Business Today

Like father, like son

After completing management degree at Harvard Business School, the younger of Rahul Bajaj’s two sons, Sanjiv, was looking to repair the company’s books, while elder brother Rajiv tried to get the company’s products straightened out.

     Print Edition: June 29, 2008

A few years ago, on board a cruise liner steaming off the West Coast of India, Sanjiv Bajaj looked a happy man. After having taken control of Bajaj Auto’s finances when he returned to Pune after completing his management degree at Harvard Business School, the younger of Rahul Bajaj’s two sons was looking to repair the company’s books, while elder brother Rajiv tried to get the company’s products straightened out.

Sanjiv Bajaj
Sanjiv Bajaj
It was while doing this that Sanjiv realised the need to better utilise the huge cache of cash in Bajaj Auto’s chest. So, Bajaj Auto started an extremely successful treasury operation, veered into consumer finance and, later, tied up with German insurance major Allianz for joint ventures in the life and non-life segments.

Under his stewardship, and despite fierce competition from established financial services players, both Bajaj-Allianz (in life insurance) and Allianz-Bajaj (in non-life) have risen to the top of the pile in their respective segments among private insurance companies.

Name: Sanjiv Bajaj

Age: 38

Designation: Managing Director

Company: Bajaj Finserv
But while he was leading Bajaj Auto into the financial services space, Bajaj was also playing a critical role in the parent company. Bajaj, who is also a mechanical engineer from the University of Pune, and headed Bajaj’s international team, quickly made forays into South East Asia and Latin America, where like in India, the Pulsar has become a huge hit.

Thanks, in no small measure to his far-sightedness, Bajaj Auto exported over 600,000 units in 2007-08, a quarter of its total production.

When, in the middle of last year, Rahul Bajaj decided to split the financial and automotive parts of his business, some speculated that he was doing this to prevent another generational war, like the one that has plagued Rahul Bajaj’s relationship with his brother Shishir. But Sanjiv pointed out that this was not done to prevent a future squabble between him and Rajiv, but rather to unlock shareholder value.

In the first week after listing, the separated companies unlocked over Rs 1,000 crore in additional value for shareholders. However, with the global economy weakening and the impact about to hit India, Sanjiv, hands-on and always thinking of new opportunities, will need to use all his resources to make sure the good times keep rolling.

Kushan Mitra

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