Former Pond’s India CMD Narayanan passes away

G Balachandar Chennai | Updated on January 21, 2021

V Narayanan, who served as the Chairman and Managing Director of Pond’s India Ltd, which became part of Hindustan Lever Ltd (HLL), and who later served on the board of HLL, passed away on Thursday aged 83.

An alumnus of Lawrence School at Lovedale and the Loyola College, Chennai, Narayanan began his career in 1959 as a management trainee in HLL. In his 10 years with HLL, he served in sales and marketing functions, both in India and in the UK.

He returned to India in 1968 and joined Chesebrough Pond’s Inc as it Marketing Director. He became Chairman and CEO of Pond’s (India) Ltd and served the company till 1997. After his retirement from Pond’s, Narayanan was on the board of several leading companies such as Glaxo, Lafarge, Bata and Chemplast Samar.

“He’s super visionary man and a great humanitarian. He was someone who trusted employees so much and gave them plenty of freedom to do things. He followed the model of character, culture and competence. He believed competence has no meaning unless there is character and culture. He also brought a good number of youngsters from top IIMs in the country. He gave big projects to them and supported them to achieve outcomes,” V Balaraman, who succeeded Narayanan as the Managing Director of Pond’s India, told BusinessLine.

‘A visionary leader’

Former employees, who were hired and trained by him, describe Narayanan as a visionary leader, who inspired ordinary people to do extraordinary things in the business he helmed.

Capt Vijayakumar, Executive Director, Madras Management Association, which has been conducting Pond’s Veteran Series Lectures, said people who worked with Narayanan described him as a person who had exhibited passion, sincerity and honesty during his time. Narayanan believed in his people’s capabilities and entrusted them with many tasks to achieve on their own. Narayanan’s belief in democratic structure was one of the key factors for Pond’s success in its business.

He was instrumental in setting up Academy of Management Excellence, an institution engaged in management training.

Published on January 21, 2021

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