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Indian Heroes : Indian Entrepreneurs/BIOGRAPHIES

Indian Heroes : Indian Entrepreneurs/BIOGRAPHIES

Discuss Indian Heroes : Indian Entrepreneurs/BIOGRAPHIES within the General Knowledge (GK) forums, part of the Preparation Resource for Entrance Exams category; Dhirubhai Ambani Biography Born: December 28, 1932 Died: July 6, 2002 Achievements: Dhiru Bhai Ambani built India's largest private sector ...

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Smile Indian Heroes : Indian Entrepreneurs/BIOGRAPHIES - December 28th, 2006

Dhirubhai Ambani Biography


Born: December 28, 1932
Died: July 6, 2002
Achievements: Dhiru Bhai Ambani built India's largest private sector company. Created an equity cult in the Indian capital market. Reliance is the first Indian company to feature in Forbes 500 list

Dhirubhai Ambani was the most enterprising Indian entrepreneur. His life journey is reminiscent of the rags to riches story. He is remembered as the one who rewrote Indian corporate history and built a truly global corporate group.

Dhirubhai Ambani alias Dhirajlal Hirachand Ambani was born on December 28, 1932, at Chorwad, Gujarat, into a Modh family. His father was a school teacher. Dhirubhai Ambani started his entrepreneurial career by selling "bhajias" to pilgrims in Mount Girnar over the weekends.

After doing his matriculation at the age of 16, Dhirubhai moved to Aden, Yemen. He worked there as a gas-station attendant, and as a clerk in an oil company. He returned to India in 1958 with Rs 50,000 and set up a textile trading company.

Assisted by his two sons, Mukesh and Anil, Dhiru Bhai Ambani built India's largest private sector company, Reliance India Limited, from a scratch. Over time his business has diversified into a core specialisation in petrochemicals with additional interests in telecommunications, information technology, energy, power, retail, textiles, infrastructure services, capital markets, and logistics.

Dhirubhai Ambani is credited with shaping India's equity culture, attracting millions of retail investors in a market till then dominated by financial institutions. Dhirubhai revolutionised capital markets. From nothing, he generated billions of rupees in wealth for those who put their trust in his companies. His efforts helped create an 'equity cult' in the Indian capital market. With innovative instruments like the convertible debenture, Reliance quickly became a favorite of the stock market in the 1980s.

In 1992, Reliance became the first Indian company to raise money in global markets, its high credit-taking in international markets limited only by India's sovereign rating. Reliance also became the first Indian company to feature in Forbes 500 list.

Dhirubhai Ambani was named the Indian Entrepreneur of the 20th Century by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI). A poll conducted by The Times of India in 2000 voted him "greatest creator of wealth in the century".

Dhirubhai Ambani died on July 6, 2002, at Mumbai.
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Re: Indian Heroes : Indian Entrepreneurs/BIOGRAPHIES - December 28th, 2006

Born: July 29, 1904
Died: on November 29, 1993
Achievements: He had the honor of being India's first pilot; was Chairman of Tata & Sons for 50 years; launched Air India International as India's first international airline; received Bharat Ratna in 1992.

JRD Tata was one of the most enterprising Indian entrepreneurs. He was a pioneer aviator and built one of the largest industrial houses of India.

JRD Tata was born on July 29, 1904 in Paris. His mother was a French, while his father was Parsi. JRD's full name was Jehangir Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata and he was popularly known as Jeh to his friends. JRD's father Ratanji Dadabhoy Tata and Sri Jamsetji Tata shared their greatness from the same great-great-grandfather, Ervad Jamsheed Tata, a priest of Navsari.

JRD Tata was the second of four children. He was educated in France, Japan and England before being drafted into the French army for a mandatory one-year period. JRD wanted to extend his service in the forces but destiny had something else in store for him. By leaving the French army JRD's life was saved because shortly thereafter, the regiment in which he served was totally wiped out during an expedition in Morocco.

JRD Tata joined Tata & Sons as an unpaid apprentice in 1925. He has great interest in flying. On February 10, 1929, JRD became the first Indian to pass the pilot's examination. With this distinctive honor of being India's first pilot, he was instrumental in giving wings to India by building Tata Airlines, which ultimately became Air India. His passion for flying was fulfilled with the formation of the Tata Aviation Service in 1932.

In 1938, at the age of 34, JRD was elected Chairman of Tata & Sons making him the head of the largest industrial group in India. He started with 14 enterprises under his leadership and half a century later on July 26, 1988, when he left , Tata & Sons was a conglomerate of 95 enterprises which they either started or in which they had controlling interest.

