A book Family Business Founders must read

As we exit the year 2021 here is a recently published book I recommend about turning around a traditional family-run business into a professionally managed world-class listed company. This book is co-authored by the world-famous management guru and author Prof. Ram Charan who has been a mentor and coach to many Fortune 100 CEOs.

This is the success story of Harsh Mariwala who built an 8000 crore turnover company – Marico – from scratch. Born in 1951 in a business family hailing from Kutch Gujarat he joined the family business of bulk oil trading. He felt “boxed in” and “suffocated” in his traditional family business of trading in bulk coconut oil. There were no clear roles & responsibilities and all his cousins were stepping on each other’s toes in one big joint family where all assets were owned together. All his attempts to professionalize the company were stonewalled by the traditional mindset of the seniors in the family. He struggled to separate and get control of his new venture.

It took 2 frustrating years to split all the jointly owned assets and this was made possible with help from a respected and mutually trusted outside mediator.

Once he got full operational control of his company he started off by hiring talent from the best companies in the country. In his humble empowering style he built an open transparent culture which turned out to be his competitive advantage. Whenever confronted by seemingly insurmountable obstacles in his path he sought advice from his mentor and coach Prof Ram Charan. He went on to build a world-class consumer products company with brands like Parachute & Saffola by beating back attacks by established multinationals like Unilever.

Marico has founded in 1990 and in the first 10 years its turnover went up from 80 Crores in 1990 to 648 crores in 2000…..a CAGR of 24%. In 2021 the turnover crossed 8000 Crores.

How he handled succession – when none of his 2 children were keen to step into his shoes – is another lesson in professional management.

“Marico is an outstanding example of an Indian Multinational comparable to the best-in-class global consumer companies”

Uday Kotak, MD & CEO, Kotak Mahindra Bank

Wishing you a Happy New Year!

Harsh Chopra

More about our Family Business Program