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Family takes charge after Rahul Bajaj ceded top job in key group companies

Ex-Citi banker Nanoo Pamnani became chairman of Bajaj Finserv, while Niraj Bajaj took charge as chairman of the holding company

twitter-logo Nevin John        Last Updated: September 3, 2019  | 23:32 IST
Family takes charge after Rahul Bajaj ceded top job in key group companies
Rahul Bajaj

The 81-year-old industrialist Rahul Bajaj, the head of the Bajaj family, has ceded chairmanship of three major companies in this year so far and retained the top post in just one company, Bajaj Auto. In all the three companies - Bajaj Holdings & Investment (BHIL), Bajaj Finserv (Finserv) and Bajaj Finance (BFL) - he took up the ceremonial position of chairman emeritus.

His cousin Niraj Bajaj has taken over the responsibilities of non-executive chairman of BHIL, the holding company of auto and finance businesses, on May 18. Meanwhile, former Citibank executive Nanoo Pamnani, brother-in-law of Rahul Bajaj's wife, has become the chairman of the finance holding company Bajaj Finserv. The 74-year-old Pamnani is one of the two vice chairmen of Finserv's subsidiary, the lending arm of Bajaj Finance (BFL), along with Rahul Bajaj's youngest son Sanjiv Bajaj. Pamnani, who built the financial services business along with Sanjiv and BFL managing director (MD) Rajeev Jain, is also the chairman of Bajaj Housing Finance, the home loan business under BFL.

According to the chairman's letter signed on May 16, 2019, in the 2018-19 annual report of BFL, Rahul Bajaj was the chairman of the company. But its website says he is now the chairman emeritus. The website doesn't mention about his replacement as chairman. Rahul Bajaj has stepped down as the chairman and non-executive director of Finserv from May 16. Rahul Bajaj has led the group for 46 years, making Bajaj group companies an indomitable force in the stock market with a combined market value of around Rs 4.2 lakh crore.

Pamnani, who was Citibank's youngest CEO in India at 37, took over the responsibilities of vice-chairman at Bajaj Finserv in 2008 just after Bajaj Auto was de-merged whereby its manufacturing undertaking has been transferred to new Bajaj Auto (BAL) and its strategic business undertaking consisting of wind farm business and in-house auto financing business has been vested with Finserv. Post-demerger, BHIL became holding company with more than 30 per cent shares each in BAL and Finserv. Sanjiv Bajaj is the MD and CEO of BHIL and Finserv.

ALSO READ:Rahul Bajaj resigns as Bajaj Finserv Chairman, to take over as the Chairman Emeritus in May

Sanjiv, who has been recently elected as the chairman of Confederation Indian Industry (CII) western region, is the chairman of the two joint venture insurance companies of the group - Bajaj Allianz General and Bajaj Allianz Life - in which Bajajs hold 74 per cent stake each.

Harvard-graduate Niraj Bajaj - former captain of Indian table tennis team and an Arjuna Award winner - is the chairman and MD of the specialty steel maker Mukand, which recently formed a joint venture with Sumitomo Corporation of Japan for building a specialty steel plant in Karnataka. Niraj Bajaj also manages the functions of the Bajaj family's charity activities in sectors like education and healthcare, which is done through around 40 charitable trusts.

Rahul Bajaj's eldest son Rajiv Bajaj is the MD in Bajaj Auto (BAL). His uncle Madhur Bajaj - who is cousin of Rahul Bajaj - is the vice chairman of BAL. In May, Rajiv Bajaj has been brought into the board of Bajaj Electricals (BEL), which is run by his another uncle Shekhar Bajaj. Shekhar Bajaj had lost his only son Anant Bajaj, who was the MD of BEL and led its transformation, in August last year. Anant's wife Pooja was inducted on the board of BEL last year after his demise. Pooja Bajaj had her masters in management from the University of Leeds, UK.

Rajiv's entry in BEL is expected to give a boost to BEL's operations. Coincidently, Anant was trained under Rajiv in Bajaj Auto before he joined electricals business. Anuj Poddar, former executive of Viacom 18 Media, was appointed as the executive director of BEL in November. Shekhar Bajaj is the chairman and MD of BEL now.

The Bajajs of third generation - Rahul, Shekhar, Madhur and Niraj - are there on the board of most of the major group companies. Rahul Bajaj's son-in-law Manish Kejriwal, former Tamasek India head, who comes on and off on the boards of group companies, is now on the boards of BHIL and Finserv.

ALSO READ:The Naya Bajaj

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