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Dr. A.C.Muthaiah – January 1st, 2010

Annamalai Chidambaram Muthiah, AC to his friends an Engineering Graduate from the University of Madras, holding an advanced Management Degree from the University of Detroit, USA is the head of a Business Empire worth Rs 5,000 Crores (USD 1 billion).His Group has interests in Chemicals, Petrochemicals, Fertilisers, Detergents, Port Facilitation, Logistics, Electronics, Biotechnology, Pharmaceuticals and Engineering Services.

A.C.Muthaiah’s interest in business and industry is well known. He is connected with several leading industries both in India and abroad in various capacities, such as Chairman, Vice-Chairmain, and Director.He heads Spic Chennai, which is one amongt the largest industrial conglomerates in the country, with diversified activities in various fields.He was the President of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), the oldest Chamber of Commerce in India, in its Platinum Jubilee year Year 2003. Muthaiah was President of the Southern India Chamber of Commerce and Industry,Chennai (established in 1909) for a continuous period of 9 years (1979-87)

Here is an interview with him, taken at his residence, Chennai

1.Which do you think helps you most in managing your vast empire.You overseas education or you Tamil culture?

Tamil culture helps to remain with honesty, to be genuine and to live with other related virtues. Overseas education helps you in the strategic planning of the business. So, only when both aspects blend together, one can manage efficiently.

2.Your father Mr. M.A.Chidambaram Chettiar is a legend. What values did he impart on you?.

I would call myself my father’s shadow. There was absolutely no generation gap between us. We had a wonderful working relationship.When my father was there, we went on by the decision, which would be more beneficiary for the company.I am more risk taking than him. I try to follow the same with my sons and sons-in-law.

3.You are very systematic. In India, there is less viability for punctuality. At that time, how do you emotionally balance?

If there is a problem, then, we will have to first analyse the basic reason for it. If there is a problem with some one, then you should put yourself in their situation and must try to find out a solution to it. At times, we have got to be flexible and emotionally be balanced. I am well adjusted to the above said situations and these have never been my concern.

4.We have heard a lot about your inclination towards sports. Can you explain us on that please?

I am a keen polo player.I was the president of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for two terms (1999-2000 & 2000-2001).I was the president of the Tamil Nadu Cricket Association for eight years and is a Member of many prestigious Sports Clubs including the Marylebone Cricket Club,London.

5.Can you tell us about your philanthropic activities through education…

I am connected with a number of educational institutions in areas as diverse as Engineering, Biotechnology, Mathematics, The pure Science, Management and Music.I am chairman of various institutions and also I am connected to various other institutions in various capacity.

6.Do you welcome women working, these days?

Yes…Of course yes…I am receptive to women exploring themselves in various fields.As days are changing, we must cope up with the changing times. In fact, both my daughters do have their own business.

7.You are a busy man.Still do you have enough time to spend with your family?

Yes.If you can balance your life, then you will find time for everything.Usually on Sundays we have breakfast together with our grand children.They bring a diary in which they write down as what they did that week.So, I will get updated on their routine, their likes and other things. So, I  perfectly spend happy time with my family.

8.Who is your role model?

I consider my father a role model.I try to follow his patience, persistence, administration, planning etc..  He is a kind of person who is bold when loses and calm when wins. Another person is Mr. J.R.D Tata, for his business acumen.

9.What is your advice to the aspiring youngsters?

If one works hard with optimism, sure they can succeed in life.Their hard work should be coupled with honesty and integrity.

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