JRD was the trustee of Sir Dorabji Tata Trust from its inception in 1932, which remained under his wings for over half a century. Under his guidance, this Trust established Asia's first cancer hospital, the Tata Memorial Center for Cancer, Research and Treatment, Bombay, 1941. It also founded the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, 1936 (TISS), the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, 1945 (TIFR), and the National Center for Performing Arts.

In 1948, JRD Tata launched Air India International as India's first international airline. In 1953, the Indian Government appointed JRD as Chairman of Air-India and a director on the Board of Indian Airlines-a position JRD retained for 25-years. For his crowning achievements in Aviation, JRD was bestowed with the title of Honorary Air Commodore of India.

In 1956, JRD Tata initiated a program of closer "employee association with management" to give workers a stronger voice in the affairs of the company. He firmly believed in employee welfare and espoused the principles of an eight-hour working day, free medical aid, workers' provident scheme, and workmen's accident compensation schemes, which were later, adopted as statutory requirements in India.

JRD Tata cared greatly for his workers. In 1979, Tata Steel instituted a new practice; a worker is deemed to be "at work" from the moment he leaves home for work till he returns home from work. The company is financially liable to the worker if any mishap takes place on the way to and from work. Tata Steel Township was also selected as a UN Global Compact City because of the quality of life, conditions of sanitation, roads and welfare that were offered by Tata Steel.

JRD Tata received a number of awards. He received the Padma Vibhushan in 1957 on the eve of silver jubilee of Air India. He also received the Guggenheim Medal for aviation in 1988. In 1992, because of his selfless humanitarian endeavors, JRD Tata was awarded India's highest civilian honor, the Bharat Ratna-one of the rarest instances in which this award was granted during a person's lifetime. In the same year, JRD Tata was also bestowed with the United Nations Population Award for his crusading endeavors towards initiating and successfully implementing the family planning movement in India, much before it became an official government policy.

JRD Tata died in Geneva, Switzerland on November 29, 1993 at the age of 89. On his death, the Indian Parliament was adjourned in his memory-an honor not usually given to persons who are not Members of Parliament.
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Re: Indian Heroes : Indian Entrepreneurs/BIOGRAPHIES - December 28th, 2006

Achievements: Chairman of Godrej Group

Adi Godrej is one of the icons of Indian Industry. He is the chairman of Godrej Group. .Adi Godrej was born in a business family. His father's name was Burjorji Godrej and his mother's name was Jai Godrej. More than a century age, the Godrej's were into manufacturing locks and vegetable-based soaps. The Godrej products were among the first indigenously manufactured products to displace entrenched foreign brands.

Adi Godrej left India at the age of 17 to enroll at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Though he planned to study mechanical engineering but he later on switched to management. After his return to India, Adi Godrej joined the family business. He modernized and systematized management structures and implemented process improvements. Adi Godrej took the Godrej Group to great height during controlled economy era.

After the liberalization process, Adi Godrej restructured company's policies to meet the challenges of globalisation. In the early 2000s, the Group completed a 10-year restructuring process through which each business became a stand-alone company with a CEO/COO from outside the Godrej family.

Under Adi Godrej's leadership, the group is also involved in philanthropic activities. Godrej is major supporter of the World Wildlife Fund in India, it has developed a green business campus in the Vikhroli township of Mumbai, which includes a 150-acre mangrove forest and a school for the children of company employees.
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Re: Indian Heroes : Indian Entrepreneurs/BIOGRAPHIES - December 28th, 2006

Born: June 4, 1959
Achievement: Chairman of Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group; Chosen as the 'CEO of the Year 2004' in the Platts Global Energy Awards and MTV Youth Icon of the Year' in September 2003

Anil Ambani is one of the foremost entrepreneurs of Independent India. He is the Chairman of Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group. Earlier, before the split in the Reliance Group, Anil Ambani held the post of Vice Chairman and Managing Director in Reliance Industries Limited (RIL).

Born on June 4, 1959, Anil Ambani did his Bachelors in Science from the University of Bombay and Masters in Business Administration The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Anil Ambani joined Reliance in 1983 as Co-Chief Executive Officer. He pioneered India Inc's forays into overseas capital markets with international public offerings of global depository receipts, convertibles and bonds. Starting from 1991, he led Reliance in its efforts to raise, around US$2 billion from overseas financial markets. In January 1997, the 100-year Yankee bond issue was launched under his stewardship.

