India At 75: From Ambanis To Bajaj – 20 Leaders Who Formed India’s Enterprise


India at 75: From Ambanis to Bajaj – 20 leaders who formed India’s enterprise

India’s independence day, August 15, 1947, is memorable in historical past and in folks’s collective reminiscences. India has impressed the remainder of the world over the previous 75 years by focusing her civilizational strengths and cultural variety on a complete new shared future and prospects for achievement, progress, and wealth for its billion-plus residents.

Let’s take a look at 20 India Inc. leaders who’re inseparable from the idea of India. Every of them contributed to the event of India by adopting ideas and giving them life.


1. Gautam Adani

Within the late Eighties, all of it started with a modest commodity buying and selling agency. Liberalization adopted, which paved the way in which for Gautam Adani’s meteoric growth. Adani firm grew right into a multi-commodity star-rated export agency, and its entry into Gujarat’s Kutch district’s Mundra, India’s largest non-public port, resulted from this progress.

By the 2000s, the Jain industrialist seized new possibilities throughout industries when the business-friendly and infrastructure development-focused administration of then-Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi introduced them. Adani, 60, has solidified his mining, ports, and energy enterprises. He has since expanded into more moderen industries, like telecom, the place he competes with Reliance and Airtel. He has surpassed Microsoft Co-Founder Invoice Gates to develop into the fourth richest particular person on the planet, with a web value of $112.5 billion, in keeping with the latest Bloomberg Billionaires Index.


2. Anil Agarwal

“It was the most effective of occasions; it was the worst of occasions.” These opening traces from Charles Dickens’s A Story of Two Cities might properly describe the lifetime of Anil Agarwal, chairman of Vedanta Assets, whose entrepreneurial journey has been formed by bitter-sweet reminiscences. Agarwal, now 68, a Patna (Bihar) native and faculty dropout, went from being a scrap steel supplier to one in all India’s richest tycoons in 20 years. Vedanta is a broadly diversified pure useful resource conglomerate concerned with oil and fuel, energy manufacturing, zinc, lead, silver, copper, iron ore, and aluminium.

Agarwal has written about all of his challenges, together with overcoming despair and issues at school whereas studying English in Patna. He has written about establishing himself in enterprise in Mumbai. The millionaire has established the Vedanta Basis and has dedicated to giving 75% of his cash to charity. He’s a philanthropist.


3. The Ambanis

Few folks thought Dhirubhai Ambani would change the sport’s guidelines when he returned from Aden, Yemen, within the late Fifties to ascertain a textile plant in India. Ambani was not perceived as a hazard by the Parsi and Marwari households, which managed the Indian industrial world on the time. Native corporations didn’t begin being attentive to Ambani till his firm, Reliance Industries, as we speak the biggest revenue-generating company in India, went public in 1977. From that time, Ambani and his sons Mukesh and Anil had been unstoppable, buying companies and eliminating rivals.

Ambani handed away with out leaving a will in 2002, and his sons engaged in a contentious courtroom dispute over firm possession. Anil, the youthful brother, acquired the companies in wi-fi telephony, electrical energy technology, monetary companies, and infrastructure beneath the phrases of a peace pact agreed by the siblings in 2005.

Since then, Anil Ambani’s corporations have filed for chapter, whereas Mukesh Ambani’s Reliance Industries has prospered. With Mukesh, 65, asserting his succession plan, which is centred on the Ambanis’ Gen Subsequent: Akash, Isha, and Anant, the following main chapter within the historical past of Reliance Industries is being written.


4. Rahul Bajaj

Rahul Bajaj will probably be thought to be a businessman who continued this Gandhian legacy, simply as Jamnalal Bajaj, the founding father of the Bajaj Group and the foster son of Mahatma Gandhi, wore a number of hats, together with these of industrialist, freedom warrior, social reformer, and philanthropist. Rahul Bajaj led from the entrance, combating tenaciously towards the Licence Raj and offering thousands and thousands of Indians with the prospect to purchase a two-wheeler. As a lot with the scooter as with the person working it, “Hamara Bajaj” grew to become related.

