India

Rahul Bajaj 

  • Chair, Bajaj Group (Diversified)
Born Kolkata, India, 1938. Bachelors, University of Delhi (1958); MBA, Harvard Business School (1964).
“We were in a socialist raj. You couldn’t make anything until you got an industrial license and you couldn’t make more than the license capacity.”

Video Clips

Bajaj describes how the government has mandated that companies spend a certain percent of their profits on CSR.

Bajaj discusses how he missed anticipating the change when India’s market moved from being primarily a market for scooters to one of motorcycles between 1998 and 2001.

Bajaj describes how a government minister approached him for a favor, which he rebuffed.

Bajaj explains the differences between family and professional ownership of a business.

Bajaj talks about the days of license raj in India when Bajaj scooters had a ten-year delivery period. He discusses how people had to either book the scooter the minute a girl was born or buy it on the black market, as it was a necessary part of the bride’s dowry.

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

Transcript

Rahul Bajaj discusses the origins of his family business, including the close association with Mahatma Gandhi, and how he led Bajaj Auto to great success with the iconic three wheel scooter. This was achieved despite the “socialist raj” era in India between the 1950s and 1980s, when the delivery period for a Bajaj scooter could be ten years because the company was not allowed to increase capacity. Later, Bajaj discusses the public disagreement with his son Rajiv who decided to stop manufacturing scooters in 2009 while transitioning into motorcycle manufacturing. The interview concludes with incisive insights on corporate responsibility and philanthropy.

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