After the split in Reliance Group, Anil Ambani founded Anil Dhirubhai Ambani Group. He is the Chairman of all listed Group companies, which include: Reliance Communications, Reliance Capital, Reliance Energy and Reliance Natural Resources Limited.

Anil Ambai was elected as an independent member Rajya Sabha MP in June 2004. But he resigned voluntarily on March 25, 2006.

Anil Ambani has won several awards and honours. Major among these include: 'CEO of the Year 2004' in the Platts Global Energy Awards, 'MTV Youth Icon of the Year' in September 2003, 'The Entrepreneur of the Decade Award' by the Bombay Management Association, and 'Businessman of the Year Award' by leading Business Magazine, Business India in 1997.
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Re: Indian Heroes : Indian Entrepreneurs/BIOGRAPHIES - December 28th, 2006

Achievements: Founder-chairman of Dr Reddy's Group of Companies; Awarded with Padma Shri in 2001.

Dr. K. Anji Reddy is a pioneer in the pharmaceutical research in India and is founder-chairman of Dr Reddy's Group of Companies.

Dr Kallam Anji Reddy did his B.Sc in Pharmaceuticals and Fine chemicals from Bombay University and subsequently completed his PhD in Chemical Engineering from National Chemical Laboratory, Pune, in 1969. Dr. K. Anji Reddy served in PSU Indian Drugs and Pharmaceuticals Limited from 1969 to 1975. Dr. Reddy was the founder-Managing Director of Uniloids Ltd from 1976 to 1980 and Standard Organics Limited from 1980 to 1984.

In 1984, Dr. K. Anji Reddy founded Dr. Reddy's Laboratories and soon the company established new benchmarks in the Indian Pharmaceutical industry. Dr. Reddy's Laboratories transformed Indian bulk drug industry from import-dependent in mid-80s to self-reliant in mid-90s and finally into the export-oriented industry that it is presently. In 1993, Dr. Reddy's became the first company to take up drug discovery research in India and in April 2001 it became the first non-Japanese Asian pharmaceutical company to list on NYSE. By the end of fiscal year 2005, Dr. Reddy's Laboratories was India's second largest pharmaceutical company and the youngest among its peer group.

Presently, Dr. Reddy is a serving member of the Prime Minister's Council on Trade & Industry, Government of India, and has been nominated to the Board of National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research (NIPER).

Dr. K. Anji Reddy is also a philanthropist. He is the founder-Chairman of Dr. Reddy's Foundation for Human & Social Development, a social arm of Dr. Reddy's, which acts as a catalyst of change to achieve sustainable development.

Dr. K. Anji Reddy has received many awards and honors. These include Sir PC Ray award (conferred twice, in 1984 and 1992); Federation of Asian Pharmaceutical Associations (FAPA)'s FAPA-Ishidate Award for Pharmaceutical Research in 1998; leading business magazine Business India voted him Businessman of the Year in 2001; CHEMTECH Foundation bestowed on him the Achiever of the Year award in the year 2000 and the 'Hall of Fame' award in 2005, for his Entrepreneurship, Leadership and thrust on Innovation; and in 2001, he was awarded the Padma Shri by the Government of India.
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Re: Indian Heroes : Indian Entrepreneurs/BIOGRAPHIES - December 28th, 2006

Born: July 24, 1945
Achievements: Chairman of Wipro Technologies; Richest Indian for the past several years; Honored with Padma Bhushan in 2005.

Azim Premji is Chairman of Wipro Technologies, one of the largest software companies in India. He is an icon among Indian businessmen and his success story is a source of inspiration to a number of budding entrepreneurs.

Born on July 24, 1945, Azim Hashim Premji was studying Electrical Engineering from Stanford University, USA when due to the sudden demise of his father, he was called upon to handle the family business. Azim Premji took over the reins of family business in 1966 at the age of 21.

At the first annual general meeting of the company attended by Azeem Premji, a shareholder doubted Premji's ability to handle business at such a young age and publicly advised him to sell his shareholding and give it to a more mature management. This spurred Azim Premji and made him all the more determined to make Wipro a success story. And the rest is history.

When Azim Premji occupied the hot seat, Wipro dealt in hydrogenated cooking fats and later diversified to bakery fats, ethnic ingredient based toiletries, hair care soaps, baby toiletries, lighting products and hydraulic cylinders. Thereafter Premji made a focused shift from soaps to software.

Under Azim Premji's leadership Wipro has metamorphosed from a Rs.70 million company in hydrogenated cooking fats to a pioneer in providing integrated business, technology and process solutions on a global delivery platform. Today, Wipro Technologies is the largest independent R&D service provider in the world.