Beneath his management, the enterprise launched the Bajaj Sunny, a bike with a 60 cc engine that rapidly gained reputation amongst younger girls in India. He was an advocate of financial change and a proponent of modernization. Bikes appeared, maintaining with youthful shoppers’ shifting preferences.

Earlier than handing the reins over to his son Rajiv Bajaj in 2005, he turned Bajaj Auto throughout the course of his 4 a long time as firm president into a worldwide manufacturing behemoth. Bajaj Auto, Bajaj Finance, Bajaj Finserv, and Bajaj Holdings and Funding are all a part of the enterprise empire, which as we speak has a complete market worth of about Rs 8.4 trillion.

The person who by no means shied away from calling a spade a spade owes lots to company India. India Inc. misplaced a doyen together with his passing in February of this yr on the age of 83, and an period got here to an finish.

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5. Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal

A number of years in the past, throughout a frank dialog with BS journalists, Sachin Bansal, a co-founder of Flipkart and present entrepreneur within the monetary sector (Navi Applied sciences), mentioned the difficult path an organization should take. When he and the opposite Flipkart founder Binny Bansal (not associated) searched the ebook shops of Bengaluru for ‘Leaving Microsoft to Change the World,’ Sachin’s entrepreneurial journey truly began on a tough highway, that too on a moist day.

In 2007, they tried to fulfil Flipkart’s first order whereas using a mobike. The hub of the net ebook firm that made e-commerce hip in India was their rented two-bedroom house in Koramangala.

As has occurred with so many co-founders of storage renown, the 2 low-key IITians, now of their early 40s, have since parted methods. No matter their most up-to-date endeavours, the Bansal group will probably be remembered most for establishing the face of Indian e-commerce.


6. R C Bhargava

R C Bhargava, the 88-year-old chairman of Maruti Suzuki India, has been part of all of it, whether or not it’s the story of industrialization in pre- and post-liberalized India or the shifting ambitions of the nation’s center class from the early 2000s to the current. He was a founding member of Maruti (previously Maruti Udyog Ltd) in 1981, and from 1990 to 1997, he served as the corporate’s managing director.

He oversaw the switch when the Indian authorities offered it to Suzuki Motor Corp. in 2003. Osamu Suzuki, chairman of Suzuki Motor Company, acknowledged in an interview with Forbes India in 2015 that “with out RC Bhargava, Suzuki Motor Company wouldn’t have thrived in India as now.”

Bhargava, a former policymaker who now leads the trade, is credited with not solely Maruti’s success however with the change within the Indian automotive trade that adopted, which grew to develop into the world’s largest producer of small autos. With him in cost, India’s largest automaker is redefining itself with new releases and entry-level SUVs whereas maintaining a tally of the EV market.india

7. Aditya Birla and Okay M Birla

The inventory market’s brightest stars had been Basant Kumar Birla’s group enterprises, Kesoram Industries, Century Textiles, Century Enka, and Jayshree Tea and Industries. Basant Kumar Birla was the youngest son of Ghanshyam Das Birla. Aditya Vikram Birla was his son who expanded the household enterprise outdoors of India and opened the primary abroad textile plant in Malaysia in 1969. A cooking oil unit adopted this in Indonesia.

Kumar Mangalam Birla (now 55) took over when his father, Aditya Birla, handed away from most cancers in 1995. Presently, of the $60 billion in annual revenues of the Aditya Birla Group, half comes from overseas. By means of mergers and acquisitions, the empire grew beneath Kumar Mangalam Birla.

Its holding firm, Grasim Industries, will enter the paint trade by 2024. The conglomerate not too long ago introduced one in all India Inc.’s largest international investments in a greenfield aluminium manufacturing plant in Alabama, US. Along with holding a telco in a three way partnership with Vodafone within the UK, it has a presence in trend retail and monetary companies.


8. Kishore Biyani

The Future group’s founder, Kishore Biyani, famously claimed that he was each a creator and a destroyer in his 2007 ebook, It Occurred in India. Over the course of his 30-year retail profession, the 61-year-old Marwari service provider has skilled highs and lows. Biyani has experimented with all aspects of the retail trade, beginning with the manufacturing of denim manufacturers within the early Nineties, increasing small- and large-format trend shops beneath the Pantaloons model, and establishing fashionable retail in India with the Massive Bazaar hypermarket chain in 2001, which he later expanded with extra codecs.

