Travel in style to developing countries
A regular visitor of India and China, Abbas Hussain, GlaxoSmithKline's president of emerging markets, shares his favorite hotels and how he gets over jet lag.
(Fortune Magazine) -- When pharmaceuticals giant GlaxoSmithKline made a big push to build its business in the developing world last year, it enlisted Abbas Hussain, a native of Madras, India, to run the new venture.
Hussain is responsible for finding ways to sell GSK's drugs in markets like Mexico and China -- a difficult task for a company that's used to operating in wealthier countries. Hussain, a former Eli Lilly executive, now lives in London, but he enjoys returning to his homeland on a regular basis.
"A lot of visitors travel to India and only witness the sewage and poverty," he says. "You need to get outside to see the beauty of the cities -- I love to jog on the streets of Bombay just after dawn."
1. Days on the road - I typically spend about 100 days on the road, but when I completed my first full year at GSK (GSK) in June, I had spent 141 days abroad. Over the past 12 months I've gone to India five times, China four times, Brazil three times.
2. In-flight reading - When I fly, I always bring a stack of analysts' reports and paperwork on our products. On a nine-hour flight I spend about six hours working. It's my time to craft replies to e-mails.
3. Staying connected - Once I get off the plane, I immediately send the e-mails I wrote. I grab a regular cappuccino at the nearest Starbucks and shoot them off.
4. Favorite hotel - I still choose to stay in the Taj Palace, which is the Mumbai hotel that was attacked by terrorists in November. I'm not concerned about its security -- although it's important to take precautions when you travel, you can't live in fear. In China my favorite hotel is the Shangri-La in Shanghai.
5. Airline of choice - I nearly always fly British Airways, because it has nonstop connections to countries like India and Turkey. At Heathrow it's a smooth ride through security. I love going in and out of Terminal 5.
6. Jet lag fighter - I like to head straight from the airport to the football -- what Americans call soccer -- field. I used to play on a 35-and-under team, where I was the oldest member! It's the best way to get back on schedule.
7. Street eats - My favorite snack is an Indian dish called a dosa. It's a light, pancake-like roll filled with potatoes, meat, or chutney.