Dr. Manu Chandaria
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.”

Summary

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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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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Video Clips by Topic

chandaria 3

Mandu Chandaria, Chair of the Kenyan-based steel and aluminum group Comcraft, discusses how businesses should look at “profit as a means, not the end.” He assets that the purpose of profit is to improve the lives of people in society.
Keywords: Social Impact, Kenya


Corporate Culture

Mandu Chandaria, Chair of the Comcraft Group in Kenya, explains the importance of maintaining consistency in one’s core values and that, in family businesses, these values extend both to company- and family-related matters alike.


Leadership

Mandu Chandaria, Chair of the Kenyan-based steel and aluminum group Comcraft, discusses the importance of serving as a moral role model and of setting examples for his employees.



chandaria 4

Mandu Chandaria, Chair of the Comcraft Group based in Kenya,describes the challenge of managing his far-flung enterprise with family members doing in business in a number of different locations, including Nairobi, London, Geneva, and elsewhere.


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Additional Resources

Additional Resources

Interview Citation Format

"Interview with Dr. Manu Chandaria, interviewed by Henry McGee, June 13, 2014, Creating Emerging Markets Project, Baker Library Historical Collections, Harvard Business School, http://www.hbs.edu/creating-emerging-markets/."