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Mr. Nusli Wadia

Mr. Nusli Wadia

Mr. Nusli Wadia 

Reading success stories of greatest professionals stimulates motivational enzyme within us and we all wish to emulate them on path of success.

Exactly with this aim  MBARendezvous.com - India's content lead MBA website is presenting you series of success stories of Professionals who have   carved niche in their own way and have become icons of Management Fraternity. 

Following above you will read today success story of Mr. Nusli Wadia : 

Hailed as one of the savviest businessmen in the corporate arena, Mr. Nusli Wadia is the chairman and majority owner of Bombay Dyeing, a prominent Indian textile company. The Indian Parsi entrepreneur is the son of Neville and Dina Wadia, and the grandson of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, founder of Pakistan. With vast holdings in the real estate across Mumbai, the Wadia Group stands at a whopping Rs. 6,157 crore and has one of the largest land banks in the city of Mumbai.

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Mr. Wadia has been famously known for his close proximity to Lal Krishna Advani and Atal Bihari Vajpayee, when the BJP was in power. The Economic Times once described Wadia as "the epitome of South Bombay's old money and genteel respectability."

Though related to Jinnah, Wadia had a convoluted background. He was born as a Christian but later converted to Zoroastrian to settle in the industrially wealthy Parsi community of Mumbai. For his schooling Nusli was sent to a public school in England (Rugby) where, from all accounts, he was a bit of a failure though he holds a Ph.D in Chemical Engineering from University of Florida, U.S.A.

He came back to India, interrupting his studies, and was put to work on the shop floor. In a short span of time, he proved to be an astute and imaginative businessman and his major contribution to Bombay Dyeing was the introduction of the retail shops and the development of the brand.

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Mr. Wadia has been the Chairman and Director of the Bombay Dyeing and Manufacturing Company Limited since 1977 and 1968 respectively. He has been Chairman of the board of Bombay Burmah Trading Corp. Ltd. since July 27, 1982 and a Director since October 28, 1980.

He was appointed on the Prime Minister's Council on Trade & Industry in 1998, 1999 & 2000. He was the Convener of the Special Group Task Force on Food and Agro Industries Management Policy in September, 1998. He was a Member of the Special Subject Group to review regulations and procedures to unshackle Indian Industry and on the Special Subject Group on Disinvestment.

All throughout his life, Mr Wadia carried the badge of being a feisty fighter as nothing came to him easily. The biggest battle that Nusli fought was with his own father, Neville Wadia. In 1971, the senior Wadia announced his decision to sell Bombay Dyeing to Kolkata-based industrialist R P Goenka and settle abroad.

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But the 26-year-old Nusli ignored his father’s advice that they could live like lords in Switzerland with the money. With the help from his mother Dina and mentor such as J R D Tata, whom he considered as an alternate father figure, Nusli began by garnering 11 per cent of the company shares and went on to persuade the employees to pool their savings and buy shares to prevent the sale. The ploy worked and Neville was forced to abandon the sale. The Goenkas were told that the deal was off. Few years later Nusli succeeded his father to become the chairman of the flagging enterprise.

The Wadias are one of India’s most distinguished business families. But like the other great Parsi houses (among them, the Tatas and the Godrejs), they have always prided themselves on doing business honestly, on never paying bribes, and on never dealing in black money.

By the late 1970s, Bombay Dyeing was still the biggest and best textile company in India. But it was no longer the one that everyone talked about. The tug of war between Wadia and Ambani became a part of corporate folklore and was famously known as the ‘Polyester War’.

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It was a battle that involved not just the two of them but also many politicians, including then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and his Finance Minister V P Singh, and two media groups- the Indian Express and Observer. Wadia was tied up in the courts for two years.  His passport was confiscated and was issued with a deportation order. After 42 court hearings and 2,500 pages of interrogation, Wadia won.

The 1990s were a crucial decade for Mr. Wadia. He was no longer a major preoccupation for the Ambanis: they were now so big that they had simply outgrown him. Wadia had to prove that he knew how to run a business. Rebuilding the textile business proved tricky but an investment in Bombay Burmah yielded a gold mine in terms of hidden assets. And then, there was the cookie affair, Britannia.
Nusli had always dreamt of entering the biscuit business and had negotiated with the ailing Huntley and Palmer biscuits to take over Britannia in India. But Huntley and Palmer itself was taken over by American cookie giant Nabisco and though Nusli met the Nabisco brass through his friend (and partner in a cashew company), Rajan Pillai, and seemed to have struck up a deal whereby he would still get to buy Britannia, the Americans later changed their minds. They kept Britannia and installed Rajan Pillai as the chairman.

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Pillai took the French group Danone as his partners but the two soon fell out with Danone accusing Pillai of cheating.
Sensing the vacuum Nusli entered the scene, this time as Danone’s new Indian partner. After a bruising legal and media battle, Pillai was ousted and Wadia finally got his heart’s desire: the control of Britannia. Mr. Wadia became the Non-Executive Chairman of the Board of Britannia Industries Limited. He served on the board of Britannia Industries Limited on 5th September 1993 and has been the Chairman of the Company since 8th September 1993. It is a company that has grown rapidly and today, with a market capitalization of around Rs 2,000 crore and a profitability of Rs 175 crore, it is doing better than Bombay Dyeing.

Apart from this the textile magnate has made a name for himself in public affairs and has been actively associated with leading charitable institutions. He is also on the Managing Committee of the Nehru Centre, Mumbai. A self-styled gladiator Wadia, who has been in the corporate arena for nearly three decades, is much respected for his financial acumen and legal expertise.

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A quintessential workaholic Mr. Wadia believes in living a relatively simple lifestyle. He is said to do much of his own cooking and though he spends a great deal of time in London, he loves holidaying in Goa. His greatest passion is cricket and he rarely makes a statement-literally or metaphorically.

Married to Maureen Wadia, a former airhostess, who heads Gladrags Magazine they have two sons: Ness and Jehangir. The Wadia Group patriarch has reorganized his business empire among his two sons. While Ness Wadia is the managing director of Bombay Dyeing and co-owner of Kings XI Punjab team in the IPL, Jeh heads the Go Air and has managed to survive despite cut-throat competition in the domestic aviation space. In 2011 due to a reshuffle, Jeh took over as the Managing Director of Bombay Dyeing while Ness shifted to GoAir.

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