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SPARK OF THE CORPORATE

Kumar Mangalam Birla is a young and dynamic entrepreneur of India as well as the world, ranking eighth youngest billionaire of the world. He took up the reigns of huge business empire of Birla’s, as a chairman, at a tender age of 28yrs .Sudden demise of his father made him to take the crucial responsibility of heading the business. The group was named as Aditya Birla Group after Aditya Vikram Birla. The way Kumar Mangalam Birla expanded the business in the past two decades, demystified the thoughts of people who doubted his management skills.

Back in 1995, when Kumar Mangalam Birla took over the reins of the AV Birla group, the turnover was $2bn and the overseas operations accounted to a minor part, in Egypt, Thailand and Indonesia.

Under strong leadership of Kumar Mangalam Birla the group’s turnover spiraled up to $33bn, which is fifteen times the earlier revenue. Birla group has its wide spread operations across more than 40 countries including Australia, Dubai, and reaching out to North America, Canada, Brazil, Germany, Italy, Spain, Hungary and China. 60% of the revenues come from abroad and 1,30,000 people are being hired globally for their business operations.

Kumar Mangalam Birla being a powerful strategist and visionary could tap the potentials in business along various verticals and various geographies and with his boundless efforts and hard work he widened the business base of the giant conglomerate. He acquired 22 companies within past 15yrs within India and outside, but still stayed within their capabilities of management and to stay strong enough in business. Thus, Kumar Mangalam Birla carried the saga of Birla’s and took up the pride of Birla’s both in India and in Global arena.

Career Outlook

Kumar Mangalam Birla started his career as chairman of Aditya Birla Group, after his father in 1995. Before starting as chairman of the Birla group he was man of knowledge, intellect, perseverance and was independently handling Grasim's cement division, the fertilizer business of Indo-Gulf, and also a newly setup carbon black unit in Egypt. His father built companies from the scratch both in India and out of India. Before Kumara Mangalam Birla, most of the business was dependent on cyclic commodities.

As it came to the fourth generation, Kumar Mangalam Birla felt that the challenges have changed and the level and quality of competition has gone up. World has become small due to globalization and that there was a constant need of reinvention in business. As a response to all these challenges he shifted the focus of the business from commodity centric to customer centric. This gave a high competitive edge to the company.

Kumar Mangalam Birla has expanded business primarily through acquisitions, snapping up 22 companies in the past 15 years, both overseas and in India. The $6-billion acquisition of Canadian aluminium rolled product giant Novelis has been Birla's biggest takeover so far. He has also bought mines in Australia; Star Trading, a cement company in Dubai; and UltraTech Cement Ltd in India from Larsen and Toubro Ltd. Later he announced a deal to buy carbon black maker Columbian Chemicals Co for $875mn to become the biggest manufacturer of carbon black.

Kumar Mangalam Birla has a great interest and inclination to enter into new avenues of business and under his leader ship; the group entered new segments like business process outsourcing, in which Transworks-Minacs is the third largest third-party BPO outfit in the country, and Idea Cellular, market capitalization of which is over $8 billion, accounts now for almost a third of the group market cap.

Under Kumara Mangalam Birla the company made its name among the world's top ten producers of cement, aluminum. It also entered into sunrise sectors like cellulars, BPO, software and asset management. The major businesses include Grasim, Hindalco, Ultra-tech cement, Idea cellular and Aditya Birla Retail. By taking the advantage of globalization having seeded by his father, he built upon the inherited strong base and broadened the business platform of Birla group and accelerated the growth and development, and hence proved his abilities and efficiencies.

The group is today the world number one in viscose staple fibre; the world's largest single-location palm oil producer; Asia's largest integrated aluminium producer; a globally competitive, fast-growing copper producer; the world's third-largest producer of insulators; globally the fourth-largest producer of carbon black; the world's eighth-largest producer of cement and the largest in a single geography; India's premier branded garments player; among India's most energy efficient private sector fertilizer plants; India's second-largest producer of viscose filament yarn; the number two private sector insurance company and the fourth-largest asset management company in India.

The Fantastic Four

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THE FANTASTIC FOUR: Kumar Mangalam, Aditya Vikram, Ghanshyamdas and Basant Kumar

Kumar Mangalam Birla, the 40-year-old Chairman of the Aditya Birla Group, was born exactly20 years after his great grandfather, Ghanshyamdas Birla, set up Gwalior Rayon (now Grasim Industries) in 1947. Eighteen years after that, his grandfather, Basant Kumar Birla set up Century Enka. And when his late father, Aditya Vikram Birla, set up his first overseas venture Indo-Thai Synthetics in 1969, Kumar Mangalam was just two.

