Kenya

Dr. Manu Chandaria 

  • Chair and CEO, Comcraft Group (Steel and Aluminum)
Born Nairobi, Kenya, 1929. BSc. Jamnagar India University (1949); BSc. Engineering, University of Oklahoma (1950); MSc. Engineering, University of Oklahoma (1951).
“[O]ne principle that we adopted in our lifetime and with our children… we always told them that money’s here today; money may not be there tomorrow. A good set of principles and values that you have, those will remain with you for your lifetime.”

Video Clips

Chandaria discusses how businesses should look at "profit as a means, not the end." The purpose of profit is to improve lives of people around you, he says.

Chandaria explains how his family’s values infuse the business-- that he could not have a different set of values for his business than the ones he had for his family.

Chandaria emphasizes the need to model behavior that you want to see in people. “I don’t think that you can make changes by pushing hard. It’s through showing and setting an example.”

Chandaria explains the challenge of managing his far-flung extended family.

 Full-length video (accessible to holders of a valid Harvard ID)

Transcript

Manu Chandaria, chair and CEO of the Kenyan-based steel and aluminum group Comcraft, narrates the challenges of growing and managing a business which had originated when his father arrived as an Indian immigrant to Nairobi in 1915. A hundred years later Comcraft had more than $2 billion in annual revenues, employed over 30,000 people on three continents, and was the largest manufacturer of steel and aluminum products in Africa. Chandaria describes the stationing of family members internationally, innovative methods of accessing capital and acquiring talent, and the group’s strategies to navigate political turbulence in African countries. Chandaria also describes the family’s entrance into philanthropy and how his religious beliefs, as a follower of Jainism, affected the culture of the firm and his approach to management.

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