20 April, 2021

Harsh Mariwala, Marico

Innovation is one thing that’s constant with a diversifying Marico, helping it break new ground even as it competes neck-and-neck with Hindustan Lever.

Photograph by Soumik Kar
Harsh Mariwala, Marico
  • Marico products sell in 25 countries


Harsh Mariwala, the founder of homegrown consumer-­goods giant Marico that sells in 25 countries, has a business outlook that goes beyond the pop-and-mom-shop philosophy. His children are all independent entrepreneurs—a far cry from the stranglehold promoters like to maintain on family-­nurtured businesses. Mariwala himself has stepped down from overseeing day-to-day operations.

If Marico doesn’t quite ring a bell, its brands will surely do. Parachute, the coconut hair oil brand Indians swear by for bountiful locks minus the grimy feel. Or take Saffola, the edible oil brand that people trust with “good health”. Mariwala nurtures a secret love—of books. His Mumbai office has a library-sized collection. He is a keen reader.

Mariwala’s office chronicles his exceptional story. It has huge wall posters that self-narrate that tale. “1971, Bombay Oil Industries.” “Marico is born 2nd April 1990.” “India...

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