Even though Birla’s inherited the business, the Birla of each generation also established new business ventures. Kumar Mangalam Birla inherited Hindalco, Grasim and Indian rayon, where as the companies he started and acquired are Retail venture, Idea cellular, Ultratech cement, Trans work, Aditya Birla minerals, Birla Sun -life insurance and asset management.

Basant kumar Birla, Chairman of BK Birla Group, Grand father of Kumar Mangalam Birla said in his statement that “In terms of management style, the change from GhanshyamDas Birla to me was 10%, from me to Aditya 25%. But from Aditya to Kumar Mangalam Birla, it was 75%.

More about Kumar Mangalam Birla

Born14 June 1967 (age 44)
OccupationChairman of Aditya Birla Group
ResidenceMumbai, India
Country of citizenshipIndia
AlmamaterUniversity of Mumbai; BA/BS London Business School; MBA
ReligionHindu
EthnicityRajasthan
Marital StatusMarried
Children3
 
Birla

Kumar Mangalam Birla with his wife Neerja and Ananyashree & Aryaman Vikram

Kumar Mangalam Birla was born in, June; 1967, in a Marwari Birla business family from the state of Rajasthan. He spent most of his childhood in Calcutta and Mumbai. He was raised by his mother Rajashree Birla and his father Aditya Vikram Birla in a traditional manner with a deep rooted spirituality, a dedication and commitment to the society. His grandmother Sarala Devi, who was a strict disciplinarian when he was growing up, also moulded his outlook. His grandfather Basant Kumar Birla has always has been guiding force of his life.

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He is a charted accountant by profession. Kumar earned his commerce degree from HR College, Mumbai and he earned his MBA in HR, from the London Business School. He got married at the age of 22yrs with Neerja Kasliwal whose age was then only 18yrs and later had three children Ananyashree, Aryaman Vikram and Advaitesha.Kumar Mangalam Birla’s Wife Neerja oversees the Aditya Birla World Academy, a school in Mumbai tight money

The car Kumar Mangalam Birla uses is an olive green BMW 5 series sedan.

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Kumar Mangalam Birla worked with a commitment to the society and relentlessly shaped and reshaped the Aditya Birla Group, with his deep rooted knowledge in business dynamics and earned numerous awards which he deserved.

bulletMr. Birla was named the ‘CNN-IBN Indian of the Year 2010 – Business
bullet"Business Leader of the Year" at the AIMA Managing India Awards 2010 by the All India Management Association (AIMA).
bulletHe received Bombay Management Association's "Entrepreneur of the Decade Award – 2009
bulletHe bagged "JRD Tata Corporate Leadership Award – 2008"
bulletHe is conferred "The Corporate Role Model Award – 2008" by Amity International Business School, the Asia Pacific Global HR Excellence "
bulletHe was honored with “Exemplary Leader" Award, and NDTV's "Global Indian Leader of the Year" and "The Most Socially Responsible Leader" by Outlook business magazine in 2007.
bulletHe received Lakshmipat Singhania – IIM, Lucknow National Leadership Award – 2006.
bulletBusiness Leader was conferred on Mr. Birla by our Prime Minister.
bulletHe received the award of “Ernst and young Entrepreneur of India-2005”
bulletHe bagged the award of “Young super performer in CEO category” Business Today in 2005.
bullet“Udyoga Rathna” by chamber of commerce and industry 2005.
bulletTo "salute his entrepreneurial excellence and exemplary contribution to Indian business", AIMA conferred its "Honorary Fellowship" on him, and the National HRD Network named him "The Outstanding Businessman of the Year".

Memberships in Educational and Advisory Boards

Kumar Mangalam Birla also holds several key positions on various regulatory and professional boards, as a mark of excellence and contribution towards different social fields, other than business holdings.

On the academic front, Mr. Birla is the Chancellor of BITS, Pilani, Hyderabad, Goa and Dubai. He is a Director of the G. D. Birla Medical Research and Education foundation. He is on the Asian Regional Advisory Board of London Business School. He has been inducted on The Economic Times Corporate Advisory Board.

