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Who Will Take Over The Godrej Empires?

By Dev Chatterjee
Last updated on: May 06, 2024 14:28 IST
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Pirojsha Godrej, 43, patriarch Adi Godrej's son, is set to take over as chairman of the Godrej Industries Group from 2026 while Nyrika Holkar, Smita Godrej Crishna's 42-year-old daughter, has emerged as the face of the Godrej Enterprises Group.

IMAGE: Clockwise: Adi Godrej, Pirojsha Godrej, Nyrika Holkar and Jamshyd N Godrej. Photograph: Kind courtesy

The Godrej family, which on Tuesday, April 30, 2024, split its empire into two groups -- the Godrej Industries Group and Godrej Enterprises Group -- has made its succession planning clear.

While 43-year-old Pirojsha Godrej, patriarch Adi Godrej's son, is set to take over as chairman of the Godrej Industries Group from 2026, Nyrika Holkar, the 42-year-old daughter of Smita Godrej Crishna, has emerged as the face of the Godrej Enterprises Group.

Nadir Godrej will be the chairperson of the Godrej Industries Group (GIG), comprising listed companies like flagship Godrej Industries, Godrej Consumer Products, Godrej Properties, Godrej Agrovet, and Astec Lifesciences, as well as Godrej Seeds and Genetics, Innovia Multiventures, and all their subsidiaries and joint ventures.

Pirojsha, who will be executive vice-chairperson, will succeed Nadir as chairperson in August 2026, according to the statement issued by the Godrej group.

The Adi/Nadir family (ABG/NBG family) will buy out the shares held in the five listed companies by the Jamshyd/Smita family (JNG/SVC family).

Each family would sell the shares they hold personally and/or via trusts to the other family, and these transactions would be tax-neutral, said a source. The Adi/Nadir family announced an open offer for Astec Lifesciences on Wednesday, May 1, 2024.

Pursuant to the realignment under the family settlement agreement (FSA), the management and control of companies under the GIG group will go to the ABG/NBG family.

At present, Pirojsha is the executive chairperson of Godrej Properties, Godrej Housing Finance, and Godrej Fund Management, and a non-executive director of Godrej Consumer Products and Godrej Agrovet.

Having graduated from the Wharton School of Business in 2002, Pirojsha joined Godrej Properties in 2004, and was appointed the chief executive of the real estate development firm in 2012.

In 2017, he became executive chairperson of Godrej Properties.

The next generation of the multi-billionaire families also joined the group across various companies and took key leadership positions, with Adi Godrej's daughter Nisaba Godrej running Godrej Consumer Products as its executive chairperson.

Tanya Dubash, Adi's elder daughter (also the eldest child), is the executive director of Godrej Industries, the flagship of the Adi/Nadir family. She is also the group's chief brand officer.

On the other hand, Godrej Enterprises Group, owned by Jamshyd Godrej and his sister Smita Godrej Crishna, will now be controlled by Jamshyd as its chairperson and managing director, Nyrika Holkar as executive director, and their immediate family members.

Holkar, who graduated from Colorado College in the US and later obtained law degrees from University College London, UK, joined the board of Godrej & Boyce Manufacturing Company in April 2017.

Freyan Crishna Bieri, daughter of Smita Godrej Crishna, is a non-executive director of Godrej & Boyce. Likewise, Navroze Godrej, Jamshyd's son, is a non-executive director of the unlisted company with large tracts of land in Mumbai.

Pursuant to the FSA, the management and control of Godrej & Boyce, Godrej Holdings Private Limited and Godrej Infotech, along with their respective subsidiaries and joint ventures, and RKNE Enterprises, will be with the JNG/SVC family.

Godrej & Boyce's assets include 3,400 acres of land in Vikhroli (a suburb in the northeastern part of Mumbai). Of this, while about 1,000 acres can be developed, another 1,750 acres have mangroves and will not be developed because of environmental concerns, Adi Godrej had said in 2011. Some 300 acres have been encroached upon.

One acre of land in Vikhroli, said to a real estate analyst, is priced at Rs 70 crore (Rs 700 billion) to Rs 80 crore (Rs 800 billion). So, the value of the 1,000 acres would work out to Rs 70,000 crore (Rs 700 billion) to Rs 80,000 crore (Rs 800 billion).

Nadir might retain a 2.5 per cent stake in Godrej & Boyce for sentimental reasons, considering that it is the oldest group company, said a source.

The Godrej family had acquired the Mumbai land parcel in early 1940s from the Bombay high court receiver. Originally given by the East India Company in the 1830s to a Parsi merchant, Framjee Banaji, it had come up for sale in 1941-1942.

Godrej Properties, a listed entity, is developing some of the Godrej & Boyce land along with other projects across Mumbai, including the redevelopment of a film studio of the late actor Raj Kapoor which the Godrej family now owns.

Before the transaction was announced on April 30, the five senior members of the Godrej family -- Adi (82), his brother Nadir (73), their cousin Jamshyd (75), his sister Smita Godrej Crishna (74), and another cousin Rishad Godrej (72) -- had equal stakes in all group companies and assets.

Apart from a clear succession planning and untangling of assets, the Godrej FSA also paved the way for brand usage and a non-compete agreement.

On the usage of the Godrej brand, the ABG and NBG family will have exclusive rights to adopt, use, own and register the 'Godrej' name and brand in businesses like fast-moving consumer goods (including cosmetics, domestic and cleaning supplies, sanitary care, toiletries), foods and beverages, dairy products and services, financial services, pharmaceuticals, pharmacy, diagnostics, sexual wellness, agriculture and agriculture-related services, fertilisers, chemicals, oils & fats, etc.

The JNG/SVC family, on the other hand, will have exclusive rights to adopt, use, own and register the 'Godrej' name and brand in businesses like space, aerospace, defence, furniture, durables, heavy engineering, locks and architectural hardware, EPC services, construction materials, home and office automation services, home and commercial interior design services, medical devices, software solutions, IT/ITeS, machines, energy, electric mobility business, vending machines, security products and solutions, intra-logistics, transmission systems, etc.

The two families have agreed to a six-year non-compete agreement and also on certain non-compete protections for their existing and exclusive businesses, which will apply for six years from the 'effective date'.

After the non-compete period, a family group could enter into the exclusive business of the other family group, without the use of the 'Godrej' brand (including in their corporate/entity names), the April 30 statement said.

The effort of the settlement was to minimise cross-shareholdings between the two families across group companies.

Though some small cross-holdings might remain with family members of the other group, the latter would be treated as any other (public) shareholders and not be classified as promoters.

Shares of the company held by members of the other group on or after the 'effective date' are not permitted to be transferred to competitor(s) identified under the FSA, except either with the prior consent of the heads of the ABG and NBG families or through a non-negotiated on-market sale.

Feature Presentation: Ashish Narsale/

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Dev Chatterjee
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