Storming the Male Bastion
Mallika Srinivasan: Tractor Queen
by Raman Mahadevan
Given that business and industry in India have traditionally been a preserve of men, it is remarkable that the quiet, low-profile Mallika Srinivasan has managed to carve out a niche in the highly competitive manufacturing sector. She is counted among the few established woman entrepreneurs of contemporary India together with Rajashree Pathy, the sugar baroness, and Kiran Shaw-Mazumdar, the tsarina of biotech. Mallika is presently not only a director of the well-known Amalgamations Group but is also a CEO of its exceptionally profitable and successful flagship company TAFE (Tractors and Farm Equipment Ltd).
Mallika can legitimately take a fair share of the credit for turning this small and relatively inconspicuous company with an annual turnover of a mere Rs 80 crores in mid-1980s into what is presently the world’s third largest tractor manufacturing company with a gross revenue earning of over $1 billion, or roughly Rs 4850 crores, and an annual sales volume of over 100,000 tractors. This is no small feat, given the highly competitive nature of industry.
Being the granddaughter of S. Anantharamakrishnan, founder of the legendary Simpson Group, and the elder daughter of A. Sivasailam , and later, in the mid-1980s, wife of Venu Srinivasan of TVS Motors, would certainly have been an advantage, but crucial in honing her latent entrepreneurial skills were her own attributes and educational accomplishments. She took an MA in Econometrics from Madras University and an MBA from Wharton Business School. In retrospect, it was her vision, managerial capability and sense of determination that seem to have been critical in enabling her company to emerge as a market leader.
Muthiah, S. Getting India on the Move: The 150 years Saga of Simpsons of Madras.Chennai: Higginbothams, 1990.
Business India. 11 -24 Aug 1997. pp. 115.
“TAFE breaks new ground, hits $1-b turnover mark”. The Economic Times. 2 Apr. 2010. <http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/5753219.cms>