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Next-generation Ruia makes mark

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By SAMBIT SAHA
  • Published 21.06.10
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Pawan Ruia with daughter Pallavi. A Telegraph file picture

Calcutta, June 20: Pallavi Ruia, the eldest daughter of Pawan Kumar Ruia, is keen to barge into the hurly-burly world of mergers and acquisitions, her father’s forte.

For someone who just passed out of Warwick University in the UK with a masters degree in marketing and strategy, this must be a big dream.

But she must be having it in her genes — the daughter of the takeover tycoon from Calcutta, with companies such as Falcon, Dunlop and Jessop in the bag.

Pallavi, the face of Generation Next in the Rs 3,000-crore Ruia Group, is already on a rising curve. She is the executive director of Schlegel Automotive Europe Ltd, the first overseas acquisition of the group, reporting to the CEO. Unlike most of the Indian business families where daughters are married early, Ruia senior did not put such an option before Pallavi. She was not keen to tie the knot either.

“I have always wanted to join my father. It has been my dream from the school days,” Pallavi said during her recent visit to Calcutta.

She is now based out of UK, looking after Schlegel where she joined last October as a management trainee, after completing her masters. Pallavi, 23, rose to the position of executive director in March.

“I wanted her to return to the headquarters in Calcutta and work with me after her studies. But she was keen on Schlegel. I must say she has done a good job in the past nine months,” said a beaming father.

Pallavi explained that she was interested to know the best practices in the UK and then move back after one or two years, preferably in the M&A team, the most exciting section within Ruia Group.

After snapping up ailing public sector engineering firm Jessop in 2003, Ruia went on to acquire Falcon and Dunlop from the Chhabria family in 2005 and then entered auto sealing systems with Schlegel in the UK and Draftex in Germany in 2008 and 2009, respectively. The group is constantly pursuing multiple transactions across the globe.

Right now, Pallavi is not focusing on acquisition opportunities in the sealing system business in Europe, though she considered the time was ripe to do so.

“There is so much to learn. I joined the production field first, spent time on the shop floor and then moved on to other sections. It is another matter to learn strategy from the book and then finally getting down to implement it in the company,” she explained.

Schlegel, which supplies to companies such as Nissan, Toyota, BMW, hopes to make profit, despite the uncertain economic condition.

A tough situation doesn’t unnerve Pallavi, who accompanied her father in most of his important assignments and visits, knows that Ruia Group’s USP lies in buying stressed asset and turn them around.