Kumar Mangalam Birla
Kumar Mangalam Birla
|Alma mater||University of Bombay (BCom) |
Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (CA)
London Business School (MBA)
|Net worth||US$13 billion (March 2021)|
|Title||Chairman, Aditya Birla Group and Vodafone Idea Limited|
|Spouse(s)||Neerja Birla (m. 1989)|
|Children||3, including Ananya Birla and Aryaman Birla|
|Parent(s)||Aditya Vikram Birla|
Kumar Mangalam Birla (born 14 June 1967) is an Indian billionaire industrialist, and the chairman of the Aditya Birla Group, one of the largest conglomerates in India. He is also the chancellor of the Birla Institute of Technology & Science, and the chairman of the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi and Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad.
Early life and education
Birla is a fourth-generation member of the Marwari Birla family from the state of Rajasthan. He was born in Kolkata and raised in Mumbai. He did his high school from Sydenham College of Commerce and Economics and a bachelor's degree from H.R. College of Commerce and Economics of the University of Mumbai. He later studied at London Business School and was awarded Master of Business Administration from University of London in 1992. He is also an honorary fellow at LBS. He is a chartered accountant from Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI).
Birla took over as chairman of the Aditya Birla Group in 1995, at the age of 28, following the death of his father Aditya Vikram Birla. During his tenure as chairman, the group's annual turnover has increased from US$3.33 Billion in 1995 to US$48.3 billion in 2019. According to Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Birla lost $3.1 billion between 2017 and 2019, with his net worth reduced to $6 billion. The major reason for this loss is "financial distress" that Vodafone Idea Ltd has been experiencing, in addition to the fall in "shares of flagship firms that produce chemicals, metals and cement." 
Birla has received several awards, including the International Advertising Association's "CEO of the Year Award" in 2016; the US India Business Council's "Global Leadership Award" in 2014; Economic Times “Business Leader Award” in 2003 and 2013; Forbes India Leadership Award – Flagship Award “Entrepreneur of the Year 2012; NDTV Profit Business Leadership Awards 2012, “Most Inspiring Leader”; CNBCTV18 IBLA “Business Leader for Taking India Abroad 2012”; CNN-IBN “Indian of the Year Award 2010”; JRD Tata “Leadership Award 2008”; NDTV's “Global Indian Leader of the Year 2007”.
An educationist, Birla is the Chancellor of Birla Institute of Technology & Science (BITS). He is chairman of IIT Delhi, IIM Ahmedabad and chairman of Rhodes India Scholarship Committee for Oxford University. He serves on London Business School's Asia Pacific Advisory Board and is an honorary fellow of the London Business School.
Birla's name significantly surfaced in Indian coal allocation scam, an infamous political scandal that traced its origin to the illegal allocation of coal blocks between 2004 and 2009. Central Bureau of Investigation, in 2013, accused Birla of "influencing the then coal secretary in getting the block, Talabira II in Orissa, allocated to Hindalco, when its was meant only for allocation to public sector firms. The investigative agency said that the block was allocated to Neyveli Lignite and Mahanadi Coalfields (both PSUs) in 2005 but sometime in the middle of the year Birla met Parekh after which the earlier decision of the screening committee was overturned and Hindalco was also accommodated along with the two. This led to notional loss to the exchequer." Forbes report said that the CBI report's remarks on Birla's alleged involvement led to a sharp fall in shares of Birla's companies. Hindalco "lost 5% before recovering."  However, the then ruling government's leader Digvijaya Singh told The Economic Times that Birla has been "the most clean corporate leader" who has never known to be a fly-by-night operator.
In 2014, after Modi Government came to power, CBI filed closure report against Birla.
In 2016, Rahul Gandhi, the opposition leader, accused Birla's firm of paying bribes to the then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi. However, reportedly, Mr. Gandhi was "upset" at CBI when FIR was filed against Birla in Coal Blocks allocation scam in 2013. Coomi Kapoor wrote that Birla then happened to be "a benefactor of Rahul's constituency, Amethi". The Birla Group did not make any donations to the Rahul-led Indian National Congress in 2012-13 "after being its top donor with a donation of Rs 36.4 crore between 2004-5 and 2011-12." At the same time, Birla was the largest contributor to the Bhartiya Janata Party, donating Rs. 7.05 crore in 2012–13. Birla was eventually made the Chairman of the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad as well as Indian Institute of Technology Delhi Board of Governors (in 2016) and a non-official independent director of Air India (in 2018) by Narendra Modi-led BJP government.
- "Forbes profile: Kumar Birla". Forbes.com. Retrieved 11 March 2021.
- "Mr. Kumar Mangalam Birla - Chairman of the Aditya Birla Group". Archived from the original on 10 November 2012. Retrieved 27 December 2016.
- "Indian Institute of Technology Delhi |". Iitd.ac.in. Retrieved 20 January 2018.
- "Kumar Mangalam Birla appointed as new chairman of IIM-A". The Indian Express. 23 October 2016.
- "The story of the first couple of the Birla empire". Rediff.com. Retrieved 6 February 2019.
- "Kumar Mangalam BirlaBiography- About family, children, education, wife, age, and more". business.mapsofindia.com. Retrieved 7 May 2020.
- "Kumar Mangalam Birla History Maker Founder of Aditya Birla Group". APHerald [Andhra Pradesh Herald].
- "I had no choice but to grow up fast: Kumar Mangalam Birla".
- Rai, Saritha (19 October 2015). "In India, A 158-Year-Old Business Conglomerate, Aditya Birla Group, Forays Into Fashion E-Commerce". Forbes.com. Retrieved 27 December 2016.
- "Kumar Mangalam Birla History Maker Founder of Aditya Birla Group".
- "London Business School Honours Mr Kumar Mangalam Birla". Businesswireindia.com. Retrieved 6 February 2019.