Automatically, it will be Preetha,” Prathap C Reddy, chairman, Apollo Hospitals Group, had said of his successor while responding to a query from The Financial Express in February this year. “All my daughters are capable but Preetha has been tackling hospitals from the beginning and is well-accepted by everyone. She is more capable than her daddy.”
Wednesday’s succession plan at the Rs 4,400-crore healthcare services provider narrowed Reddy’s successors down to two of his four daughters, but left the field open between Preetha Reddy and Shobana Kamineni, both of whom have been re-designated executive vice-chairpersons.
Reddy appears to be the frontrunner to take her father’s place since the press release notes she will be focused on Apollo’s core strength areas and drive “Apollo’s aspiration of becoming the global healthcare destination”. Kamineni’s primary focus, on the other hand, will be related to the pharmacy initiatives, the fastest-growing piece within Apollo Hospitals.
As part of the reorganisation, Suneeta Reddy, currently a joint managing director, is being elevated as managing director while Sangita Reddy, now executive director in charge of operations, will be joint managing director. Founder and chairman Prathap Reddy, who is 81 years old, founded the business in 1979. The elevation of Reddy’s daughters to greater roles within the company is in line with what has been happening at a number of Indian family-owned businesses where the daughters of first- or second-generation entrepreneurs are being groomed to assume greater responsibilities.
“Prathap Reddy’s daughters have shown credence in the way they have managed the business for quite some time now and the company has done well in this period,” said a Mumbai-based healthcare analyst with a foreign brokerage.
“It is nice to see women coming up to assume leadership positions in family-run businesses, which have been dominated by the male bastion for a long time,” said Sowmya Rajan, managing director, Waterfield Advisors, which advises the offices of business families on investing their wealth. “Studies show that globally around 30% of wealth is controlled by women. Though this proportion may be less in India currently, women are starting to get due recognition for the value they bring to corporations.”
Many Indian businesses have been promoting the women of the family to senior leadership positions. Some examples include Laxmi Venu, daughter of TVS Motors chairman Venu Srinivasan, who is vice-president in charge of global business strategy at Sundaram-Clayton, the holding company of TVS Motors; Tanya Dubash, Adi Godrej’s daughter, who is an executive director and president (marketing) for the Godrej Group; Nisaba Godrej, also Adi Godrej’s daughter, who is an executive director on the board of Godrej Consumer Products; and Roshni Nadar, Shiv Nadar’s daughter, who is the chief executive and executive director of HCL.
According to a filing with the bourses, Preetha, Sangita and Suneeta Reddy’s terms in their new capacity will continue till February 2016. Shobana Kamineni’s term, which was to end in January 2015, has been extended by the company’s board for another five years.
Preetha Reddy will be responsible for reviewing global medical advancements and “introduction of contemporary protocols to further enhance clinical outcomes”, the company’s statement said, adding she will work closely with the firm’s clinicians towards this end. Additionally, she will also look after the healthcare company’s international business and enterprise risk management.
Shobana Kamineni will oversee the pharmacy chain, already the biggest in the country. She will also oversee the planning, design and execution of new projects while leading Apollo Global Projects Consultancy Division and continuing to be a whole-time director on the board of Apollo Munich Health Insurance. Suneeta Reddy will be in charge of Apollo’s corporate strategy, corporate finance, funding and investments, mergers and acquisitions, and brand and marketing. Sangita Reddy, who is currently an executive director in charge of operations, will become joint managing director and focus on technology initiatives like creating IT-enabled patient-centric operations within the company, human resources management, and spearhead Apollo’s health and lifestyle business.
All four currently serve as executive directors on Apollo’s board at present and will continue to do so. Apollo’s statement says there would be no change in the existing terms of their remuneration.