Whereas he was coming into the manufacturing and distribution of fast-moving shopper merchandise, his debt started to soar, forcing him to promote corporations like Pantaloons and give up codecs like electronics and residential furnishings.

Nonetheless, the Covid-19 outbreak drove his closely leveraged retail operation to the breaking level, with lockdowns closing the shops in a single day. In April of this yr, a high-profile settlement with Reliance Retail that had been signed in August 2020 fell via after Amazon challenged the association in courtroom, forcing Future Retail into chapter 11. The longer term for Biyani doesn’t now appear primarily promising.


9. Subhash Chandra

Subhash Chandra, chairman of the Essel Group, is greatest recognized for launching Zee TV in 1992, which marked the start of India’s cable and satellite tv for pc TV revolution. Few folks know that Chandra, 71, ran a affluent enterprise producing plastic packaging for FMCG firms and pharmaceutical giants earlier than founding the Hindi leisure channel. In 2019, Chandra’s brother Ashok Goel’s Essel Propack was offered to Blackstone for Rs 3,200 crore. It continues to be one in all Chandra and his household’s few latest successes.

Chandra, who previously collaborated with competitor Rupert Murdoch to construct Star TV in India, has been coping with lenders who need to discover a resolution to Essel Group’s debt issues for a while. He has needed to take care of difficult companions like Invesco in Zee and shareholders like YES Financial institution in Dish TV, the direct-to-home firm that could be a member of the Essel Group. A couple of months in the past, Chandra acknowledged that he was depressed however not hopeless. And that if his collectors permitted it, he was prepared to make a brand new begin within the media. 


10. M A Chidambaram

M A Chidambaram began the scooter revolution, revived India’s petrochemicals trade, revolutionized cricket administration, and served as Madras’ mayor (now Chennai). M. A. Chidambaram was a multifaceted particular person. Chidambaram introduced a revolution in city transportation following India’s attainment of independence because it realized its lofty targets. He was key in introducing the Italian Lambretta, often known as “the widespread man’s car,” to Indian roadways.

The Southern Petrochemical Industries Company (SPIC), which was based in 1969 and nonetheless supplies need-based options to the farming group, was the brainchild of this particular person. Chidambaram performed a vital function in lots of reforms whereas serving as president of the Board of Management for Cricket in India (BCCI), together with the intro of air journey for Indian Take a look at cricketers and funding for retired gamers. He was a person who established himself in lots of industries, together with agribusiness, chemical compounds, petrochemicals, detergents, electronics, transport, engineering companies, infrastructure, logistics, and port administration.


11. Y C Deveshwar

ITC modified its title from Imperial Tobacco Firm of India Restricted to India Tobacco Firm Restricted and at last to I.T.C. all through the previous 112 years. The total stops had been eliminated in 2001 when its chairman, Y C Deveshwar, started forming the ITC of as we speak: a enterprise recognized by Aashirvaad (staples, prepared meals, salt, recent dairy, and extra), Sunfeast (cookies, biscuits, and truffles), Bingo! (snacks), and Yippee! along with its cigarette manufacturers, India Kings, Basic, and Gold Flake (noodles).

Though British American Tobacco was and nonetheless is ITC’s sole shareholder, it was in step with Deveshwar’s imaginative and prescient of creating “Indian” manufacturers and establishing ITC as India’s Emblems Company.

His philosophy unfold to different areas: in 2000, the ground-breaking e-Choupal initiative grew to become a showcase undertaking and a vital element of ITC’s agri-sourcing infrastructure, leading to increased farmer incomes. And Deveshwar promoted the necessity for progressive company methods that transcend growing shareholder worth lengthy earlier than it grew to become necessary for companies to realize sustainability targets. He handed away in 2019, however ITC nonetheless lays the groundwork for him.