The memberships include; chairmanship of the advisory committee constituted by the ministry of company affairs for 2006 and 2007, membership of the prime minister of India's advisory council on trade and industry, chairmanship of the board of trade reconstituted by the union minister of commerce and industry, and membership of the Central Board of Directors of the Reserve Bank of India. He was also a member of the Organizing Committee for Commonwealth Games, Delhi 2010

KUMAR BIRLA SHARES 9 LESSONS

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Transformation is about turning aspirations into reality, converting setbacks into opportunities. Transformation, to me, is the end result of a highly energized process that combines human ingenuity with its indomitable spirit to make new things happen and create value

Kumar Mangalam Birla out of experience and sharp perception says that transformational process can be so absorbing that often its lessons reveal themselves long after its implementation. After heading the group’s journey over nearly a decade, he believed that they have changed in some very fundamental ways. He shares his 9 big lessons with us:

Lesson 1: For the organizations which are at the helm of change, to manage transformational process should take into consideration two major areas; one is the management of manage time effectively because an organization in a state of flux throws up many more demands on your time as compared to one in a steady state and second area is that of energy management because the process of change can be rather exhausting, both physically and mentally, and requires sustained levels of high energy over a prolonged period of time. Leadership all levels is necessary rather than only at the top level. This articulates people with exciting vision of future. So the first lesson has been that the process of change is perhaps 90% about leadership and only 10% about managing.

Lesson 2: Company for the first time in 1996, introduced rising Sun as the corporate identity, which simply would serve as corporate logo. Surprisingly the impact of the symbol was so powerful and strong. The lesson we learned is that symbolism can and does have a positive effect.
The Company for the first time in 1996, introduced rising Sun as the corporate identity, which simply would serve as corporate logo. Surprisingly the impact of the symbol was so powerful and strong. The lesson we learned is that symbolism can and does have a positive effect.
The learning was quite striking. The Rising Sun, in a strategic way, was the first positive step in process of change. The rising sun acted as a charismatic leader and brought different parts of the group together at the time of emotional turmoil. It also helped to reenergize and optimize people and get started on the path of change and served as a rallying point for the organization.

Lesson 3: The most important area to be addressed in any transformation or change process is communication, communication and more better and fast communication. Communication is the key for all things to happen. The process of communication can be boosted up by using technology. It is very important to customize the communication because it has to reach huge number of different audience within the organization and should be understood in right context, in the way it was intended.
So, the third takeaway was that, when you succeed in the process of transformation or change, it is because of your communication has worked.

Lesson 4: Most of the organizations believe that people of higher hierarchical levels and high performance are only important players in change process.
But, Kumar Mangalam Birla says, of course top people are important in change process, but the bulk of the organization are people who make the day-to-day, month-to-month, quarter-to-quarter things happen. Their role in the process of change is critical. 70% of any organization is made up of people who follow the rules, who keep it moving ahead at a steady pace. You cannot have everyone setting the rules. We need people who follow the rules, people who may not contribute in a significant way intellectually, but who are happy to implement the rules diligently
These are people who are often less visible but who to a significant extent make the organization what it is. So, it owe it to this mass to keep them motivated, to recognize their contribution which very often gets overshadowed by the performance of the 'stars’. The fourth lesson learned is for sustaining the transformation, you need to engage and recognize this quiet majority.

Lesson 5: The importance of heterogeneous composition in the organizations, bringing in people from organizations with different cultures, who have different skill sets, though difficult to lead, so long as they all bond with the basic values of your work place; can significantly improve the quality of constructive dissent and the quality of decision making, particularly in a period of rapid change
The fifth lesson is, moving away from homogeneity or creating a climate that embraces different cultures and keeping the organization rooted in its core values, can be a productive exercise and a useful catalyst in the change process.

Lesson 6: Learning is the most crucial thing to analyze our failures. We do this not merely to not repeat the same mistakes, but equally to showcase success. Showcasing success inspires, motivates, and has a ripple impact which cannot be accounted for numerically, but has hugely positive, qualitative returns. Showcasing success and applauding, is critical. It creates a surround sound that says we can do it, an ambience of an organization in celebration and the impact of it can be quite astounding.
Aditya Birla Group created a platform, called the Aditya Birla Awards, where team achievements across the organization are recognized every year. The genesis of these awards is that each one of us needs some-thing to be inspired by, more so, when we are being stretched in all directions in the process of metamorphosis. It is in recognition of individual stars, the sterling performers are important; it is the creating of star teams across the organization that is most critical. In fact, they can be disruptive instead of being productive.

