Dick Smith Operations in India

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With Foreign Direct Investment laws blocked for overseas businesses, we still saw the opportunity to partner with the TATA Group, and the rest is history

Indian Executive caught up with Debra Singh, general manager, Dick Smith, this month and in this exclusive interview, she talks about her campaign and her contributions towards the Leukaemia Foundation, Dick Smith, operations in India with the TATAs and much more.

  1. What is the world’s greatest shave all about? Can you tell us about your new look.
  2. The World’s Greatest Shave is about people being brave and shaving their hair to raise money for cancer research for The Leukaemia Foundation. A lot of people don’t know but the fact is that someone in Australia is diagnosed with blood cancer every minute and every two minutes somebody dies from it. So I found this as an extremely worthy cause. The Leukaemia Foundation has been running this campaign annually for over 12 years now and they have raised over a hundred million dollars for research. I have had friends and colleagues who have been directly or indirectly affected by leukaemia, so this year, I was really motivated to do something for this cause. My team at Dick Smith put out a challenge to raise ten thousand (dollars) and started to get everyone behind them. I actually was in Chennai when these plans were being laid out, and when I got to know about the challenge, I sent back a message from there saying that $10,000 wasn’t a challenge, a $100,000 was a challenge and if we get to a $100,000 I will shave my head. It was largely successful and we ended up raising $115,000. It’s been really fantastic, I raised over $110,000, so broad smiles everywhere. As I mentioned before it is an extremely worthy cause and the campaign runs till May.

  3. Did you shock yourself the first few times you looked in the mirror after that?
  4. Oh god, I still shock myself (laughs). I look at myself in the mirror and say, “It’s all gone!”

  5. You have had your share of firsts too, being the first woman to be appointed to run a trading division at Woolworths. Do you cherish such milestones?
  6. I absolutely do. I was very proud when I was appointed the head of Dick Smith. I was in India for about 18 months prior to that, running the Indian side of operations. I was extremely proud with the appointment. It’s not about the first woman for the job, it’s actually about the right person for the job. But at the same time I was ecstatic about being the first woman to be appointed the head of a trading division.

  7. You took the Woolworths Group to India, in conjunction with TATA, to set up electronics stores. How come an Australian supermarket