As well as, Deveshwar held the positions of chairman and managing director of Air India from 1991 to 1994 after being chosen by Madhavrao Scindia, the nation’s then-minister of civil aviation. Throughout this time, the airline’s profitability elevated.


12. Arun Firodia

“We wished to contribute in some small technique to the societal modifications that had been occurring in India within the Nineteen Seventies. Folks discovered it difficult to commute on bicycles as cities grew. We believed the timing was proper to launch an inexpensive car that may allow mobility. Based on Arun Firodia, head of the Kinetic Group, “whereas the Luna introduced mobility to the common man, the Kinetic Honda gave mobility to girls. The primary indigenous moped, the Luna, grew to become an enormous hit. In a partnership with the Honda Motor Firm, Firodia is acknowledged for delivering some of the cutting-edge scooter fashions to India, bringing accessible mobility to the lots.

One of many earliest companies to develop e-scooters was The Kinetic.


13. Adi Godrej

Some of the recognizable names in Indian enterprise is Adi Godrej. Adi Godrej, 80, continues to function chairman emeritus of the Godrej group, which incorporates operations in lots of industries, together with soaps, actual property, and defence. He handed the chairmanship of the family-owned Godrej Industries (GIL) over to his brother Nadir final yr.

The 125-year-old family-owned firm is actively disentangling cross holdings via a separation course of. Adi Godrej, a graduate of MIT with levels in engineering and enterprise, deserves credit score for making the buyer items firm the biggest landowner in Mumbai, with 4,000 acres. The corporate’s historical past started in 1897 when Ardeshir Godrej determined to launch a enterprise producing robust locks after studying a quick information article within the Bombay Gazette a few group of robbers breaking locks within the metropolis.

The Godrej Brothers Firm, which Ardeshir and his brother Pirojsha Burjorji collectively created, has grown beneath Adi Godrej right into a $4.1 billion conglomerate.


14. Rama Prasad Goenka

A household settlement drafted by father Keshav Prasad amongst his three sons served because the impetus for Rama Prasad Goenka (RPG), generally known as India’s unique takeover tycoon, to start a string of acquisitions. Goenka based RPG Enterprises in 1979 with the inherited companies Phillips Carbon Black, Asian Cables, Agarpara Jute, Murphy India, and Rs 105 crore in income.

The Eighties noticed a sequence of acquisitions; when CEAT was purchased in 1981, KEC, Searle India, HMV, Spencer’s, Harrisons Malayalam, and CESC had been all acquired. Nonetheless, different initiatives had been unsuccessful, like Premier Vehicles, which was purportedly postponed at Indira Gandhi’s request and on the recommendation of some associates. Gandhi had an impact on RPG; when she misplaced management, this proximity locked him up. Regardless of a couple of small setbacks, RPG constructed one of many quickest increasing industrial homes, which he ultimately divided between his sons Harsh and Sanjiv earlier than passing away in 2013.

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15. Captain Gopinath

Capt Gopinath’s Air Deccan impressed Vinay Dube, the founding father of the brand new low-cost airline Akasa, as he developed the concept for founding his personal airline. Gopinath’s pitch to get Indians to fly for one rupee, which he introduced in the summertime of 2005, continues to be unmatched as we speak.

The low-cost service, or LCC, idea was launched to India via it. By 2007, there have been 380 flights per day operated by Air Deccan from 67 airports, most of which had been in Tier B and C cities. 25,000 folks had been travelling every single day, up from 2,000 when the airline first began. Three million Indians took flights for one rupee every.

LCCs now serve over 80% of India’s home market, however Gopinath’s Air Deccan is not in operation. It struggled to outlive as losses grew, was offered to Kingfisher Airways, owned by Vijay Mallya, and was grounded in 2011.


16. Yusuf Hamied

Yusuf Hamied, a chemist with a level from Cambridge, joined his father’s enterprise, Cipla, within the Nineteen Sixties. From the beginning, he was dedicated to ending the dominance of international multinational firms over the Indian pharmaceutical sector. In 1972, he succeeded in persuading the Indian authorities to amend the nation’s patent legal guidelines.

