NMC founder trains his children to take over

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NMC founder trains his children to take over

  1. 1. NMC founder trains his children to take overSuryatapa Bhattacharya • Last Updated: July 02. 2008 11:17PM UAE / July 2. 2008 7:17PM GMTBavaguthu Raghuram Shetty and his son Binay control the NMC group. Andrew Parsons / TheNationalABU DHABI // The head of one of the nation’s biggest conglomerates is working closely withhis children as he looks to the future leadership of the company.Bavaguthu Raghuram Shetty, the head of the NMC group, which runs hospitals, pharmacies,financial services and retail chains, has built an impressive service industry empire since arrivingin the UAE in 1973.Today, his children, including his son, Binay R Shetty, 25, are executive directors of thecorporation.Before a tour of Neopharma, the company’s pharmaceutical manufacturing plant in Musaffah,father and son arrive in distinctly different styles: Binay drives a black Maserati, while Mr Shettyis driven in a white Bentley Turbo. They rib each other about parking their cars.“But you didn’t have to look for parking in the shade. I drove here,” Binay said to his father. MrShetty smiled proudly.Born to a doctor mother and pharmacist father in Abu Dhabi, Binay remembers a crowdedchildhood, filled with his father’s acquaintances dropping in for visits and time spent in hisfather’s office as he developed the first of his hospitals – a chain of New Medical Centres.“The whole family grew up around the business,” said Binay. “Home was adjacent to thehospital, so it was the centre of our lives. We were involved since we were 10 years old, helpingwith filing and such.”Then he looked at his father and teased. “Child labour, no?”
  2. 2. Life was modest then, Binay said, even though both his parents were busy. “We’ve never beenspoiled. We always lived in two to three bedrooms, although now that we’re all grown, it’sdifferent. We’re a small family and we’ve always been close. Mum drove us to school and papapicked us up.”Mr Shetty also has three daughters, Neema, 31, a dentist in Australia, Reema, 28, who overseesbusiness development, and Seema, 26, who heads the retail and hospitality sectors, includingprojects such as Aabharan, a jewellery line, and BiteRite, a range of foods and cafes that cater tothe health-conscious and diabetics.Only Neema was motivated to follow in her parents’ footsteps, while her siblings pursued theirstudies in business.These days, Binay travels two or three times a month, often on behalf of his father, and rarelycomes home from work before 11pm.“Little did we know,” he said.The youngest child, he studied finance at Boston University. After finishing his degree, he did aninternship with the UAE Exchange, also part of the NMC group. Over the past four years, Binayhas started to take on more responsibilities with the company.“He works independently,” Mr Shetty said. “These young boys are all different. Their culture isdifferent. They’re faster.“We got him a Blackberry but he just wouldn’t use it,” said Binay, who spent months trying toteach his father how to store telephone numbers in the device. Instead, Mr Shetty prefers an oldNokia – which rings twice as often as his son’s phone. Binay has in-depth knowledge of all thefamily’s businesses, and even finishes his father’s sentences for him.When his father tried to describe the evening he received the Order of Abu Dhabi in 2005, anddrew a blank, Binay completed the thought: “The badge of honour was presented to Mr Shettyby Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, in recognition for his work.”Then Binay talks in great length about the future of Neopharma and the conglomerate’s forayinto nanotechnology. The pharmaceutical company – the only one in Abu Dhabi – has entered apartnership with the Bangalore-based Biocon, one of India’s largest drugs companies.There are other business launches in the pipeline, but Mr Shetty would rather have Binay explainthem.“Together, with him,” said Binay, looking at his father, “we are building other things.”

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