Ameera Shah, 38
Promoter and managing director, Metropolis Healthcare
Previous Rank : NEW
Over the last one year, Metropolis Healthcare, which runs a multinational chain of pathology laboratories, has taken on what can be called its fastest growth trajectory. In a span of 12 months, it added 653 new centres, taking the total to 1,695. This is the company’s most aggressive expansion since it was founded in 2001. It has also launched new technologies in the areas of histopathology, digital pathology, microbiology, clinical chemistry, immunochemistry, transplant pathology, and genetics and genomics. Through all this, in the last 18 months, the firm has replaced 20 of its top executives in a bid to professionalise itself. Among others, Metropolis has hired a new chief executive, chief financial officer, chief operating officer, chief human resource officer, chief information technology officer and chief marketing officer. At the helm of all this is 38-year-old Shah, who along with her father Sushil Shah, bought back the 27% stake that private equity firm Warburg Pincus held in the company. Back in 2010, Warburg Pincus India had backed Metropolis to the tune of $85 million. At the time, the diagnostics business was hugely fragmented, with over 85% of labs in the country owned by doctors, pathologists, or technicians. Shah went against the conventional thinking of the time, when larger labs such as Super Religare Laboratories and Dr Lal PathLabs were busy buying up small players. She said then: “The involvement that goes into even a blood test differs between the founder pathologist running the show and an executive running it.” Her preferred method of expansion was through partnering as many labs as possible, and Warburg backed this. Buying back the private equity firm’s 27% for Rs 550 crore with the backing of KKR India in 2015 has raised the Shah family’s stake in Metropolis to 63% from 36%, giving her the control to grow Metropolis the way she wanted. “Since 2015, the focus has been to go to the fifth gear (in growth acceleration). I want everybody’s focus on the business and not get side-tracked by either quarterly results or earnings calls or pressure from external shareholders or comparison with industry peers. I want my team to settle down and put blinkers like horses and just look exactly where we need to go. We need to put a laser focus on things,” says Shah, on why she prefers Metropolis to be an unlisted entity for the time being.