This single motion fully modified the Indian pharmaceutical sector. India is the biggest generic treatment producer on the planet. When Hamied launched medication that value lower than one-tenth of what it did elsewhere on the planet however delayed the event of AIDS in HIV-positive sufferers, he immediately grew to become a family title. However on account of a WTO dedication, India up to date its patent guidelines in 2005 to adapt to world requirements and outlaw unlicensed medication copying. Hamied has constantly insisted that every nation’s patent legal guidelines ought to be primarily based on native wants.


17. The Hindujas

The unique commodities buying and selling firm, established by Parmanand Deepchand Hinduja in 1914 within the Sindh area of Pakistan, was expanded by his 4 sons, Srichand, Gopichand, Prakash and Ashok, each inside India and outdoors. Most Hinduja households reside within the UK, and the professionals there are accountable for operating their six publicly traded corporations in India.

The Hindujas are Queen Elizabeth’s next-door neighbours in London. They host their yearly star-studded Diwali occasion in Carlton Home Terrace, a row of 4 interconnected Georgian residences close to Buckingham Palace. They’re the richest individuals in Britain and have inventory in IndusInd Financial institution and truck producer Ashok Leyland.
However issues haven’t been all roses. The Excessive Courtroom rejected an accusation that the brothers had accepted a fee from Bofors gun producers within the Eighties.

Moreover, they grew to become concerned within the UK’s “cash-for-passports” scandal within the early 2000s. Srichand’s household is engaged in a courtroom dispute over possession of the $18 billion company conglomerate. The group ought to adhere to the adage that “every thing belongs to everybody and nothing belongs to anybody,” in keeping with the opposite three brothers.

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18. T V Sundram Iyengar & Venu Srinivasan

T V Sundram Iyengar established the now-global enterprise TVS Group in 1911. Nonetheless, TVS Motor Firm Chairman Venu Srinivasan, a descendant of the car pioneer, is the person carrying the torch ahead. As a 50cc moped producer within the Eighties, TVS is credited with Srinivasan’s transformation into the third-largest two-wheeler producer in India, competing with manufacturers like Hero, Bajaj, and Honda.

Though the agency controls the moped market, it produces e-scooters, gearless scooters, race motorbikes, and BMW bikes. Srinivasan, a motivated businessman, created a brand new customary for Indian two-wheelers worldwide. In June of this yr, the federal government named him to the central board of the RBI as a part-time non-official director.

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19. Rakesh Jhunjhunwala

Rakesh Jhunjhunwala ought to be credited for sparking curiosity within the equities markets, simply as Sachin Tendulkar did for nationwide cricket. Each investor, each new and skilled, hopes to realize Jhunjhunwala’s feat of turning their cash into crores. By buying and promoting the identical shares as him, many individuals try and imitate him. However via thick and skinny, Jhunjhunwala’s secret sauce has been a long-running bull in India. In 1985, when the Sensex was at 500, he started investing with simply Rs 5,000.

The chartered accountant had the foresight and bravado to stake main sums of cash on companies that profited from the India story. He has amassed a serious fortune by holding onto his investments in shares like Titan, CRISIL, and Lupin for a minimum of ten years. His stakes in publicly traded shares are valued at Rs 30,653 crore (as of August 10). As well as, he co-produces motion pictures and has inventory in lots of unlisted corporations. Along with his plane firm Akasa Air simply starting, he’s nonetheless removed from completed at 62.

20. O P Jindal

Om Prakash Jindal noticed doorways the place different folks noticed partitions. So when he got here throughout metal pipes with a “Made in England” label, he considered altering it to “Made in India”. Jindal, a farmer’s son, left his house within the Haryana village of Nalwa to pursue his targets. He was 20. He planted the roots of a metal empire by establishing a pipe bends and socket-making agency in Liluah, West Bengal, two years later, in 1952. From there, he travelled to Hisar and inaugurated Jindal India Ltd.’s pipe unit.

After that, a plant beneath Jindal Strips. As extra items arrived, a monolith of steel-to-power started to take form. He was a politician and industrialist who was thrice elected to the Haryana Meeting. His sons now run his metal firm, which has grown since he died in a helicopter crash in 2005.

Edited by Prakriti Arora


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