Fourth-generation Nisa Godrej is reportedly favourite to take the helm at Indian family business Godrej Group’s flagship company.
According to the Economic Times, citing sources close to the firm, 35-year-old Nisa is likely to succeed non-family member A Mahendran when he retires from the group's consumer products division.
When contacted, a spokeswoman for the Mumbai-based conglomerate, which also operates in sectors such as real estate and engineering, refused to comment. “These are just speculations,” she told CampdenFB.
Although currently president of human capital and innovation for Godrej Industries, a holding company of the group, Nisa already has close links to the consumer products side of the business. Between 2009 and 2011, she was behind eight acquisitions at the division, according to the Godrej Group’s website.
The report in the Economic Times added that the board has been in talks about succession at the flagship group, well known for making soaps, insecticides and detergents. If Nisa, one of chairman Adi Godrej's three children, is unwilling to take charge next year, the board will reportedly either extend Mahendran’s term or appoint another non-family member until Nisa can take over.
Her possible promotion will be in contrast to recent research about family business succession in India. According to a study from Barclays Wealth released in January 2012, seven out of 10 owners of family firms preferred a non-family professional when it came to appointing new managers. Nisa’s brother Pirojsha is the executive director of the group’s property division, while sister Tanya handles marketing.
But Kavil Ramachandran, a professor at the Indian School of Business, told CampdenFB in October last year that the three next-gens have “proven to be entrepreneurial leaders in different parts of the organisation”. “I do not think there is anything to worry about when it comes to the leadership skills of the group,” he said.
The family business traces its roots back more than 100 years when it started manufacturing locks. It now has revenues of around €2.5 billion, with the family owning about 90% of the company.