16 January, 2021

Tears For Fears

The Asian Paints episode highlights something rotten at the very core of Indian business

Tears For Fears

LET'S shed a small tear over Asian Paints, a truly great Indian company. The only one in fact which is perceived to be equal to Hindustan Lever in marketing acumen, with ITC in distribution prowess, with Citibank in management information systems. One of only two Indian companies (the other is ICICI), which, six years after India began opening up to the world, still generates enough MBA enthusiasm to come for campus interviews on the very first day of recruitment season in the IIMs.

Let's shed a small tear because in the grand Indian sociological tradition, the families of the promoters of Asian Paints fought among themselves, and the one family—the Chokseys—which had had management control of the company, and so can surely be credited with Asian Paints' success more than the others, found themselves alone against the other three. So they sold off their stake and walked out. FU Charlie.

And they sold it—9.1 per cent of the company—to ICI, the British transnational which Asian Paints has been whipping roundly in the...



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