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Tata Director’s presence on Board to boost Hemas growth, regional foray

Comments / 1791 Views / Thursday, 19 April 2012 01:49

Hemas Holdings Plc is confident that contributions and insights from its newest Director on the Board, R. Gopalakrishnan, a top executive from Tata Sons and formerly from Hindustan Unilever will help the local conglomerate’s growth via acquisitions as well as forays into the region.

Hemas last week announced the appointment of Gopalakrishnan, Director of Tata Sons Ltd. as a non-executive Director to its Board. Gopalakrishnan is also Chairman of four Tata companies - Tata Auto-Component Systems Ltd., Rallis India Ltd., Metahelix Life Sciences Ltd. and Advinus Therapeutics Ltd.

Hemas Holdings Chief Executive Husein Esufally told the Daily FT that the presence of Gopalakrishnan on the Board will be a major boost.

“He (Gopalakrishnan) has been a part of the Tata story since the turn of the century when the company moved from being an India-centric company to being a global player with revenues of $83.3 billion (in 2010/11). Hopefully, he can contribute towards helping Hemas grow exponentially in the years to come,” Esufally said. “Much of Tata’s growth came through an acquisition strategy which we intend to pursue more aggressively.”“As we look to expand regionally, Gopal’s worldwide experience and high level contacts will be invaluable,” added the CEO of Hemas, one of Sri Lanka’s leading conglomerates with a focus on five key sectors - FMCG, healthcare, transportation, leisure and power generation.

Since Gopalakrishnan had also spent over three decades at Hindustan Unilever, Esufally said his wisdom will help Hemas’s FMCG and other consumer centric businesses immensely.

“One of Tata’s greatest successes was in creating superior shareholder value whilst operating a diversified portfolio of businesses.

This is a challenge facing most conglomerates and we could benefit from his deep insights of the Tata model,” the Hemas CEO noted.

He also said that philosophically, Hemas share many common values with Tata, in terms of corporate values and ethics. “We look forward to his guidance on these aspects as well,” Esufally emphasised.

Corporate analysts have hailed Hemas’s success in inviting an Indian business leader of Gopalakrishnan’s calibre to its Board.

Apart from his existing positions at Tata, Gopalakrishnan also serves as Vice Chairman of Tata Chemicals, is a Director of Tata Power and Tata Technologies and is an independent Director on the boards of the Indian subsidiaries of Akzo Nobel and Castrol India.

Since 1967, Gopalakrishnan has worked as a professional manager with 31 years in Hindustan Unilever and 13 years in Tata.

He studied physics at the University of Calcutta and engineering at IIT Kharagpur before joining Hindustan Unilever as a trainee.

He has served Unilever as Chairman of Unilever Arabia, as Managing Director of Brooke Bond Lipton India and as Vice Chairman of Hindustan Lever Limited.

Gopal is a past President of the All India Management Association.

In 2007, he authored his first book, ‘The Case of the Bonsai Manager’ published by Penguin India. In 2010, his second book titled ‘When the Penny Drops’ was also published by Penguin India.

He is also a guest lecturer in India and abroad while his articles have been published widely. He has taught a credit course titled ‘LWNT - Learning What’s Not Taught’ at IIM, Ahmedabad, Great Lakes Institute, Chennai and XIM, Bhubaneshwar.


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