Tracing history: Godrej & Boyce’s 1st external CEO part of broader trend


Anil Verma may now have become the first chief executive officer (CEO) at (G&B) from outside the family. But he has been at the helm of 14 of the group’s businesses for the past seven years.

He’s not alone.

Verma was executive director since 2008 and made president in 2015 of the 14 businesses that include consumer durables, intralogistics, defence, and aerospace, among others.

With nearly four decades of corporate expertise under his belt in his various roles at G&B, he is responsible for the organisation’s operations, both domestically and internationally, which involve more than 14,000 employees across 30-plus locations.

In his new role as CEO, Verma will continue to oversee the company’s expansion and profitability, while bringing about quantifiable changes in its operations.

Before Verma, Phiroze D Lam was president of the company from 2004-2015.

Jamshyd Naoroji Godrej holds the position of chairman and managing director (MD) at G&B.

In contrast, Godrej Industries, which houses the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) and real estate verticals, has had professionals at the helm since the previous century.

Godrej Industries, which is the holding group company under Nadir Burjorji Godrej and Adi Burjorji Godrej, introduced professionals to various businesses in the 1960s.

After joining the family business in 1963, Adi began hiring management trainees from the top business schools in India. Adi also brought in merit-class, chartered accountants into the business.

He took in professionals at MD/CEO levels at various group after he entered the business.

Currently, Nadir is chairman of Godrej Industries. Adi’s children – Nisaba Adi Godrej and Pirojsha Adi Godrej – hold chairperson positions at group companies, which include Godrej Consumer Products and Godrej Properties.

Godrej Consumer Products, which is the group’s FMCG company, brought in its first MD Dalip Sehgal in 2009 – a position Adi has held.

After Sehgal’s resignation, Arumugham Mahendran was appointed MD of the consumer company in 2010. He successfully helped merge Godrej Sara Lee with Godrej Consumer Products.

After Mahendran, Vivek Gambhir took over as MD of the maker of Cinthol soaps. After Gambhir’s exit, Nisaba managed the daily operations of the company in July 2020 before Sudhir Sitapati from Hindustan Unilever was named MD and CEO in October 2021.

In 2017, Adi took on the role of chairman emeritus. His daughter became executive chairperson.

At Godrej Agrovet, Narayan Chintaman Gavankar became its first CEO in 1974, followed by Sudhir Laxman Anaokar between 1986 and 2004. In 2005, Chandrashekhar Vaidya took over as CEO. Since 2007, Balram Singh Yadav has been CEO of the food and agri conglomerate.

At Godrej Properties since its inception, it has had a professional at the helm. Ashok Patil became CEO in 1990 – a position he held until 1995. In 1995, Amit Choudhury took on the role of MD and CEO until 2003. Milind S Korde handled the day-to-day operations of the real estate business until 2012. Adi’s son Pirojsha, who joined the business in 2004 and then became an executive director in 2008, remained MD and CEO until 2017 when Mohit Malhotra came in as MD and Pirojsha became executive chairman. Adi also took on the role of chairman emeritus of the company that year.

In January this year, the real estate major appointed Gaurav Pandey as CEO.


Ardeshir Burjorji Sorabji Godrej and Pirojsha Burjorji Godrej managed the company set up in 1897 until the 1920s. Then, Ardeshir turned focus to Godrej Soaps, while Pirojsha concentrated on (G&B). Once Ardeshir passed away, Pirojsha took over the entire business and further divided responsibilities between his children. Naval Pirojsha Godrej was asked to manage G&B (late 1930s), while Burjor Godrej was asked to manage Godrej Soaps (1940s). Sohrab Pirojsha Godrej was more interested in advertising and branding for both . Naval further handed it to Jamshyd Naoroji Godrej (in the 1970s), while Burjor passed it on to Adi Burjorji Godrej (1963) and Nadir Burjorji Godrej joined the business only in 1976.


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