A Third Bundle Of Joy

Updated: Sep 23 2003, 05:30am hrs
The stork is visiting the Kumar Mangalam Birla household once again.

Kumar Mangalam and wife Neerja are looking forward to an early spring in 2004, when they will be proud parents for the third time round.

The imminent addition to the Birla family will also be cause for joy for Mr Birlas two children Ananyashree, 8, and Aryaman Vikram, 4.

Mr Birla himself has a sister Vasavdatta who is married to Kushagra Bajaj, son of Shishir Bajaj. Neerja is from the Kasliwal family. The coming year will, therefore, be a joyous one for these three families.

Being the only son, Mr Birla had to take charge of the Aditya Birla Group at a young age, when his father Aditya Vikram passed away in 1995.

Since his taking charge at the helm of affairs, the Rs 29,000 crore Aditya Birla group has moved from strength to strength, despite initial apprehensions about whether Kumar Mangalam would be able to manage the reins of such a large and diversified empire at such a young age. Mr Birla is now 35.

From hiring some of Corporate Indias most reputed professionals to pushing through some major acquisitions, Mr Birla has had a virtual bull run over the past few years as the head of the AV Birla group.

Industry House-watchers and those who know the Birla clan say the imminent addition to the family will, in the long term, be bound to be part of those calling the shots at the group. Those tracking family-run groups are of the view that an addition to the Birla family is no ordinary development. It brings in a major variable in the way things are and will be at the highest echelons of one of the countrys oldest industrial empires, and one steeped in decades of history.

This year has been a particularly happy one for Mr Birla. He was able to close a long-pending deal on the Larsen & Toubro (L&T) front, after hammering out a complex solution with the L&T management on the latters cement business which was bought over by the Birla group flagship Grasim. This has considerably strengthened the Birla group as a whole, and propelled it as the largest cement player in the country.