harsh mariwala: Handing over reins of Marico to a professional was a psychological sacrifice: Harsh Mariwala – The Economic Times

lipped from: https://economictimes.indiatimes.com/news/company/corporate-trends/handing-over-reins-of-marico-to-a-professional-was-a-psychological-sacrifice-harsh-mariwala/articleshow/87707468.cmsSynopsis

“Marico has transitioned successfully from a family managed business to a strategic investor-driven one,” he said. Mariwala spoke to ET as part of discussions on his successful book “Harsh Realities: The Making of Marico” written during the Covid lockdown that shares his entrepreneurial journey and struggles at the heart of Marico’s transformation.

Harsh Mariwala founded Marico in 1987, turned it into an ₹8,000-crore FMCG company, and now, he says, he’s realised his dream of transforming it from a founder owned and led organisation to a professionally-managed one. His son, Rishabh who was part of operations very briefly earlier, will now be the trustee of the family-owned majority holdings and business in perpetuity. The promoter family will play the role of a strategic investor that drives the board.

“Marico has transitioned successfully from a family managed business to a strategic investor-driven one,” he said. Mariwala spoke to ET as part of discussions on his successful book “Harsh Realities: The Making of Marico” written during the Covid-led lockdown in 2020 that shares his entrepreneurial journey and struggles at the heart of Marico’s transformation from a commodity player to a successful multinational with multiple brands.

Mariwala also writes about his biggest challenge to stick to an extremely difficult decision to step down as Marico’s managing director in 2014, while continuing to serve as chairman.

The Mariwala family had to prepare themselves for this transition from a larger-than-life entrepreneur passing on the reins to a professional. It was what Mariwala calls a “psychological sacrifice“.

“As promoters, we are on the board, me and my son Rishabh to influence and guide operations,” he told ET. But Marico’s MD is in charge, and is an empowered leader, and, Mariwala added, there is no confusion between the roles of chairman and MD.

Mariwala says that he and Marico’s CEO & MD Saugata Gupta have worked together for 10 years, and have partnered well. “It has been easier for me having an insider; he understands the organisational culture goals and purpose. We are set for the next three to five years and going ahead we will take a decision when the time comes,” he says.

Breaking free from the joint family-run Bombay Oils Industries, Mariwala founded Marico to eventually turn it into a multinational FMCG company owning brands such as Parachute, Saffola, Mediker, Revive, Setwet. He naturally faced stiff opposition from family patriarchs for suggesting a split but roped in his cousins, mostly his contemporaries, who understood his point of view and supported the move.

It was his long-time mentor and management guru Ram Charan, who guided him through the family split both emotional and financial during which he faced challenges in buying out the stake. “[Charan advised] me to protect Marico’s resource generating businesses and ensuring board effectiveness,” says Mariwala.

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