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Marico’s master mentor, Harsh Mariwala has involved in engineering seamless transmission of the executive responsibilities among the professionals at Marico, which is a FMCG giant. Harsh Mariwala has identified a right time for pursuit of goals moving a step further from the professional work, specifically giving the society in a better and much stronger way than that provides in the previous decades. An Indian entrepreneur, who is the founder and Chairman of Marico is, Harsh Mariwala. Harsh Mariwala is considered as the master mentor behind Marico. It was in 2012-13 that, Mariwala was successful in transforming Marico from revolution state to evolution state.

An inquisitive entrepreneur with an open mind is Harsh Mariwala. Mariwala is considered as one of the most outstanding entrepreneurs who possess the ability to transfer innovation into relentless excellence towards execution.

Early Career ...

Harsh joined his family business at an early age way back in 1971 itself. In 1975, Mariwala started his own consumer product business. Marico was founded in 1990 as a manufacturer and distributor of FMCG and immediately has lead to the growth of two of the major brands of those times, Parachute coconut oil and Saffola refined oil. Marico has widely spread across 25 different countries across Africa and Asia. Harsh is also the founder of Kaya Limited, which includes a chain of skin care clinics spread across Middle East and India. It was in 2003, that Mariwala could identify an opportunity in the skin care clinic and thus founded Kaya, which constitutes a subsidiary of Marico. Later Kaya was also separated from Marico and was listed as a separate entity. The wide spread of Kaya with almost 107 skin care clinics, providing a range of 54 products related to skin care depicts the successful expansion and growth of Kaya, under the leadership of Mariwala.

Harsh serves on different Boards and on different memberships. Mariwala is connected to about 74 board members serving for 11 different organizations which are spread across 19 different industries. Harsh Mariwala was also elected as the president of FICCI and served different positions as FMCGH Committee Chairman of FICCI.

Challenges faced in the moves ...

It was in 1990 that Marico was separated from the family-owned business and has transformed into a professionally-managed company. The shift was not that easy for Mariwala. There was lot many things to do and face many challenges, to put in simple words, Mariwala felt like reinventing himself.

The transformation of family business into a commodity business brand has lead Mariwala face many challenges. Identification and attraction of the talent was the main challenge at the initial stages. Good talent is more essential than too much capital for any FMCG. The location of the office was not conducive for attracting talent. There was a need to add more value-added brands and products for the survival of Marico. This process was not done in a single go, but was done in steps. Once the journey has gone from the basic products to value added products, the distribution was expanded to rural Indian market and also into international markets. Even after expansion and adding more value-added products, still Mariwala insist on maintain the enough share of strong brands and thus retain profits.

The working style of Mariwala is that Mariwala maintains a register that explicitly outlines the role of Mariwala as the chairman. The register lists out the activities for which Mariwala is responsible such as strategic business planning, leadership development, acquisitions and divestments, strengthen the Marico board and crisis management.

Leadership strategies ...

Vision, well-outlined processes accompanied by the open-door policy for meeting the investors and shareholders are the main pillars built by Mariwala upon which the brand called Marico stands strong and leans towards success.

In the process of transforming a small business into commodity brand business, Mariwala has to reinvent himself, which made him decide on helping the budding entrepreneurs to transform, which stands as the main intention behind ASCENT. A peer-to-peer learning platform was also set up which helped the entrepreneurs to learn from each other.

Some of the Mariwala’s strategies behind the tremendous growth of two brands are some of his small and creative innovations such as replacement of metal tins with attractive and colorful plastic bottles, packaging in smaller denomination quantities. These innovations when combined with additional focus on advertising, marketing, distribution and human resources has enabled and established the two brands as market leaders in their respective groups.

Mariwala feels that management of stakeholders is one of the important aspects of entrepreneurship. Important focus area of Mariwala is on nurturing the next generation of entrepreneurs. In order to better under the challenges and assess with the best possible outcomes and solutions to the challenges, Mariwala meets a set of new entrepreneurs on a monthly basis for exchange of opinions.

Leadership success...

The leadership of Mariwala was successful as he found the right balance for dealing with the board, the CEO and his team. Mariwala’s passion for innovation and entrepreneurial drive has made him successful. In a span of 3 decades, Mariwala has malformed the traditional family business into one of the leading Consumer product commercial company in the areas of beauty and wellness space. The turnover of the company has grown from 50 Lakh rupees in 1971 to 6,300 crore rupees in 2017-18. Net worth of Harsh is around $4.2 billion. The growth of Marico is obvious from its wide spread presence in international markets such as Middle East, Vietnam, Malaysia and Bangladesh. Today Marico touches the lives of 1 out of every 4 Indians by its product portfolio. Almost 46 years of professional life of Mariwala, list out some of his strengths such as discipline and focus, willingness to learn, which contribute towards building Marico as a brand.

Under the leadership of Mariwala, even Kaya has become a market leader and grown tremendously earning about Rs. 400 crore turnover and wide spread with 125 clinics both domestic and international.

Focus area...

In order to establish Marico as a force to reckon with, the focus areas of Mariwala was always on innovation and he preferred making investments in brand building and empower the employees with a culture of values and trust. Mariwala always insists and ensures that organization should not leave talent and should take care of retaining the talent, concentrate on improving the customer service, the desires and wants of the investors have to be offered and looked into, make investments in technology and sales. These Mariwala feels that any organization will turn around. Entrepreneurship and strategizing come naturally to Mariwala. Most of the time, Mariwala spends for entrepreneurship-related activities, either for Ascent Foundation, or meeting new entrepreneurs.

His corporate social responsibility arm...

Marico Innovation Foundation (MIF), meant for supporting and nurturing the start-up businesses through mentoring and knowledge development and creation and Ascent Foundation, meant for providing a platform for entrepreneurs for exchange of insights, experiences and ideas depicts the CSR side of Harsh Mariwala. Mariwala Health Initiative (MHI), which mainly focus on supporting the mental health issues depict the philanthropic side of Mariwala. Mariwala also launched ASCENT – Accelerating the Scaling up of ENTerprises in order to recognize the potential entrepreneurs and enabling them in scaling-up their journey. ASCENT currently has a membership of around 500 entrepreneurs.

Personal life...

Harsh Mariwala has completed his bachelor’s degree in Business/Commerce from Sydenham College of Commerce and Economics, Mumbai India. Harsh is married to Archana and they have two children Rajvi and Rishabh. Each and every day of Harsh is well-chalked out with review meetings and regarding initiatives.

Awards and accolades...

In 2007, Forbes has ranked Harsh as the 33rd wealthiest man in India.
In 2007 and 2009, Best Business Leadership Award in FMCG IN Personal Hygiene Category was awarded by NDTV Profit.
Business Today has rated Marico as one of the India’s most innovative companies.
Mariwala conquered the ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ award in the category of for 2008 by Ernst & Young.
Mariwala has been awarded as ‘Talent Management Award’ by the CNBC India in 2009.
Harsh was awarded as the ‘Teacher’s Achievement Award’ and ‘CEO with HR Orientation’ in business in the year 2006.
In 2007, Asia Pacific HRM Congress has honored Mariwala with ‘Global Excellence HR Award’.

His two cents for future entrepreneurs...

The categories in which the company believes has a ‘right to win’, has to be chosen, no matter even it has already won the market leadership and is into expansion.
Not to enter into highly penetrated segments and .
Where ever possible carry out the brand extensions.
In order to attract good talent, entrepreneurs need to create right employee value preposition.
Talent interaction is an important part of entrepreneur’s journey.
Business Model is part and parcel of the right to win.

Hope readers caught up the spark...