At 21, Namita Thapar was a qualified chartered accountant. "I was a bit of a nerd since I cleared it in the first attempt," she laughs. A year later, she was in the US for her MBA, at Duke University's Fuqua School of Business. "The average age of the class was 28 and I was much younger. They still took me," says Thapar. Right after the programme, she spent six years at Guidant Corporation, in finance and marketing. Back home, her father and promoter of Emcure Pharmaceuticals, Satish Mehta, had raised money from private equity giant Blackstone. "I was a mother by then and it's not easy to manage all of that in the US. In my mind, the time was perfect to get back home," points out Thapar.
That was early 2007 and she joined Emcure as chief financial officer. It was a Rs 500-crore company then, and has grown remarkably to get past Rs 6,000 crore now, with the primary business being generics.
The early phase was difficult. "While I had the right degrees, I still had to gain the respect of people inside and outside," she says. Thapar's work stint in the US opened her up to the importance of an organisation that is system-driven. "It helped greatly since we wanted to scale up at that point. I also brought in the culture of dissent where we always looked for the best idea," she recalls.
Much as being the CFO of a growing company was nice, the desire to be in charge of P&L never went away. "It took me two years to convince my father," says Thapar candidly. Now, as Executive Director, she loves the bit on building brands and interacting with people. "I have found my calling in marketing," she chips in. For now, sustaining the growth story is critical and there is little to stop her.
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