‘John Shaw loved India, his passing a huge loss,’ say friends | The Financial Express

‘John Shaw loved India, his passing a huge loss,’ say friends

To those who have seen the couple from outside, John Shaw seemed a pillar of support for Kiran Mazumdar in her struggling years.

‘John Shaw loved India, his passing a huge loss,’ say friends
More than a husband, John Shaw (Right) was for Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw a mentor, partner and guide. (Image: Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw/Facebook)

The passing of John Shaw is more than a personal loss to the many who knew him closely. The former vice chairman of Biocon was known to them more as a good natured, astute business leader who genuinely loved India. More than a husband, he was for Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw a mentor, partner and guide that she as Biocon’s founder would have needed, at least, during her early challenging years.

Breaking the monotony of the many perfunctory, if not painfully familiar, messages on a festival morning, a text on Monday, October 24th morning, conveying the loss is a reality many of his friends are taking time to sink into. Returning from John Shaw’s cremation, something that he had preferred, T.V. Mohandas Pai, the co-founder of Aarin Capital, former member on the board of Infosys, who is also a close family friend of the Shaws says: “John was a very compassionate, friendly person, a business leader, who understood business strategy, loved India and worked hard with Kiran to build Biocon.” Calling it a big loss for all, Pai felt what was also striking “about John was his great sense of humour and an ability to stay positive always.” He was a Scot and there was a christian service done followed by a cremation that he had specifically preferred. Naina Lal Kidwai, who is on the board of Biocon, recalled him as one with an amazing zest for life and a wealth of experience having run global businesses with a strong financial bent. “He was not just a husband to Kiran but her business partner, friend and a mentor. He will be missed by all,” she says.

M Damodaran, an expert on corporate governance, who is also on the Biocon board and knew John Shaw well says: “John Shaw’s passing away is a huge loss to anyone who was privileged to know him. He was a warm, friendly and helpful person and an engaging conversationalist. As long as he was on the board, he was a strong presence in the boardroom, and his interventions, however brief, brought clarity to the discussions.”

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To those who have seen the couple from outside, John Shaw seemed a pillar of support for Kiran Mazumdar in her struggling years but then both apparently switched places with Kiran Mazumdar leaving no stone unturned to help him fight back the ailment. Both have been together in their philanthropic missions. In fact, in June this year, the University of Glasgow launched Mazumdar-Shaw Advanced Research Centre. John Shaw, a Glasgow University graduate, had along with Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw gifted $7.5 million to the University in July 2019. Their donation has been used to set up a new research hub within the University campus and to create a Professorial Chair, the Mazumdar-Shaw Chair of Molecular Pathology. 

The passing of John Shaw has been a second major personal setback this year for Kiran Mazumdar, who just four months back lost her mother Yamini Mazumdar. 

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First published on: 24-10-2022 at 17:25 IST