Sanjay Lalbhai
India
Sanjay Lalbhai
  • Chairman, Arvind Limited (Textiles)
Born Bombay, India, April 10, 1954. B.Sc, Statistics, St. Xavier's College (1974); MMS, Master of Management Studies, Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management (1977).
“I believe that in emerging economies where all these opportunities come up for the first time, you don’t require a core sector expertise. You can partner with someone, or you can get brilliant people to come and setup the supply chain, or because the markets are there, there is no competition. You are starting from scratch.”

Summary

Sanjay Lalbhai is Chair and Managing Director of Arvind Limited, the leading manufacturer of cotton shirting, denim, knits and khaki fabrics based in Ahmedabad, India. In this interview, Lalbhai begins by briefly discussing the origins of his family business in medieval times, and how over the last century, the firm has grown into one of India’s largest manufacturers of woven textiles. Lalbhai outlines the strategies the family adopted to overcome institutional challenges during the License Raj era between the 1950s and 1991, when government polices of licensing and exchange controls severely restricted entrepreneurship. Lalbhai then discusses finance in inflationary economies, business partnerships across mature and emerging markets, the role of gender in a family enterprise, leadership in a patriarchal-conglomerate setting, and achieving corporate social responsibility by building businesses that were sustainable and socially productive, rather than through philanthropy alone.

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Sanjay Lalbhai is Chair and Managing Director of Arvind Limited, the leading manufacturer of cotton shirting, denim, knits and khaki fabrics based in Ahmedabad, India. In this interview, Lalbhai begins by briefly discussing the origins of his family business in medieval times, and how over the last century, the firm has grown into one of India’s largest manufacturers of woven textiles. Lalbhai outlines the strategies the family adopted to overcome institutional challenges during the License Raj era between the 1950s and 1991, when government polices of licensing and exchange controls severely restricted entrepreneurship. Lalbhai then discusses finance in inflationary economies, business partnerships across mature and emerging markets, the role of gender in a family enterprise, leadership in a patriarchal-conglomerate setting, and achieving corporate social responsibility by building businesses that were sustainable and socially productive, rather than through philanthropy alone.
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Video Clips by Topic

Innovation

Sanjay Lalbhai, Chairman of India-based Arvind, a large textile manufacturer and the flagship company of the Lalbhai Group based in Ahmedabad, discusses how the technological disruption caused by power looms led him to invest in making jeans through an innovative process. 

Keywords: India, Innovation


Responding to Crises

Sanjay Lalbhai, Chairman of India-based Arvind, a large textile manufacturer and the flagship company of the Lalbhai Group based in Ahmedabad, discusses how the company was hit by a major financial crisis in 1995, describes the subsequent restructuring, and the lessons learned. 



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Additional Resources

Additional Resources

Interview Citation Format

Interview with Sanjay Lalbhai, interviewed by Sudev J Sheth, Ahmedabad, India, February 6, 2019, Creating Emerging Markets Project, Baker Library Historical Collections, Harvard Business School.