State Bank of India is India’s oldest and largest bank with the government of India as its majority shareholder. Arundhati Bhattacharya, a 35-year old veteran of the bank, is appointed as its chairman in October 2013. Her appointment coincides with Moody’s downgrading the bank’s debt due to rising non-performing assets. She embarks on a mission to improve the bank’s risk taking and management abilities, ensure uniform customer experience, and encourage greater collaboration among various verticals. Her efforts help the bank reduce its non-performing assets and improve its profitability. However, Bhattacharya knows that these gains will be fleeting without the development of a trained workforce who can address 21st century industry problems with speed and creativity. This requires transforming SBI into a performance-oriented bank supported by a new career development and remuneration system. Bhattacharya wonders if attempting to change the culture of a 206-year old mammoth organization is feasible or a mere pipe dream.
Amul is an Indian dairy cooperative founded in 1947, eight months before India's independence from British rule, and owned by over three million farmers in the state of Gujarat. It is India's largest food product marketing organization, selling 46 products, including pouched milk, cheese, butter, ice cream and infant food through a million retailers across the country, and is the market leader in almost all the categories that it operates in. Amul is well known among Indian consumers for offering high-quality products at reasonable prices, and runs a highly popular advertising campaign that spoofs current events. It offers its farmers 80% of the consumer's dollar for milk, compared with 35%-40% typical in some Western markets. Amul's cooperative dairy model has been replicated across several Indian states, thereby helping increase the incomes of 80-100 million farmer families across the country. However, despite its success, Amul is beginning to come under increasing pressure. Multinationals like Nestlé and Unilever are increasing their presence in India, and competing fiercely with Amul in value-added products like yogurt. The entry of large multi-brand retailers like Walmart and Carrefour in the Indian market threatens to squeeze Amul's margins and undermine its low-cost distribution network. India's large young rural population is shying away from dairy farming in favor of urban jobs, leaving questions about future procurement. Finally, Amul's farmers form a large vote bank in the state of Gujarat, and its cooperative structure risks being compromised by vested political interests. Should Amul continue with the business model that has served it so well for decades, or should it change its strategy in order to keep up with India's changing social, political and economic landscape?
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Anjali Raina is the Executive Director of the Harvard Business School India Research Centre. In her leadership role at the IRC, Anjali focuses on building and maintaining relationships with senior business leaders in the region to facilitate the work of the center in research, educational programs, community building and faculty development.
Under Anjali’s leadership, the HBS IRC has facilitated the writing of over 168 case studies on Indian Business Practice and supported half a dozen research projects. Anjali has co-authored several case studies such as Aadhaar: India’s ‘Unique Identification’ System, TeamLease: Putting India to Work (II) Legally; Pratham – Every Child in School and Learning Well; Naina Lal Kidwai: Investing in Her Country; Tech Mahindra and the Acquisition of Satyam Computers (A); HN Agri Serve : Growing Prosperity as well as an HBR Article on The Ordinary Heroes of the Taj.
Anjali wears several additional hats. She is a Director on the Board of Harvard Business Publishing, India, the Regional President (Western Region) of NHRDN, an Advisor to The Akanksha Foundation, Trustee to LIFE Trust, an Advisory Member on the Board of HBS Club of India, and on the Advisory Board of the Indian Business School.
Prior to joining HBS IRC Anjali spent 15 years with Citigroup India, most recently as Country Director, before which she worked for more than a decade with ANZ Grindlays Bank PLC. Anjali holds an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Calcutta, a bachelor's degree (Eng. Hons) from Loreto College and is an alumnus of HBS having completed the Advanced Management Program.
HBS IRC - Conducting Research, Fostering Dialogue, Building Community