All roads seemed to lead to Mumbai, India recently. And not surprisingly, therefore, the streets were  overflowing with people. We were hosting several Celanese executives – Todd Elliot, Scott Richardson, Mark Oberle and Eddie Luen – who had joined us for a much-awaited customer appreciation event.

We finally got agreement for Thursday, Sept 19th – the day after “Ganesh Festival,” to hold the event. On this day, the always chaotic Mumbai traffic is further burdened with hundreds of people taking part in long street processions, for the final ‘elephant god’ idol immersion ceremony, chanting Ganapati Bappa Morya…

So yes, it got a bit crowded. As they say here in India, if you had thrown a stone, you would have hit a devotee, or perhaps a visiting salesman!

But with good planning, we managed to get all our visitors safely checked in to the Westin Garden City Hotel. Incidentally, this Westin tower is also the address of the new Celanese India office, which celebrated its one-year anniversary at this location only last month.

The customer dinner was a grand success. Most people I spoke to couldn’t recall when Celanese had last held such an event, spanning key customers, business partners and team members from all our businesses lines  bonding together. It was great to see the enthusiasm and support, not just from our executives and staff, but also the strong response we received from 50-plus invitees, many of whom had flown in from other cities to spend an evening with us.

In spite of the fact that, in line with other emerging regions, the Indian economy is going through a bit of rough patch, our customers were appreciative of our commitment to the Indian market and for earmarking time to thank them for their business.

Although we were yet to formally launch our new brand, Celanese – The chemistry inside innovation, this message was already clearly visible, and Todd, Mark and Scott all spoke about this over dinner. Overall, 2013 is expected to be much better than 2012 for Celanese in India. And with all the renewed focus on sales, customers and seizing market opportunities, hopefully 2014 and beyond will be even better.

Another special milestone we celebrated at the event was the retirement last month of a longstanding India employee, Dilip Ajgoankar, after completing 34 years of service with Celanese and group companies! It was a bitter-sweet moment for all as we acknowledged Dilip’s many contributions and friendships built over all these years, and wished him all the best in the presence of our top customers and his peers.

Thanks again to Scott, Todd, Mark and Eddie for their presence, and to the Celanese India team for making this event special. For those who couldn’t be there, surely there will be another occasion very soon. …Pudhcha Varshi Lavkar Ya.