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Vinati Saraf Mutreja: Wonder Woman

Vinati Saraf Mutreja: Wonder Woman

Vinati Saraf Mutreja took charge of her father's company, and led its performance to unimagined heights

Vinati Saraf Mutreja, 37, Managing Director & CEO, Vinati Organics -- Photograph by Mandar Deodhar Vinati Saraf Mutreja, 37, Managing Director & CEO, Vinati Organics -- Photograph by Mandar Deodhar

As a school student in Mumbai, Vinati Saraf Mutreja had a serious interest in Chemistry, one that her father Vinod Saraf spotted early. "He would keep asking me questions from my textbook," she says with a laugh. It laid the foundation for what was to follow. In the US to study at the University of Pennsylvania, Mutreja would accompany her father to client visits when he would be in the US (Vinati Organics had been set up by then). "By this time, it was clear that working for our company was my calling."

In 2006, after returning to India, she joined the company as executive director. Right after joining, a challenge confronted her. Till then, the only product of consequence Vinati Organics made was IBB (iso butyl benzene), a raw material for the pharma industry.

"We had started making ATBS (2-Acrylamido-2-methylpropane sulfonic acid, with usage across detergents, adhesives, acrylic fibre, etc.) but it was a losing proposition," she says. The brief from her father was clear—ATBS has to work, else the company had to shut down.

She quickly found a consultant. "The pain points were identified and we got to work immediately," describes Mutreja. The effort has certainly paid off and today, ATBS brings in over half the company's revenue. The other part of the story is IBB, where she clinched a big contract in the US and sales doubled right after she took charge. Today, the company is the world's largest manufacturer of both the chemicals.

The journey has been quite incredible. When Mutreja joined the company in 2006, it had revenues of Rs 20 crore. This fiscal, she expects around Rs 1,600 crore. And the current market capitalisation stands at over Rs 19,000 crore. "There is some reason to be happy, but I think we also have a long journey ahead," she says.

@krishnagopalan