Lesson 7: A considerable part of the change in our case reflects shifts in geography as well as a rapid pace of mergers and acquisitions. The result is that the organization is faced with the challenge of having to integrate with a culture that is foreign to it and practices it has been unexposed to. I have to say that our long-standing presence overseas and the exposure it brought with it, has made the task of adapting to different cultures a lot easier. All the same, an attitude of willingness to learn and assimilate from different cultures is an absolute must.

Lesson 8: Tracking organizational health has become an institutionalized process for us and has paid immense dividends. So, the learning on this front has been that seeking feedback in an institutionalized way and acting on it is a huge positive in the process of change, simply because you cannot set a problem right until it is correctly diagnosed. Year after year, teams have worked with exactitude, attacking the specific problems of each unit in a way that involves people from across the organization. We have relied heavily on the organizational health study methodology. For us the Organizational Health Survey is the barometer of the 'happiness at work' index in the group. The underlying philosophy is that whilst it is the duty of the management to ensure that the company is a good employer, the responsibility for ensuring that it is a great place to work in is shared across the length and breadth of the organization.

Lesson 9: Today, every organization puts a premium on speed. In a process of transformation however, one learning that stands out for us is that it is only infinite and indefinite patience that brings immediate results. Different parts of the organization respond differently to the change stimuli. It is unrealistic to expect the transformation process to take off at the same pace throughout.
Internalizing the process of change takes its own course however fast one might wish to push it through. There is no getting away from it and therefore there is no substitute for consistency. It is sustaining the organization’s will power and stamina through that last mile that very often makes or breaks the process of change. So, the ninth take away has been that one must guard against falling a prey to the 'last mile exhaustion' in the journey of change.

Views of Kumar Birla on different Social Issues

Kumar Mangalam Birla says recession could be a possibility

Kumar Mangalam Birla says recession could be a possibility. The corporate giants of India are a worried lot sensing that recession will hit US and the whole world. “We need boldness, speed, decisiveness and experimentation in policy and implementation”

Mr. Birla said the shifts in global economic situation, which in the wake of financial, global and fiscal crisis has become extremely volatile and unpredictable. This calls for a global coordinated response.

The prospects for a return to pre-crisis normalcy are difficult. “The world today manifests certain polarities and contradictory developments, like simultaneous occurrence of low and high inflation, scarcity and shortage of labor, and sharp political differences.”

International trade is coming under pressure from the possibility of protectionism and currency manipulation, he said envisaging a period of continuing uncertainty for the medium term.

Reforms must take precedence over everything else to overcome challenges in critical areas of food, human capital and infrastructure development. Supply-side improvement and capacity building are imperative if we want inclusive growth.

Leading industrialist Kumar Mangalam Birla today advocated a larger leadership role for India in the global arena with vigorous policy facilitation and energized domestic investment spending. He also stressed on the importance of making India a global manufacturing hub, taking industry’s share to 25 per cent of GDP and a larger focus on development, energy and agricultural agenda.

Birla on corruption scandals

Terming the spate of corruption scandals that have plagued India in the recent past as 'unfortunate', the Chairman of $30-billion diversified business group Aditya Birla, Kumar Mangalam Birla, has said he feels "somewhat disenchanted" as a citizen of the country.

Birla said that India's image however was still 'unblemished’.” The general sentiment seems to be that, as a nation matures and grows up, these are facets (scams) that are bound to get uncovered. And my own view is that it's unfortunate and, as an Indian, I feel somewhat disenchanted," Birla said. He responded on how India's image was suffering globally due to all the big scams and scandals coming to light.

Future Plans of Aditya Birla Group

Kumar Mangalam Birla says that, the growth is accelerating as the platform is bigger and that the growth much faster than it was so far. The internal target is to take the group to $65 billion by 2015.

The group is typically focusing on acquiring mining or copper assets abroad, in the mere future.

Kumar Birla says that they are committed to Idea Cellular (the group’s telecommunications business) and that has a strong position financially .He see’s Idea growing with growing customer base; and expects a fast-track growth in the next few years.

Kumar Birla said that in future; Alternative energy is something that the group is keen on and that they are looking at acquiring solar assets. This is a new area for the group to learn. They are also interested in power, which is an interesting space, and are already looking at several assets in power, too. Kumar Birla’s future plans to venture into other countries; Brazil is interesting as it is a growing economy for minerals and resources. South Africa, East Africa are interesting for metals and mining. We are in China and it is not an easy country to trade in and we have to start small and tread with caution.

Hope viewers caught up spark……

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