Real Business secured an invitation to the presentation of Business India’s Businessman of the Year award to Mahindra & Mahindra managing director Anand Mahindra. The family automotive business is one of India’s largest companies, set up in 1945 by brothers KC Mahindra and JC Mahindra, and Ghulam Mohammed. Later, Mohammed migrated to Pakistan and became the country’s first finance minister.
Anand Mahindra’s acceptance speech was a remarkable insight into Indian business values and the enduring role of family in business:
"The history of Mahindra is a microcosm of the history of India… Our company was born in 1945, infused with the ideasl and aspirations of an imminently independent India. And our path closely tracked India’s path, from initial entrepreneurship, through paralysis imposed by socialism to a painstaking reinvention motivated by economic reform."
"My prime task as a CEO [is] to make everyone in the company feel and believe that they are the management."
"Cynics believe that values are a frill, an add-on, a nice-to-have. My experience has been, over and over again, that core values are the bedrock on which you build a sustainable business."
"Our country has three great strengths that make it a ‘3-D’ economy. Firstly, her democracy. Raucous, chaotic but effective… Second, her demography, her youthful population, which makes her desirable both as a supplier and as a potential consumer market. And lastly, her durability. In the volatile South Asian region, India is a beacon of stability and a model for change without chaos.
"Indian entrepreneurs today also enjoy ‘3-Cs’. Firstly, capital, to which we finally have access… Secondly, competence, in the form of a whole new generation of highly educated, adaptive and experienced managers… And thirdly, critical mass. With consistent economic growth, the Indian market is maturing into one of the largest and most robust in the world."