Tuli, tenderly, deeply – How one man’s pleasure is another man’s pain

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Martin Moodie
Martin Moodie is the Founder & Chairman of The Moodie Report.
Martin Moodie

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One man’s famine is another man’s feast, one man’s pet is another man’s beast 
– ‘Hank Williams said it best’, Guy Clark

As usual King Power Group (HK) Managing Director Travel Retail & Duty Free Sunil Tuli was good value for money during his speech at the TFWA-run China’s Century conference in Guangzhou last week.

But so was master moderator John Rimmer (clearly well-trained somewhere along the line), as witnessed in this priceless exchange that added a touch of levity to Sunil’s emphatic message that the first past the post, blind auction tender system is often damaging to the business.

John: “But Sunil, 15 years ago you said there was no such thing as an overbid…”

Asked to expand on the views he had outlined in his presentation, Sunil noted: “You won the contract, you bid high for it. You go to the suppliers and ask them for something that they can’t give you. You start cutting corners. And so often you see companies that are disappearing from the scene because they can’t afford to stay.”

“But Sunil,” retorted John, “I remember you saying a few years ago at a conference – correct me if I’m wrong – that there was no such thing as an overbid. That an overbid is something defined by someone who has lost the tender.”

Sunil smiled. “Yep, that was a long time ago,” he said to audience laughter. “The rules of the game have changed. Things are different now. It must have been about 15 years ago that I said that. Having won something, obviously I had to say it!”

Sunil: “Having won something, obviously I had to say it!”

There you have it, the age-old industry question – what constitutes an ‘over-bid’? As Guy Clark wrote in his eulogy to the late, great Hank Williams, “One man’s pride is another man’s humble, one man’s step is another man’s stumble; One man’s pleasure is another man’s pain, one man’s loss is another man’s gain.”

Footnote: We’ll bring you the full version of Sunil Tuli’s excellent speech in the May issue of The Moodie Davitt Report Print Edition.


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