Aditya Birla Biography

Aditya Birla (1944-1995) was a renowned Indian industrialist and former Chairman of one of India’s biggest multinational corporations- the Aditya Birla Group. Aditya Vikram Birla was born into the formidable business family of the Birlas, and is the grandson of the legendary G.D. Birla, who was one of India’s most outstanding industrialists and founder of the vast Birla industrial empire. Besides being a successful business tycoon, he also led a well-balanced family-life, along with his wife, son Kumarmangalam, the present Chairman, and a daughter.

Aditya Birla completed his formal education, graduating in science from St Xavier’s College, Calcutta, and then earning a degree in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston. On returning back to India in 1965, Aditya entered the world of business and industry, with most of his ventures leading either to successful expansions or profitable turnovers. His maiden venture was the establishment of the Eastern Spinning Mills in Calcutta. It put the sinking rayon and textile business back on track and registered handsome profits. His next few ventures saw his success in the expansion of Hindustan Gas and the magnificent conversion of the sick Indo-Gulf Fertilisers and Chemicals Ltd, with liquidity and managerial crisis, into a booming blue-chip company. He then went on to have a series of industrial and business successes over the years, however, after his grandfather’s death in 1983, he had to play a bigger role. Over the next 12 years, Aditya Birla expanded the Birla Empire making it one of India’s largest business conglomerates and himself becoming one of India’s foremost businessmen. His overseas joint industrial ventures in Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines and Malaysia reaped immense gains, being the largest multinational company set up by a resident Indian industrialist. He has even held the post of director of the Central Bank of India and Air India.

With its dominion spreading across India and south-east Asia, Aditya Birla’s industries were involved in manufacturing of textiles, chemicals, engineering goods, fertilisers, and palm oil. Amongst his manufacturing houses in India, Hindalco (being amongst the largest low-cost producers of aluminium in the world) and Grasim (the largest producer of viscose staple fibre), shine greatly, reflecting the sheer brilliance of this industrial wizard. A thoroughbred businessman and industrialist, Aditya Birla’s determination and innovative theories carved a niche for India, putting her on the world map amongst the world’s largest companies. He has also been instrumental with his advice on market reform policies to the Indian Government and is well known for his inspirational speeches that not only motivated but proved effective as well.

Aditya Birla passed away suddenly, aged 51, in Baltimore on 1st October, 1995, owing to prostrate cancer. For his immense contributions, he was declared as ‘Business Man of the Year’ in 1990. Not many know that Aditya was himself an accomplished artist, in memory of him, the Aditya Vikram Birla Kalashikar Puraskar is awarded to painters and sculptors. He would always be remembered for creating India’s first global corporation.