“Rahul Bajaj”- the Traditional Leader

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  • Topic: Rahul Bajaj, Bajaj Auto, Jamnalal Bajaj
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  • Published : July 7, 2010
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“RAHUL BAJAJ”- THE TRADITIONAL LEADER

Often male head of a common family is considered a traditional leader. This could also be the case in a family-owned business, if its director and other leader positions are chosen based on family ties and/or age. Rahul Bajaj is one of the examples of a traditional leader. He is the Chairman of the Bajaj Group, which ranks among the top 10 business houses in India. The Bajaj Group has diversified interests ranging from automobiles, home appliances, lighting, iron and steel, insurance, travel and finance. Rahul Bajaj is one of India's most distinguished business leaders and internationally respected for his business acumen and entrepreneurial spirit.

The group's flagship company, Bajaj Auto, is ranked as the world's fourth largest two- and three- wheeler manufacturer and the Bajaj brand is well-known across several countries in Latin America, Africa, Middle East, South and South East Asia. Founded in 1926, at the height of India's movement for independence from the British, the group has an illustrious history. The integrity, dedication, resourcefulness and determination to succeed which are characteristic of the group today, are often traced back to its birth during those days of relentless devotion to a common cause. Jamnalal Bajaj, founder of the group, was a close confidant and disciple of Mahatma Gandhi. In fact, Gandhiji had adopted him as his son. This close relationship and his deep involvement in the independence movement did not leave Jamnalal Bajaj with much time to spend on his newly launched business venture.

His son, Kamalnayan Bajaj, then 27, took over the reigns of business in 1942. He too was close to Gandhiji and it was only after Independence in 1947, that he was able to give his full attention to the business. Kamalnayan Bajaj not only consolidated the group, but also diversified into various manufacturing activities. The present Chairman of the group, Rahul Bajaj, took charge of the business in 1965. Under his leadership, the turnover of the Bajaj Auto the flagship company has gone up from Rs.72 million to Rs.46.16 billion (USD 936 million), its product portfolio has expanded and the brand has found a global market.

Rahul Bajaj comes from the family of Jaman Lal Bajaj. Rahul is the grandson of Jaman Lal Bajaj, who founded the Bajaj Group. Shishir Bajaj is the brother of Rahul Bajaj. Rahul Bajaj has two sons, Rajiv Bajaj and Sanjiv Bajaj, and daughter Sunaina Kejriwal. His sons Rajiv and Sanjiv Bajaj manage his companies. Rahul Bajaj completed his schooling from Cathedral, a school in Bombay. Then he further pursed his studies from St Stephen's College, Delhi and Harvard University, USA.

He took over control of the Bajaj Group in 1965 and successfully established one of India's best companies. He established factories at Akurdi and Waluj. In 1980s Bajaj Auto was India's topmost scooter making company. After ten years of Bajaj Auto's success Chetak was launched. Bajaj Auto had to face many challenges with the liberalization of the Indian economy.

The slump in the sale of scooters and the downfall of the stock market of 2001 hit the company hard. It was forecast by some business analysts that Bajaj industries would have to shut down soon. But without losing hope Rahul Bajaj with his business expertise re-established the battered company. He established another factory in Chakan, invested in R&D and came up with Bajaj Pulsar Motorcycle. Bajaj Pulsar is presently a leader in its sector.

THE SUCCESS STORY OF RAHUL BAJAJ

In the 1970s, India was a socialist state, a land of overarching regulation rather than of opportunity. As a result, there was no entrepreneurship, and businesses couldn't do a thing without government approval. In this environment, the company, now the world's fourth-largest maker of motorized scooters, three-wheel vehicles, and motorcycles—India's most common forms of transportation—was limited to producing just 20,000 units a...
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