Marico chairman Harsh C. Mariwala was named the EY Entrepreneur of the Year 2020 and he will be India's contender in the global award to be held in June.

Mariwala took over the family business in 1971, the year the company’s turnover was ₹50 lakh. He set up Marico in 1990 and it has grown exponentially since. Marico, which owns brands such as Parachute and Saffola, is one of the largest and most recognisable FMCG companies in the country. In FY20, the Fortune India 500 company posted revenue from operations of ₹7,315 crore.

“Much ahead of the times, he disrupted the market and his own business with products and services which are household names today, having stood the test of time for over three decades,” EY said about Mariwala in a statement.

In a virtual award ceremony Thursday evening, EY also conferred Prathap Chandra Reddy, founder chairman of Apollo Hospitals, with a lifetime achievement award. “Dr Reddy laid out a compelling, courageous, and colossal vision to provide world-class healthcare at a time when there was a massive shortfall in quality hospital care,” EY said.

Meanwhile Fortune India’s 40 Under 40 listers Byju Raveendran of Byju’s and Peyush Bansal of Lenskart won in the business transformation and the startup category, respectively.

Deepak Mehta, CMD of Deepak Nitrite, another Fortune India 500 company, was named the winner in the manufacturing category. IndiaMART’s CEO Dinesh Agarwal won in the services category, while Sushil Kumar Agarwal, MD and CEO, Aavas Financiers was awarded in the financial services category. Darshan Patel of Vini Cosmetics won in the consumer products and retail segment.

Dr. Prathap C. Reddy, Chairman, Apollo Hospitals
Dr. Prathap C. Reddy, Chairman, Apollo Hospitals
Image : Apollo Hospitals

Fortune India’s Most Powerful Women in Business regular Ameera Shah was awarded in the life sciences and healthcare category, while Suresh Narayanan of Nestlé India was named the entrepreneurial CEO of the year.

“The key driving force for India’s rise will be our entrepreneurs, who are inventing new things every day that can transform India and the world, who are disruptive and hungry for success,” Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani said in his keynote address at the virtual awards ceremony.

The winners were selected by a nine-member independent jury led by Uday Kotak, MD and CEO, Kotak Mahindra Bank.

Lessons from Covid-19

Corporate leaders have to assemble thinkers from various sections of society to understand, and create a complete list of the risk factors, said Infosys co-founder N.R. Narayana Murthy in a panel discussion during the virtual event. “This pandemic has humbled me and showed serious gaps in my thinking,” he said, adding that when he drew up a list of potential business risks back in the 1990s, he didn’t include the possibility of a pandemic. A year into Covid-19, business leaders have seen a shift in how they assess risks. For Indian CEOs, it has also meant reassessing the place India holds in global business.

Biocon’s Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, the winner of the EY World Entrepreneur of the year last year and a regular on Fortune India’s Most Powerful Women in Business lists, said that after the pandemic, it is clear that India is vital to the global healthcare supply chain. “This is a time when you need global partnerships, global collaboration and global consolidation of supply chains,” she said.

Carmine Di Sibio, global chairman and CEO, EY also said that the pandemic has shown that collaboration is more important than ever before. “This is true in terms of solving the pandemic, but also solving a lot of issues of the world,” he said. Di Sibio also emphasised the important role that governments play in helping companies scale. “If you're in any kind of business where you need to scale that business, you're going to need help from the government... I think there's an opportunity for entrepreneurs to use governments to get to wherever they need to be from their standpoint,” he added.

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