Ashwin Dani, 81, who transformed Asian Paints with a sustained focus on the customer and continuous innovation in the business, is no more. Despite being part of the promoter family, Dani was strategising the growth of the company by holding various positions in the company, which was established by his father.

Asian Paints was incorporated in 1942 by Dani’s father and three other individuals.

Dani was born on September 26, 1944, in Mumbai. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Mumbai University in 1966, and enrolled at the University of Akron in the US for Master of Chemical Engineering. He started his career as development chemist at Inmont Corp in Detroit, and returned to India to join the family-owned business as a senior executive.

He was associated with Asian Paints since 1968 and joined the board in 1970. Dani held the position of Vice-Chairman and Managing Director of the company between 1998 and 2009. Later, he continued on the board as the Non-Executive Director and Vice-Chairman of the Board.

Married to Ina Dani, Ashwin has three children, and his son, Malav Dani, is currently on the board of Asian Paints. Through his professional tenure at Asian Paints, Dani had driven the importance of customer-centricity and prioritised customer preferences to help the company take on intense competition in the industry.

Dani is credited for developing ground-breaking goods, including the Automotive Refinishing solution, a quick-drying alkyd enamel, which is widely used in the automotive aftermarket, and Apcolite Natural Wood Finish, an innovative finishing solution for wood surfaces.

Man of ideas

He has made substantial contributions through research and development, and is known for bringing fresh ideas to the business and the paints sector.

Under his leadership, Asian Paints expanded its operations globally to become one of the leading paint companies in the world. “India has its own heritage and taste for paints. The very reason why we succeeded in India is that when I entered the paints industry, among the top seven paint companies, Asian Paints was the only Indian company and all others were British. No other company wanted to give us technology at that time. Our chairman told me that there is no other alternative but to be atmanirbhar,” he had said at a recent event.

Besides penchant for business, Dani had avid interest in collecting art and was a regular yoga practitioner.