Kumar Bajaj was born
June 10, 1938 to kamalnayan and Savitri Bajaj. At that time, the Bajaj
companies was a third generation business into commodities trading. The
was quite well off. Rahul's childhood was mostly in Mumbai, where the
was growing by leaps and bounds. Kamalnayan and his brother, Ram
were at the helm of affairs and were slowly moving the business into
of manufacturing vehicles.
at Cathedral and John Cannon School. He grew up in an environment when
Indian freedom struggle was at its fiery heights. The Bajaj family was
nationalistic. Rahul's father and uncle were involved in the freedom
and had also been jailed briefly by the British Colonials for their
fervour. Post independence, Rahul's father became a Member of
the Congress government. As a result, the Bajajs' have always been
supportive to political leaders of the country, to this date.
1956, Rahul finished
schooling and moved on to Delhi's St. Stephen College to graduate in
Economics. Soon after his graduation, Rahul moved back to Mumbai
in one of the companies owned by the family, Bajaj Electricals. He
for two years while studying law at the same time. He used to attend
at the Government Law College in the mornings, and then move on to the
Electricals office where he put in a long and hard day at work. He was
the position of a Junior Purchase Officer.
knew that some day,
would be given the reins of this massive business, which he would have
with competence and professionalism - just like his father and
he decided to further his education, and went away to Harvard in 1962
Business Management. He finished his MBA in 1964, and returned to India.
joined Bajaj Auto as
General Manager, in charge of the Commercial function of the company.
guidance of Naval K Firodia, the Chief Executive of Bajaj Auto, Rahul
learn the nuances of the business. There were few concessions for him
part of the owner's family. He had to learn the business, like everyone
was a fairly large responsibility for him. Rahul was made to involve
almost all departments in the company including key departments in the
like Marketing, Accounts, Purchase, and Audit etc. except
manufacturing. The company was gaining prominence as the
market had begun to expand exponentially.
bigger factory was
needed to step up production, and eventually the factory moved to a
premise, in Akurdi, Pune. The company, which had started manufacturing
in a garage outside Mumbai, had finally arrived. In 1972, Rahul's
away, and he became the Managing Director of Bajaj Auto. By this time,
and the Bajajs had parted ways, and Rahul became the sole leader of the
company, which was poised for tremendous growth.
the next 3 decades,
ran the company with passion and élan, which left the industry
grew the company’s revenues to join the Billion-dollar club, and
made the Bajaj
Scooter the most admired and sought after "item" of all middle class
households. Rahul’s pet project - The Bajaj “Chetak”
scooter was a huge success
story. The Chetak had a 10 year waiting period at one point in
time. Thanks to this, the black market prevailed, and a Bajaj
available at a premium equivalent to its Price.
monopoly did not last
as companies like Honda and Vespa came up with their own products
competing with the Bajaj scooter. But Rahul had foreseen this, and had
for a massive appointment of new dealers throughout the country. He
initiated a series excellent advertising campaigns to improve the brand
in the minds of the customer. Rahul also invested time and money in
R&D to ensure that his products were in no way inferior to
efforts paid off, and Rahul had ensured that Bajaj retained its top
spot in the
scooter industry in India.
his share of low
in his life. His parting with the Firodia's and the Italian automobile
Piaggio left a bad taste. Rahul's spat with the Indira Gandhi
also a matter of record. The company suffered because of this, as they
allowed to expand their facilities to keep up with the growing demand.
Union related problem at his factory, which turned violent, raised a
eyebrows on the Bajaj Management. But the high points in his life over
the low ones. Today, Rahul is a content man, his company having
60% market share in the world's two wheeler market. His pioneering
made Bajaj Auto the fourth largest two-wheeler manufacturer in the
has also contributed
tremendously to the growth of the automobile industry in India. He
been the president of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and
Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM). He was awarded the
Bhushan in 2001. His net worth is estimated to be at $1.5 Billion. He
listed twentieth on the Forbes India's Richest 40 people. The recession
stock market collapse of 2001 hit the company hard and it was predicted
the days of Bajaj Auto were numbered. However, Bajaj Auto reinvented
established a world-class factory in Chakan, invested in R&D and
with Bajaj Pulsar Motorcycle. Bajaj Pulsar is currently a leader in its
segment. In June 2006, Rahul Bajaj was elected to Rajya Sabha from
is semi-retired after a heart attack. Rahul
lives peacefully in a spacious home within the factory premises in
his wife Rupa. His sons Rajiv and Sanjiv, look after the company
Rahul is always Present to guide them, and to ensure that his beloved
moves to achieve greater heights.