Azim Premji has several achievements to his credit. In 2000, Asiaweek magazine, voted Premji among the 20 most powerful men in the world. Azim Premji was among the 50 richest people in the world from 2001 to 2003 listed by Forbes. In April 2004, Times Magazine, rated him among the 100 most influential people in the world by Time magazine. He is also the richest Indian for the past several years. In 2005,Government of India honored Azim Premji with Padma Bhushan.
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Re: Indian Heroes : Indian Entrepreneurs/BIOGRAPHIES - December 28th, 2006

Born: December 30, 1917
Achievement: Founder of pharmaceutical giant Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd; Awarded with Padma Shri

Bhai Mohan Singh can be called as the doyen of pharmaceutical industry in India. He is the founder of pharmaceutical giant Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd.

Bhai Mohan Singh was born on December 30, 1917 in Rawalpindi district. His father Bhai Gyan Chand was a Hindu and his mother Sunder Dai was a Sikh. Bhai Mohan Singh began his business career in the construction business during the Second World War. His firm bagged a contract to build roads in the North East. After Partition, he left Rawalpindi and settled down in New Delhi.

Bhai Mohan Singh started business as a moneylender. Ranbaxy was started by his cousins Ranjit Singh and Gurbax Singh. Ranbaxy's name was a fusion of Ranjit and Gurbax's names. They were distributors for A. Shionogi, a Japanese pharmaceutical company manufacturing vitamins and anti-TB drugs. When Ranbaxy defaulted on a loan, Bhai Mohan Singh bought the company on August 1, 1952, for Rs 2.5 lakh.

Bhai Mohan Singh collaborated with Italian pharma company Lapetit Spa and later on bought it. Bhai Mohan Singh made his mark in the pharmaceuticals industry in the late 1960s when he launched his first superbrand, Calmpose.

Calmpose was an imitation of Roche's valium. But Roche had not patented it in India. In early 1970s when Indian adopted a regime of process patents in the Bhai Mohan Singh quickly realised that one could make any product in the world through reverse engineering. He established an R&D facility at Mohali and launched one blockbuster pill after the other, such as Roscillin, Cifran etc.

Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd went public in 1973. At this time Bhai Mohan Singh introduced his eldest son Parvinder Singh in the company, who later on became the company's Managing Director in 1982. Bhai Mohan Singh also co-founded Max India with his youngest son, Analjit Singh.

With liberalisation differences arose between Bhai Mohan Singh and Parvinder Singh over the expansion and professionalisation strategy of Ranbaxy. Subsequently, in 1999 in a boardroom coup of sorts Bhai Mohan Singh was forced to bow down and Parvider took over the company. This broke Bhai Mohan Singh's spirit and he retired from active company affairs. He died on March 27, 2006.

Bhai Mohan Singh was a former vice president of the New Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC) and was awarded the Padma Shri for his contribution in civic matters. For his contribution to the industrial development of Punjab, the Punjab Goverment had named an Industrial Township near Ropar after Bhai Mohan Singh.
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Re: Indian Heroes : Indian Entrepreneurs/BIOGRAPHIES - December 28th, 2006

Achievement: Chairman of the Hero Group; Honored with Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2001

B.M. Munjal (Brij Mohan Lall Munjal) is the Chairman of the Hero Group. He is a first generation entrepreneur who started very small and through sheer hard work and perseverance made it to the top. Today, Hero Group is the largest manufacturer of two-wheelers in the world and Brij Mohan Lal Munjal is the man widely credited with its success.

B.M. Munjal's journey began in 1944 at the age of 20. Brij Mohanlall along with his three brothers, Dayanand (32), Satyanand (27) and Om Prakash (16) moved from his birthplace Kamalia in Pakistan to Amritsar. The brothers started supplying components to the local bicycle business. After partition in 1947, the family was forced to move to Ludhiana. The town of Ludhiana was already a major hub of the Indian bicycle business and an important textile center. The Munjals slowly spread their bicycle component distribution network in other parts of the country and became one of India's largest bicycle parts suppliers. In 1952 Munjals made a shift from supplying to manufacturing. They started manufacturing handlebars, front forks and chains.

In 1956, the Punjab state government announced the issue of twelve new industrial licenses to make bicycles in Ludhiana. The Munjal brothers cashed on this opportunity. Helped by the Punjab government financing of Rs 600,000 to supplement their own limited capital resources, the Munjals set up Hero Cycles. Hero Cycles was registered as a 'large-scale industrial unit' and it initially produced 7,500 units per year.

