In the end, it all played out according to script, fittingly perhaps for a man whose first love was movie making, not wearing starched pinstripes. Anand G Mahindra, 57, vice-chairman and managing director, Mahindra & Mahindra was named chairman of the $15.4 billion group on Wednesday. He will take over from his uncle Keshub Mahindra, 88, who was named chairman emeritus, after the annual general meeting of the auto maker on August 8.
The transition from uncle to nephew may also perhaps mark the last of the Mahindra surnames to head the group, as Anand himself indicated to HT that his successor need not necessarily share the surname.
"No absolutely not. Right now if you look around there is no relative of mine working here. My daughters are in different careers. One is a film maker and one is into designing. They have made more commitments to their careers," said Mahindra.
Anand has two siblings, both sisters, while Keshub Mahindra has three daughters and seven grandchildren.
While he did not reveal who might succeed him some day, Mahindra indicated that he had three possible alternatives to take over the reins of the 50-company group. "Every manager in our system has to designate who are the three people who can be his possible successors. We have a hit by bus scenario….I have given some people's name to take over my responsibility in a hit by bus scenario - all of them are potential successors," he said.
Keshub Mahindra, who joined the company in 1947 and took charge as chairman after the death of his father and co-founder Kailash Chandra Mahindra in 1963, had courted controversy in 2010 when he was convicted along with six others in the Bhopal gas tragedy case. The elder Mahindra was chairman of Union Carbide in 1984, when the tragedy occurred.
The company began as a steel trading company in Ludhiana by brothers Jagdish Chandra Mahindra — Anand’s grandfather — and Kailash, along with Malik Ghulam Mohammad.
It was initially called Mahindra and Mohammad. After independence in 1947, when Mohammad shifted base to Pakistan, where he became the country's finance minister, the company was renamed Mahindra and Mahindra, through the initials remained unchanged.