(Last Updated on : 31/05/2013)
Anu Aga is an Indian businesswoman and social worker, who led Thermax Ltd., the) energy and environment engineering business, as its chairperson from the time period 1996-2004. She had figured among the eight richest Indian Women
, and in 2007 was part of 40 Richest Indians by net worth according to Forbes magazine.
Anu Aga has been nominated for Rajya Sabha
Upper House of Indian Parliament. She retired as the chairperson of Thermax Ltd in 2004, handing over the reins to her daughter Meher Pudumjee
Early life and education of Anu Aga
Anu Aga was born on 3 August 1942 in an upper middle-class Parsi family in Mumbai
. A degree in Economics, post graduation in medical and psychiatric social work and a Fulbright scholarship later she graduated with a B.A. in Economics from St. Xavier's College
, Mumbai and with a post graduation in medical and psychiatric social work from the prestigious Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS), Mumbai. She had also been a Fulbright Scholar and studied in the United States for four months. She married a bright Harvard scholar Rohinton Aga, raised a family and had just married off her daughter when tragedy struck.
Personal life of Anu Aga
Anu Agas Career and personal life goes in sync. Her personal loss had been a catalyst to the growth in her career. That is to note; life story of grace under fire and her success as a born again businesswoman and former chairperson of Thermax India are both intertwined.
To narrate one without touching upon the other would not be possible. To be acquainted with catastrophe misfortune or to be precise-Tragedy and to live it is two different state and condition. But when Anu Aga was thunder struck by three tragic episodes back to back as if conjured by fate, she transformed totally into a woman who would never be afraid for a second time of life or death. And who invested her energy and resources in cultivating human capital within her company and outside it.
Anu Aga's. In 1996, Rohinton passed away all of a sudden after a cardiac attack which was fatal and nothing had really prepared Anu to her fill his shoes or take his place as a chairperson at Thermax. Thermax, a modest engineering company initiated by her father A S Bathena three decades ago had been managed with exemplary excellence by Rohinton and Anu had been content handling human resources but now she was expected to run the company and win back the fast depleting trust of the shareholders.
But more personal tragedy was in store. Her mother-in-law passed away and then her 25-year-old son Kurush died in a road accident. Three debilitating deaths in the family would be enough to knock the air out of any woman's sails, but Anu took over the reins at Thermax and grew it to new heights. This year, the Government of India conferred Anu Aga with the Padma Shri Award
for her distinguished service in the field of social work.
Career of Anu Aga
Thermax was set up by her father AS Bhathena in 1966 as Wanson (India) to provide a range of engineering solutions. The company was renamed Thermax in 1980 after her father retired. Her husband, Rohinton, headed it till 1996, when he died of a massive stroke. While Ms Aga was still finding her feet as the head of Thermax, she suffered a second tragedy - her 25-year-old son Kurush was killed in a road accident. Thermax's growth had nose-dived at the time, with share prices plummeting from Rs. 400 to Rs. 36 because of the market downturn.
Anu started her career in Thermax in 1985 and later headed its human resources division from 1991 to 1996. After the death of husband, Rohinton Aga, she took over as Chairperson of Thermax, retiring in 2004 and succeeded by her daughter and company vice-chairperson, Meher Pudumjee. Anu has since remained on company's Board of Directors, and involved with social work. In 2011, Ms Aga was ranked No. 79 on Forbes magazine's Richest Indians list with a net worth of $655 million (Rs. 3,440.7 crore, at current rates).
Social Work by Anu Aga
Closely associated with the Thermax Social Initiative Foundation (TSIS) the foundation, in partnership with the municipal corporations of both cities and Akanksha, she manages two schools for lower-income groups. Highly reputed she is for maintaining water like transparency in corporate governance.
Adversity is the time when the tough gets going. And nobody knows that better than Anu Aga, who rose to the challenge when life hit a rough patch. This successful business woman came on board in the face of tragic circumstances - fighting not just personal tragedy but acceptance in their new roles too. She is one woman India is surely proud to have housed!