If you jot down the leading businessmen or philanthropists of India, one name you can find to be common in both the lists - Mr Anand Mahindra. Here's an anecdote.
Well, most of you would have heard about Anand Mahindra. But do you know the inspirational journey behind his success? No? Don't worry. We got you covered. In this article, you will get to know the challenges faced by him and how he overcame all of them to become the billionaire business tycoon we know today.
The Mahindra You Didn't Know!
Born in Mumbai in 1955, Anand Mahindra was the third generation of the industrialist family. He was born to Harish and Indira Mahindra. His grandfather was Jagdish Mahindra, the co-founder of the empire of Mahindra and Mahindra (M&M).
He completed his schooling at Lawrence School in Lovedale. Afterwards, he went to study film making and architecture. But it looks like that the fields were not his cup of tea. So, he completed his MBA from the Harvard Business School in 1981.
You would be surprised to know that Anand Mahindra and Bill Gates were classmates! What's more, he had a grudge against Gates! Because his daughter called him a loser because of Bill Gates.
He started his career as an Executive Assistant (Finance) in Mahindra Ugine Steel Company Ltd (MUSCO), soon after completing his MBA. After eight years, he got promoted to the position of President and Deputy Managing Director. He led to diversification in uncharted areas, like real estate development and hospitality management.
The Inception of M&M
Initially, the company was known as Muhammad and Mahindra. Its primary business was steel trading in 1945. After India got independence, their partner Muhammad emigrated to Pakistan (and became the first Finance Minister!).
Afterwards, Harikrishan and Jayakrishan Mahindra renamed it Mahindra and Mahindra. They were quick enough to grab the opportunity of manufacturing Jeep for the second world war. It helped them to establish M&M as the Jeep manufacturer of India.
It was a new beginning for the company on 4th April 1991, when Anand Mahindra became the Deputy Managing Director of M&M Ltd.
Challenges and setbacks Faced
One of the biggest challenges Anand Mahindra faced was when he was assigned the work of M&M's Kandivali Factory in 1991. At that time, there was a strike of the worker's union. They had surrounded his office and could not be controlled. You would guess that Anand Mahindra fulfilled their demands. After all, employees are the most valuable asset of the company, aren't they?
But you wouldn't believe what he did. Instead of giving up to the demands, he took the smart way. He announced that there would be no Diwali bonus if the workers didn't get back to work. Who would have thought that such a move could curb the strikes? Anyway, it increased the productivity gains of the company from 50% to 150%!
After this serious challenge, the Mahindra Group also faced another problem. This time, a bigger one. They lacked the technology to build a car from scratch. So, they entered into a joint venture with Ford. Unfortunately, the Escort car failed when it launched in the markets. But Anand Mahindra didn't lose hope.
Afterwards, he set his feet on a suicide mission. It was producing a vehicle, that too, without a joint venture. Any rational man would not have opted to do so, as their former product failed, even after working with a multinational automaker like Ford. But he defied all odds.
Can you guess the result? It led to the birth of Scorpio, the SUV - a storm in the markets. What's more, the project cost of production was just Rs 550 Crore. It was a tenth of the cost for other auto manufacturers!
Its popularity was not just limited to the country. There was international demand for the vehicle as well, in the European and African countries. You wouldn't believe that SUV was so popular that it penetrated the market with a 36% market share! Whereas Tata Group could only manage 5%. It was the first step towards modern utility vehicles like XUV, KUV, and many more.
The Rise of Mahindra
By 2009, Mahindra and Mahindra had become famous among the Indian households. And a billion-dollar business as well. They proved that Indians are second to none. But the company believed that it needed to rebrand itself. So, they suffixed the slogan "Rise" after the name. It led to the origin of 'Mahindra Rise.'
The Chronology of Acquisitions
M&M has a long list of acquisitions. Its first acquisition was a 100% stake in Gujarat Tractors Ltd, a fully-owned company of the Government of Gujarat. It was completed in 1999. After eight years, M&M acquired Punjab Tractor Ltd, making it the world's largest tractor manufacturer.
The last decade was a golden period for the company, with many acquisitions taking place. They acquired REVA Electric Car Company in 2010, SsangYong Motor Company in 2011, and a one-third stake in Mitsubishi Agricultural Machinery in 2015 to expand their investments worldwide. After all, expansion is also an integral business objective.
But it didn't stop in 2015. The company made many more acquisitions in the coming years. It looks like they want to invest in every corner of the world that deals in automobiles.
The Mahindra Today
Due to the remarkable efforts of Anand Mahindra, M&M has become the market leader in the tractor and light commercial vehicle segment. Besides automobiles, it enjoys a leading position in the IT, financial services, and vacation ownership sectors. It has an international reach, operating in 72 countries and a business presence in more than 100 countries.
Anand Mahindra married Anuradha, a journalist. She was the editor of 'Verve' magazine. They have two daughters: Divya and Aalika Mahindra. He has a keen interest in films and photography. He also appreciates arts and culture by setting up award platforms and craft exhibitions. He also advocates humanities and charity. He founded Project Nanhi Kali to provide primary education to underprivileged girls. He is a part of the Naandi Foundation as well.
If you have read so far, you would have got an idea of what a marvellous person Anand Mahindra is. To recognize his achievements, he has won several awards and recognitions in recent years. It is such a long list that we can write another blog just on this topic. Also, his tweets are famous all over Twitter.
Anand Mahindra left the position of Executive Chairman at M&M. And became non-executive Chairman in April 2020. But his legacy led to the current state of the company, which continues even now. It is a fact that no one can deny.
Legends like Mr Mahindra are born once in a century. But their life has a lot to offer if you scan deep. Perseverance, commitment and knowledge can take you very far.
In the end, remember that there are no secrets to success. It is the result of sheer preparation, hard work, and learning. So, stop procrastinating and take the first step to create your success story.
Anyway, what is that one thing you feel is a takeaway for you from the story of Mr Mahindra? Let us know in the comments below