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Siddharth Shriram – industrialist, patron of arts no more

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on May 17, 2021

He lost the battle to Covid-19

 

Heaven for Siddharth Shriram was the golf course. The industrialist and former chairman of Usha International  would get often get poetic on the fairway, waxing lyrical about there being no greater pleasure than putting around on the greens under blue skies.

He even wrote extensively on golf – and beautifully. Not surprisingly, early in his life, Shriram harboured journalistic ambitions and even had a short stint with a news outfit before he entered the family business.

On Monday, the multifaceted businessman, who was a generous patron of golf, arts and music, and loved to play bridge and solve crosswords, lost the battle to Covid-19. He was 76.

Mighty business family

Hailing from one of the mightiest business families of Delhi – his grandfather Sir Shriram was the founder of the DCM group – which eventually splintered and lost its pre-eminence, Siddharth Shriram was a man of refinement.

“He was a superb host, an evening at his place was always perfect. He was a great golfer and would strike the ball beautifully. Indian golf owes a lot to him, as Usha sponsored a lot of golf and was involved in an Indian junior training progamme,” said Sunil Wadhwa, who was CEO at Usha International for nearly two decades.

“On the business front, he let me work with full honesty and transparency with zero financial demands. That is saying something very big for a family company,” says Wadhwa, one of the earliest professional CEOs in the company. He described how the sewing machines and appliances company grew under their tenure.

Siddharth Shriram also led the Usha Internartional group in forming two joint ventures with Japan’s Honda Motor Co for passenger cars and power products. But in 2012, Usha International exited from the Honda Siel Cars India joint venture.

In 2020, Usha International and Honda Motor Co also terminated its two-decade-long power products partnership.

Shriram, who attended Doon School at Dehradun and graduated in English Literature from Delhi's  St Stephens College, in 1967, did a masters of science in management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1977-78.

Wore many hats

He wore many hats and had a keen interest in strategic issues, which came to the fore in his role as chairman and managing trustee of Delhi Policy Group, an independent think-tank. He had a lively and engaged mind, said people associated with the think tank.

Shriram’s mother Sumitra Charat Ram had established the Shriram Bharatiya Kala Kendra, one of Delhi’s finest performing arts and music schools and a focal point of the Capital’s cultural scene. Siddharth Shriram was often seen at concerts.

But it was the golf course, where his heart lay, and he was an energetic president of the Delhi Golf Club. Friends and well-wishers hope he would be teeing away on the fairways of heaven.

Published on May 17, 2021

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