Interview with Muthukumar Thanu

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Interview with Muthukumar Thanu, VP HR Murugappa Group

Interview with Mr.MuthuKumar Thanu

VP (HR ) Murugappa Group .

Bharathidasan Institute of Management, Trichy

Interview with Muthukumar Thanu, VP HR Murugappa Group

Interview with Muthukumar Thanu, VP HR Murugappa Group

1. Murugappa group is a 100 year company deep rooted in “Ethical Business” and values. When ethics and business have been considered to be oxy-morons, how was the journey for Murugappa groups?

The Journey has been pretty good. That’s probably one of the reasons why Murugappa group is so much diversified. I think we picked up the businesses and

acquired businesses that came our way. One of the strength has been that group has been able to put same culture on which the group intended to build itself. We have been able to transfer to business we acquired over a period of time.

I think the means as much as the ends have been very important to us. If you hold on to your values you can sail through testing times is the learning to the group. I think we have applied for 16 to 17 licenses during license raj and managed to get one or two licenses. That has not prevented us from growing. We might have not grown as aggressively as business do, but we have grown quiet well.

2. Murugappa group has created a land mark in transforming a family run business to a professional run one from 1993. It raised many an eye brows by making the transition process a smooth one. What was the driving force behind this historical but smooth transition?

Let me put it this way, I think in terms of work culture, the group, even before this transformation, has always been encouraging professionalism. Empowerment was given to people even in pre transmission stage. Therefore that being the background, it’s not a much of difficult journey to transfer the management in hand of the professionals. To that extent it has not been difficult. Even the promoters were like professionals.

Bharathidasan Institute of Management, Trichy

Interview with Muthukumar Thanu, VP HR Murugappa Group Again that’s the foundation which the group was built. It’s not been easy at all. I think being modest and being humble are one of the values every body practices including promoters, so in fact that gets rubbed off on professionals. I was not there when it took place, but from what I hear and from what I see, that’s what it has been. So as long as you are always professional in a mind, it doesn’t matter whether a professional is managing a company or a promoter is managing the company. I think professionalism is common to both.

3. What differentiates Murugappa Group from others in the market? Could you tell us what is the hierarchy levels in the management?

I guess in most of the places it’s the value which differentiates. From company to company, country to country, values become very important. We actually in management have 10 grades and 3 levels, the first level being executive, second level is management, and third level is leadership. Then we have the grades.

4. HR is one of the most important functions in any organization. How do you manage HR in Murugappa Group?

The group has always been known for its progressive HR practices, even before the IT companies came to the country in a big way. Some of the best professionals who are in the market today, especially in south have been part of the group in some point of time or other. They have worked with some best partners in the country. The group has always been focusing quite about it. HR function has always been there, it has become more visible because in sectors like IT, everything involves people and if you did not have people, you go around and shop. HR function is one of the premier

functions of today. Whenever the people are there, HR functions are there. Every manager should be a HR manager. So it’s everybody’s function.

Bharathidasan Institute of Management, Trichy

Interview with Muthukumar...
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