NEW DELHI: Anil Manibhai Naik, the esteemed chairman of the renowned construction giant Larsen & Toubro (L&T), stands as a testament to an extraordinary professional life marked by dedication, resilience, and transformation. With a remarkable career spanning six decades within the conglomerate, Naik’s success story reveals an unwavering commitment to self-improvement and innovation.
From Humble Beginnings To Corporate Titan
Born on June 9th, 1942, in Gujarat, Naik’s roots trace back to his father, Manibhai Nichhabhai Naik, a freedom fighter who relinquished his role as a Mumbai school teacher to uplift rural India. Naik’s journey of transformation began at Gujarat’s Birla Vishvakarma Mahavidyalaya Engineering College, where he graduated with a degree in mechanical engineering.
Leadership In Action: Shaping L&T’s Destiny
Naik’s foray into L&T started in 1965 when he joined as an assistant engineer, earning a modest salary of Rs 760. His drive and diligence propelled him forward, and within six months, he secured promotion to a supervisory position. Remarkably, within just 18 months of joining the company, Naik found himself overseeing a team of 800 individuals, a feat achieved before his 25th birthday.
However, Naik’s entry into L&T wasn’t without its challenges. Initially rejected due to the company’s preference for hiring IITians, he joined Nester Boilers. Yet, the determination to secure a role at L&T persisted, leading him to eventually succeed and embark on a transformative journey.
Over the years, Naik’s leadership abilities shone brightly. In 1999, he ascended to the role of CEO, a position he held until his appointment as group chairman in July 2017. His leadership style was characterized by simplicity and dedication, evident in his modest possessions—merely two pairs of shoes, six shirts, and two suits—as revealed in an interview.
Philanthropy & Social Responsibility
The financial landscape mirrored Naik’s impressive career. In the fiscal year 2017–2018, he received a staggering Rs 137 crore from the company, with his accumulated leaves amounting to over Rs 19 crore. Even more commendably, in 2016, Naik donated 75% of his total income to charitable causes, highlighting his commitment to giving back.
Naik’s philanthropic spirit extended beyond financial contributions. His focus on education and healthcare led him to establish schools and hospitals for underprivileged communities, embodying the principles of compassion and social responsibility.
The pinnacle of Naik’s philanthropic endeavours emerged when he emerged as one of India’s top 10 donors in 2022, with a generous contribution of Rs 142 crore. Notably, his personal investments included holdings in nine stocks, amassing a net worth exceeding Rs 171.3 crore, according to corporate shareholding filings as of March 31, 2023.
Financial Triumphs And Legacy
Beyond his financial achievements, Naik’s legacy lay in his strategic prowess. In the 1980s and early 2000s, his visionary tactics protected L&T from potential takeover bids. Additionally, Naik’s profound influence extended beyond the business realm, earning him reverence from both industry peers and political leaders alike.
Gearing Up For The Next Chapter
Today, at 81 years of age, Anil Manibhai Naik is embracing a new chapter as a mentor to the next generation of leaders within L&T. While he steps away from active leadership, his role as an advisor remains pivotal, with a particular focus on nurturing future leaders.
The Power Of Simplicity And Service
Dressed in a simple white T-shirt and dark grey trousers, Naik exemplifies a life defined by simplicity and service. From his village roots to the corporate sphere, his journey is a testament to the power of resilience, self-improvement, and dedication to creating value for employees and stakeholders alike. Anil Manibhai Naik’s transformative journey continues to inspire, standing as a beacon of hope for those striving for excellence in both their professional and philanthropic pursuits.
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