Gautam Thapar Biography

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Gautam Thapar Factsheet

Gautam Thapar
NameGautam Thapar
Born onDecember 07, 1960
Place of BirthIndia
Works forAvantha Group
PositionChairman and CEO
Spouse(s)Maharajkumari Preeti Devi (Divorced 1993) Stephanie Thapar
Father of4 children

Personal Background of Gautam Thapar

A third generation child, Gautam belongs to the old business family of The Thapar Group, founded by his grandfather Karam Chand Thapar.

His father, Brij Mohan Thapar refused his grandfather's offer of heading the business, stating lack of ability as a reason.

It finally landed into his uncle's hands (Lalit Mohan Thapar younger brother of Brij Mohan Thapar), who promised to pass the family business to his eldest brother's son, eliminating Gautam from the business hierarchy, altogether.

He studied at Doon School, and completed his higher education in the field of Chemical Engineering in the US, at the Pratt Institute.

He realized that his grandfather extended the grudge that he held against his father, towards himself as well, and considered him a 'dead branch' of the healthy family tree. At this moment, he resolved to visit the US and find his destiny over there, rather than shrivel off under his unpopular repute.

While in the US, he failed to find himself a suitable job, saw his visa running out, and succumbed to the situation by returning back to India. He married Rajkumari Preeti Devi, but their marriage failed to work out and they divorced each other in 1993. Stephanie, his second wife, is a German and together they have two daughters. He is a father of 4 children.

Virtues of Gautam Thapar
  • An ethical businessman, Gautam is acutely conscious of his responsibility towards society.
  • He has invested in education, by presiding over Thapar University, a top technical school of India, and also heading the Aspen Institute India.
  • An avid golfer, he is the president of the Professional Golf Tour of India (PGTI), and actively organizes various events for it.
  • His fortune is not inherited, but earned and today, he justifiably calls himself ' an entrepreneur’, in the true sense of the word.

Gautam Thapar's Career

  • He started his journey, by assisting in a manufacturing unit of the Thapar Group- Avantha Group.
  • Slowly, he got around the working mechanisms of the group, and set out to put everything in order.
  • He first grabbed attention of his uncle Lalit Mohan,by turning around the fortunes of the Group's ailing company, Andhra Pradesh Rayons (APR) , and went forward with nurturing the group company BILT's new export-oriented business, dealing in leather, shoes and foods.
  • The management style followed by the Thapar Group failed to impress Gautam, and he stated that loud and clear. His uncle Lalit Mohan
  • Thapar, impressed by his courageous attitude handed over to him the BILT's chemical division which was suffering with heavy losses.
  • Gautam found out the root causes of the losses suffered by the BLIT's chemical division and identified labor agitations and shortages of water and power as the main causes behind it. He then successfully turned it into a profit-making unit by selling off certain assets and dealing firmly with the labor, that too within a year.
  • His uncle, L.M Thapar, remained a bachelor all his life, but developed affectionate and reverential feelings for Gautam. He handed over his business empire, along with his shares and voting rights to his nephew on his retirement.
  • On July 1, 2006, Gautam rose to the position of the chairperson of the Avantha Group.

Problems faced by Gautam Thapar

  • Acknowledging the fact, that the group's succession would eventually befall his cousin, Vikram, he went on working hard towards helping the company obtain dominant status in its key operating sectors.
  • In the years 1995-98, an Indonesian based paper giant entered the Indian markets, resulting in BILT falling into a debt of 700 crore.
  • At this point of time, Gautam put his business skills into practical use and took up immediate bold actions of loss-recovery.
  • He first shut down all other businesses and then repaid the loan by selling BILT's chemical business to APR and one-third family holding to a friend.
  • He has basically revived the BILT and Crompton greaves.

Awards and Achievements of Gautam Thapar

  • Born into the wealthy Thapar family, Gautam was expected to have an easy ascent to the top.
  • Life turned challenging for him, when at a young age, he was considered a liability to the family business, who would like a 'dead branch' live off the hard work of his family members.
  • Rising up from this state of affairs, he made a mark for himself through reviving certain sick units of the company into profitable ventures.
  • Marching forward, breaking all societal and familial norms and expectations, today he stands as the undisputed king of the family business- the Avantha Group.
  • Along the way, he has earned many awards to honor his hard work, such as.
  • The Ernst & young entrepreneur of the year award for manufacturing in 2008.
  • He is also the President of All India Management association (AIMA), the highest body of professional management in India.

Avantha Group- Company Profile

  • Avantha Group, is worth US $ 4 billion, and stands out amongst the country's largest business conglomerates.
  • Today, the group holds Crompton Greaves, Ballarpur Industries Limited (BILT), Tiger Bay restaurant, Global Green, Solaris Chemtech.
  • It is engaged in profitable businesses including power generation and distribution, power transmission and distribution equipment and services, farming, forestry, food processing, chemicals, infrastructure, paper and pulp and BPO.
  • It employs 20,000 people in fifteen countries worldwide.
  • 'Globalisation' is the group's new mantra. It is focusing on acquiring foreign companies.
  • In 2005, Crompton Greaves took over Belgium based power transformer maker Pauwels.
  • In 2008, Global Greens acquired Hungarian Foods Company Puszta Konzerv.
  • Avantha Group aims to achieve revenues worth US $ 10 billion and market capitalization worth US $ 25 billion by the year 2013.
Last Updated on June 8 2015