a sense, it is actually giving the industry credibility. So it is a privilege to carry that legacy forward. I think that he epitomises the values of IMRB and, again, many people have said that. I think IMRB is what Thomas is, and he has been a mentor to not just me, but so many people. I’m hoping he will continue to be somebody whom we can turn to, in good times and bad, in the years to come. — Preeti Reddy, SVP & President-designate, IMRB International


This story first appeared in dna of brands dated August 31


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