- Chair, Godrej Group (Diversified)
Born Mumbai, India, 1942. BSc. and MSc., MIT Sloan School of Management (1963).
“[W]e are one of the few groups which paid a lot of attention to brand advertising … we used the family name, which was also the name of the companies, in the branding.”
Adi Godrej outlines the evolution of the Godrej Group, a highly diversified business group based in Mumbai, whose activities range from chemicals and agriculture to consumer goods, where it serves as the largest locally-owned home and personal care company in India. Godrej joined the family business after returning to India in 1963, having graduated from MIT Sloan in the United States in the same year. During the interview, he recounts how the company was founded by Godrej’s great uncle in 1897 in an effort to help India gain economic independence, who stressed the importance of offering a diverse set of high-quality products, including security equipment, appliances, typewriters, furniture, machine tools, and later India’s first vegetable-based soap. Godrej notes that over the last fifty years the Group has grown at a compounded annual growth rate of about 17%, having been privately owned until India’s economy opened up in 1991. It remains largely owned by the Godrej family. Godrej discusses the unique advertising challenges faced by the consumer goods industry in India, because of the linguistic diversity of the country, as well as wide variations in consumer preferences. He explores and the challenges and opportunities of brand building, and his strategy to drive growth through global expansion not only in Asia, but also in Africa and Latin America. The interview concludes with a discussion of the Group’s emphasis on environmentally sustainable business and corporate social responsibility.