Kumar Mangalam Birla
Great men are characterised by their perseverance, acumen, proficiency and an impulse to succeed. Kumar Mangalam Birla, criticised and demurred initially, thrived on each of these characteristics, and is now the chairman of the Aditya Birla Group (since 1995). As the eighth youngest entrepreneur of the world, he took over the mantle of the huge industrial group at the age of 28 after the untimely demise of his father, Aditya Birla. From a group which had varied interests in textile and garments, cement, aluminum, fertilisers, etc., it soon became a multi-national corporation, venturing into the areas of telecom, software, BPO and others while consolidating its position in existing businesses.
When the whole world stood silent at the untimely demise of his father, Kumar Mangalam Birla was confident that he could raise the bar. The $2 billion company which was placed in his hands back in 1995 soon metamorphosed into a behemoth of $35 billion in just a little more than a decade. He has headed the whole expansion process of the group. From a venture which dealt marginally with Egypt, Thailand and Indonesia as its major centres, it took the world by storm as it entered more than 40 markets including Australia, UAE, Canada, Brazil, Germany, Italy, Spain, Hungary and China among others. A colossal 60 per cent of the group’s revenues now come from outside India and 1,30,000 people work all around the world to keep its businesses running.
Sincerity, more than anything else, has enabled him to mould his father’s legacy into India’s third largest business house today. A man who held himself morally obligated to succeed, an emotion that drove him to the very pinnacle of success. He is what people look up to, a business leader and a global Indian icon.