Mr. Kumar Mangalam Birla (46) is the Chairman of the US $40 billion multinational Aditya Birla Group, which operates in 36 countries across six continents. 50 per cent of its revenues flow from its operations outside India.
Mr. Birla chairs the Boards of the major Group companies in India and globally. The global companies include Novelis, Columbian Chemicals, Aditya Birla Minerals, Aditya Birla Chemicals, Thai Carbon Black, Alexandria Carbon Black, Domsjö Fabriker and Terrace Bay Pulp Mill, among others. In India, Mr. Birla chairs the Boards of Hindalco, Grasim, Aditya Birla Nuvo, UltraTech, Idea, Aditya Birla Financial Services and Aditya Birla Retail.
The Group's businesses are spread across a swath of industries. These include aluminium, copper, cement, textiles (pulp, fibre, yarn, fabric and branded apparel), carbon black, insulators, natural resources, power, agribusiness, telecommunications, financial services, retail and trading.
Mr. Birla took over as Chairman of the Group in 1995, at the age of 28, after the untimely demise of his father. As Chairman, Mr. Birla has taken the Aditya Birla Group to an altogether higher growth trajectory. In the 17 years that he has been at the helm of the Group, he has accelerated growth, built a meritocracy and enhanced stakeholder value.
In the process he has raised the Group's turnover from US $2 billion in 1995, to US $40 billion today. Mr. Birla has restructured the businesses to emerge as a global/national leader in the sectors in which the Group operates. He has made 26 acquisitions in 17 years in India and globally, the highest by an Indian multinational in India.
The acquisition of Novelis, a global metals major, in 2007, the second largest acquisition ever by an Indian company, led to a new-found respect for Indian companies and stoked a higher level of interest in the country as well. Recently, the acquisition of Columbian Chemicals, a US-based company and the world's third largest carbon black manufacturer positioned the Group as the No. 1 player in this sector, given its own sizeable carbon black operations. Likewise, the acquisition of Domsjö Fabriker, a leading Swedish speciality pulp manufacturer enables the Group's Pulp and Fibre business to further consolidate its global position.
Besides these, over the years Mr. Birla has acquired manufacturing plants in Canada, China, Indonesia, plantations in Laos, and mines in Australia, set up new plants in Egypt, Thailand and China. Alongside, he has expanded capacities in all of the Group's manufacturing units.
In India as well, he has made major acquisitions, the most notable being the Cement division of Larsen & Toubro, Indal from Alcan, Madura Garments from Coats Viyella and the Chlor Alkali division of Kanoria Chemicals.
Under his stewardship, the Aditya Birla Group enjoys a position of leadership in all the major sectors in which it operates. Over the years, Mr. Birla has built a highly successful meritocratic organisation, anchored by an extraordinary force of 136,000 employees belonging to 42 different nationalities.
Mr. Birla has held and continues to hold several key positions on various regulatory and professional Boards. An erstwhile Director on the Central Board of Directors of the Reserve Bank of India, he was also Chairman of the Advisory Committee constituted by the Ministry of Company Affairs and served on The Prime Minister of India's Advisory Council on Trade and Industry.
As the Chairman of Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) Committee on Corporate Governance, he authored the First Report on Corporate Governance titled "Report of the Kumar Mangalam Birla Committee on Corporate Governance". Its recommendations were path breaking and became the basis of corporate governance norms. Furthermore, as the Convener of the Prime Minister's Task Force on Administrative and Legal Simplifications, the extensive recommendations made by him in his report, have been implemented in totality. Mr. Birla also served as Chairman of SEBI's committee on Insider Trading, which formulated Corporate Governance principles for Indian corporates.
He is on the National Council of the Confederation of Indian Industry and the Apex Advisory Council of the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India.
Mr. Birla is deeply engaged with educational institutions. He is the Chancellor of the renowned Birla Institute of Technology & Science (BITS), with campuses in Pilani, Goa, Hyderabad and Dubai.
He is a Director of the G. D. Birla Medical Research & Education Foundation.
He serves on the London Business School's Asia Pacific Advisory Board and is a Honorary Fellow of the London Business School.
A firm practitioner of the trusteeship concept, Mr. Birla has institutionalised the concept of caring and giving at the Aditya Birla Group. With his mandate, the Group is involved in meaningful welfare driven activities that distinctively impact the quality of life of the weaker sections of society, touching hundreds of villages that are among the poorest in India, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines and Egypt.
In India, the Group is engaged in 3,000 villages, reaching out to seven million people annually and making a difference to their lives through meticulously conceived projects focusing on health care, education, sustainable livelihood, infrastructure and social causes. For instance, the Group runs 42 schools which provide quality education to 45,000 children. Of these, over 18,000 children receive free education. Additionally, over a 100,000 youngsters benefit from bridge educational programmes and vocational training. Its 18 hospitals tend to more than a million villagers. In line with the commitment to sustainable development, a partnership has been formed with the Columbia University in establishing the Columbia Global Centre's Earth Institute in Mumbai. To embed CSR as a way of life in organisations, the FICCI – Aditya Birla CSR Centre for Excellence was set up in Delhi.
A commerce graduate from the Mumbai University, Mr. Birla is a chartered accountant. He earned an MBA from the London Business School.
Born June 14, 1967, in Kolkata, Mr. Birla was raised in Mumbai. Mr. Birla and his wife, Mrs. Neerja Birla, have three children, Ananyashree, Aryaman Vikram and Advaitesha.
A US $40 billion corporation, the Aditya Birla Group is in the League of Fortune 500. It is anchored by an extraordinary force of over 120,000 employees, belonging to 42 different nationalities.
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