Nisaba Godrej, 39, is slated to takeover as executive chairman of Godrej Consumer Products, the flagship company of the Godrej group. The announcement, which came along with the company's earnings on Tuesday, was widely expected but the timing has surprised a few analysts.
Nisa, as Nisaba is fondly called, has a bachelor of science degree from The Wharton School and an MBA from Harvard Business School.
Apart from Godrej Consumer, she serves on the boards of Godrej Agrovet and Teach for India.
She is the younger daughter of Adi and Parmeshwar Godrej and lives in Mumbai, along with her husband Kalpesh Mehta and son Zoran.
From 1 July 2013, she has been executive director of innovation, Godrej Consumer. Earlier was president of human capital & innovation at Godrej Industries.
Her sister Tanya Dubash is 10 years elder to her. She is an executive director of and chief brand officer of the Godrej group.
Nisa's younger brother Pirojsha Godrej is the managing director and chief executive officer of Godrej Properties.
Nisa's appointment as executive chairman of Godrej Consumer is a significant development. For one, she is the right choice for the company in the current juncture. Here are four reasons why it is so:
Aggressive, ambitious: At a time when the environment for business is turning fiercely competitive, the need of the hour for any company is a head who is aggressive and ambitious. Nisa is one such. A profile of her in Forbes India notes that "she is known to be pushy and almost always able to get her way". Godrej Industries and Associate Companies has a target to grow 10 times in 10 years to become a Rs 85,000 crore conglomerate. Set in 2011, the deadline is nearing. Given that Godrej Consumer is the largest constituent of the group, the pressure on it will be more. To achieve this, the company indeed needs someone like Nisa at the top.
Woman of transformation: Nisa was in the forefront of bringing about a change at the Godrej group. From the image of an old and outdated conglomerate, it has now become a group well connected to the present. The transformation started off with a brand relaunch in 2008. The group came out with a colourful logo. The objective was to make the group, in Adi Godrej's own words, more "contemporary and relevant". Detailing the plans to grow 10 times in 10 years in 2011, Vivek Gambhir, chief strategy officer of Godrej Industries then and now managing director of Godrej Consumer, had said that the average age of the company's top executives was 45 years, down from 50 years in 2007. This was expected to decline further to 40 over a few years. In the last few years, Nisa has driven Godrej Consumer from behind the scenes to make it more contemporary mainly through product innovation. This report in The Hindu reckons that for the transformation of the company she had drawn up a five-year road map and set up an M&A cell. The company had made eight acquisitions between 2009 and 2011, giving the company presence in the UK, Latin America, Indonesia and Africa, the report says.
Performance-driven approach: Nisa is completely performance-driven. She spends long hours at work. Just one month after her delivery, she was in the office with son Zoran. Clearly work is all important and only performers have space in the company. The Forbes India profile explains how she changed the top management at Godrej Agrovet overnight, sending a strong message to all that "only those who perform will be rewarded". The article notes that during 2007-12 whatever top level changes happened at Godrej group had Nisa's imprint. "...Almost all senior level exits have been that of loyal confidants," the article says.
Turnaround woman: A look at how she dealt with the problems at Godrej Agrovet shows her ability to turn a loss-making company profitable. As noted earlier, she changed the top management overnight. "She brought in a completely new management at Godrej Agrovet, which helped in turning the fate of that company. She turned around the loss-making Godrej Agrovet into a profitable entity in just about 18 to 24 months," A. Mahendran, former managing director of Godrej Consumer, has been quoted as saying in this Business Today report published in 2014.
Updated Date: May 10, 2017 20:01 PM