Keshub Mahindra, 99, Passes Away: Tainted By Union Carbide, Leader Of Auto Industry
CHENNAI (IANS) – He was one of the oldest Indian industrialists who headed one of the oldest automobile groups in India – Mahindra & Mahindra.
On April 12, the 99-year-old doyen Keshub Mahindra, Chairman Emeritus of the $19 billion revenue M&M group passed away. In another six months, he would have become a centenarian.
It was during his nearly 50-year reign, that the business group forayed into other business ventures like information technology, financial services, hospitality and others.
“The industrial world has lost one of the tallest personalities today. Shri Keshub Mahindra had no match; the nicest person I had the privilege of knowing. I always looked forward to mtgs with him and inspired by how he connected business, economics and social matters. Om Shanti,” Pawan Kumar Goenka, Chairman, INSPACe and who had spent a long time in M&M group tweeted.
A graduate of Wharton, University of Pennsylvania, Mahindra joined the company in 1947, the year when India became independent. Nearly two decades later, he took over as the Chairman in 1963.
Under him, the group entered into partnerships with several foreign companies like International Harvester Company, Peugeot, British Telecom, Mitsubishi Corporation, Nissho Iwai Corporation.
Mahindra also brought in outside professionals to run the various businesses and set the trend for some other Indian groups to follow.
Mahindra was initially against the opening up of the Indian economy in the 1990s, all of a sudden after being closed for several decades. However, he later changed his views on the government move.
He had also served on the Boards and Councils of several companies like SAIL, Tata Steel, Tata Chemicals, Indian Hotels, IFC and ICICI.
Mahindra was also the Founder Chairman of HUDCO (Housing and Urban Development Corporation Limited); Vice-Chairman of Housing Development Finance Corporation Ltd; Chairman Mahindra Ugine Steel Co. Ltd; Director of Bombay Dyeing & Manufacturing Co. Ltd. and Bombay Burmah Trading Corporation Limited.
Mahindra was the non-executive Chairman of the Bhopal gas leak fame Union Carbine India Ltd. The gas leak that happened in 1984 killed nearly 4,000 people and injured several thousands. He and some other former employees of Union Carbide were sentenced to two years imprisonment and fined Rs 100,000 in connection with the gas leak case. All those who were sentenced were given bail.
A philanthropist, Mahindra was appointed by the Indian government to serve on many Committees, including the Sachar Commission on Company Law & MRTP and the Central Advisory Council of Industries.
In 1987, he was awarded the Chevalier de l’Ordre National de la Legion d’honneur by the French Government. From 2004 to 2010, Mahindra was a Member of the Indian Prime Minister’s Council on Trade & Industry.