Soon Hero Cycles started giving well-established players such as Raleigh, Hind Cycles, and Atlas Cycles a run for their money. The hero cycle was comparatively cheaper and was sturdy and reliable. It gave the customers value for their money.

In January 1984, Japan's Honda, the world's largest manufacturer of motorcycles, elicited interest in collaborating with the Hero Group to manufacture motor cycles in India. An agreement was signed and on 13 April 1985, the first Hero Honda motorbike was rolled out. Today, the company is the largest manufacturer of motorcycles in the world.

For his outstanding contribution to the success of Hero Group, B.M. Munjal was honored with Ernst & Young's Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2001
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Re: Indian Heroes : Indian Entrepreneurs/BIOGRAPHIES - December 28th, 2006

Born: April 10, 1894
Achievement: Laid the foundations of the Birla Empire; founder of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

Ghanshyam Das Birla is considered as a doyen of Indian Industry. He was the man who laid the foundations of the Birla Empire. G.D. Birla was a multi-faceted personality. He was a close associate of Mahatma Gandhi and advised Gandhiji on economic policies. He was the most important pre-Independence contributor to the Indian National Congress. Ghanshyam Das Birla was the founder of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI). He is also popularly known as the builder of Birla Mandirs.

Born on April 10, 1894, G.D. Birla, was a native of Pilani. His grandfather Shiv Narayan Birla was a traditional marwari moneylender. Ghanshyam Das Birla entered the business arena during the time of First World War. He established a cotton mill in Sabzi Mandi, and later on established Keshoram Cotton Mills. Along with cotton mills he diversified to jute business and shifted his base to Calcutta city in Bengal, the world's largest jute producing region. He established Birla Jute Mills in Bengal, much to the consternation of established European merchants.

In 1919, with an investment of Rs. 50 lakhs, the Birla Brothers Limited was formed and a mill was set up in Gwalior. In 1930s, G.D. Birla set up Sugar and Paper mills. In 1940s, he ventured into the territory of cars and established Hindustan Motors. After independence, Ghanshyam Das Birla invested in tea and textiles through a series of acquisitions of erstwhile European companies. He also expanded and diversified into cement, chemicals, rayon and steel tubes.

Ghanshyam Das Birla also founded several educational institutions. Birla Institute of Technology and Sciences (BITS) Pilani has today evolved into one of India's best engineering schools. He also established many temples, planetariums, and hospitals. Ghanshyam Das Birla died in 1983 at the age of 90. In his honour, G.D. Birla award for scientific Research has been established to encourage scientists for their contribution in the various fields of scientific Research.
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Re: Indian Heroes : Indian Entrepreneurs/BIOGRAPHIES - December 28th, 2006

Achievement: Man behind the hugely successful brand, Nirma.

Karsanbhai Patel is the man behind the hugely successful brand, Nirma. His' is a legendary rags to riches journey during which he shattered established business theories and rewrote new ones.

Karsanbhai Khodidas Patel (K.K. Patel) came from a humble farmer family from Mehsana, Gujarat. He worked as Lab Assistant in the Geology and Mining Department of the Government of Gujarat. In 1969, at the age of 25, Karsan Bhai Patel started a small-scale enterprise. He offered a quality detergent powder, using indigenous technology, at a third of the prevailing price, without compromising on the product. Karsanbhai named the detergent powder Nirma after daughter Nirupama.

At that time domestic detergent market was limited only to premium segment and was dominated by MNCs. Karsanbhai Patel started door-to-door selling of Nirma and priced it at Rs. 3 per kg. The next available cheapest brand in the market at that time was Rs.13 per kg. Nirma revolutionized the whole detergent powder segment and in a short span of time created an entirely new market segment in the domestic detergent sector market. It gave the bigger established brands a run for their money and soon occupied the top market share. To add to all this, Nirma was made of an innovative formulation, which global detergent giants were later on compelled to emulate, it was phosphate free and hence environment friendly, and the process of manufacturing was labour intensive, which offered large scale employment.

Karsanbhai notched up one success after another. After establishing its leadership in economy-priced detergents, Nirma foray into the premium brand segment, in cakes and detergents was equally successful. It built up a 30% market share in the premium detergent segment and achieved a greater than 20% share in the premium soaps market.

Karsanbhai Patel has won many accolades on his way to success. The Federation of Association of Small Scale Industries of India, New Delhi, awarded him with the 'Udyog Ratna'. The Gujarat Chamber of Commerce felicitated him as an 'Outstanding Industrialist of the Eighties'. The Govt. of India twice appointed him Chairman of the Development Council for Oils, Soaps & Detergents.
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