Sisterly Act Helps Apollo Steer Through Tough Times
age: Sangita (58); Suneeta (61); Preetha (63); Shobana (60)
"Our growth from one hospital to 72 hospitals has not been about the number of beds, but the number of people we were able to treat and look after. As much as I need to talk about business, I don't think about the work we do as business," Suneeta Reddy, MD, Apollo Hospitals, sums up why in spite of a fall in revenue and profit, FY21 has been a landmark year for India's largest private hospital chain. "As a clinical provider we worked double time," says Preetha Reddy, executive vice chairperson. All four sisters, Suneeta, Shobana Kamineni [executive vice chairperson], Preetha and Sangita [joint MD] worked hand in hand under the guidance of their father — founder and chairman Dr. Pratap C. Reddy — and Apollo's 67,000-member team to make it happen. "We were there in the frontline. I have gone into wards, all of them in PPE, spoken to nurses so that they knew we would not hesitate to do what we were asking them to do," says Sangita. The group runs India's largest pharmacy chain, and manages the country's largest end-to-end omni-channel healthcare platform, which conducted over 290,000 virtual consultations and 630,000 medicine orders across 10,000 pin codes in FY21. "On the first day the lockdown was announced (March 22, 2020), we had to serve 700,000 people, against a normal footfall of 500,000 in our pharmacies across the country. We had only 80% staff," says Shobana. While Shobana and Sangita led the group's digital push, Preetha had an overview on the developments. "Suneeta held the ship together. It was her focus which made Apollo come around the way it did," says Preetha.