Lakshmi Venu is the fourth-generation scion of the TVS Group and daughter of industrialists Venu and Mallika Srinivasan. Experts who study family-led businesses have seen the 35-year-old straddling key roles in a business group known for its tradition of upholding employee relationships, process efficiency and conservative financing. Blending these with modern-day norms of flexi-timing, brand projection and creative innovations must have been difficult. But apparently, she has managed to achieve it all.
"Lakshmi Venu has been at Sundaram-Clayton for more than a decade. She has spearheaded various functions, including strategy, internationalisation, finance, operations and product design. The company's consolidated revenues have trebled in the last decade under her leadership," says Nupur Pavan Bang, Associate Director, Thomas Schmidheiny Centre for Family Enterprise, at the Indian School of Business.
In 2003, Venu, a Yale graduate and a doctorate in Engineering Management from the University of Warwick, started working for Sundaram-Clayton (SCL), the holding company of the group. She is now Joint MD of the Rs 1,737.4 crore SCL and Deputy MD of TAFE Motors and Tractors.
Bang thinks that "the company has the opportunity to become a role model for implementing women-friendly policies and a suitable environment in the manufacturing sector under her leadership" Hopefully, that will take effect soon.