Ravi Dhariwal — the CEO of The Times of India who introduced INMA to the South Asian continent and later became president of the global non-profit organisation — was announced as the recipient of INMA’s highest honour for volunteer service to and lifetime achievement in the media industry.

The Silver Shovel Award was presented in absentia to Dhariwal at the closing dinner of the 84th Annual INMA World Congress at the Fairmont Hotel in San Francisco before nearly 300 executives from around the world. The award represents INMA’s top honour for individual achievement.

Dhariwal was unable to attend the ceremony at the last minute due to a family emergency but had this to say about receiving the award:

Michael Phelps, former CEO of the Washington Examiner and the 2013 Silver Shovel Award recipient, presented Dhariwal with the award. Phelps lauded “a career dedicated to identifying value where others can’t see it and for unselfish contributions to the growth and well-being of the International News Media Association.”

Dhariwal was introduced to INMA in 2004 and saw the association as a bridge between Indian and South Asian publishers and the broader publishing industry worldwide.

Over the next decade, Dhariwal worked with INMA to open doors to the leading Indian publishers. INMA has hosted 10 conferences, summits, and workshops in India during that time, along with two global Board of Directors meetings.

As founder of the INMA South Asia Division, Dhariwal served as the division board’s president from 2007 to 2009, joined the INMA International Board of Directors as global vice president from 2009 to 2011, and was global president of INMA in 2011-2013. Today, he continues to serve on the INMA Board of Directors as its immediate past president.

INMA has grown dramatically in South Asia during the past decade. In 2004, there were three individual members in India. Today, there are 819 members, including 13 corporate members in India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. The INMA South Asia Conference annually draws more than 200 delegates from the leading newspapers and magazines.

Dhariwal’s career includes stints at Unilever, Pepsi, and Bennett Coleman & Co. Ltd. (BCCL), the parent company of The Times of India. After 12 years with Unilever, Dhariwal joined Pepsi in 1989 and held senior marketing, sales, and management positions while based in India, South Africa, Hungary, and the Philippines. During that period, his responsibilities included regional sales and marketing management for India, South and East Africa, Central and Southern Europe, and Southeast Asia.

He joined BCCL in 2001 as executive director of the company’s board, running the company’s print business as its CEO and providing oversight to its other media businesses. Today, Dhariwal serves as CEO of BCCL, chairman of VPO, and chairman of Absolute Radio, U.K.

The Times of India today is the world’s largest-selling English broadsheet, the Economic Times is the world’s second largest financial daily, and BCCL continues to grow its business substantially.