Corporate File

‘AVM sir’ has left the building

PT Jyothi Datta | Updated on July 04, 2021

Leader with a heart: Thyrocare founder A Velumani wants to support those who provide “grey collar” employment   -  THE HINDU

It’s an emotion packed exit for Thyrocare founder A Velumani who sold his pathlab chain to PharmEasy

A conversation with Dr A Velumani, erstwhile founder of diagnostic network Thyrocare, is always embellished with lively quotes. So it’s almost out of character to hear him say, in a more reflective mood, that he would not have sold his venture so early, had his wife been there.

Dr Velumani was on his way home, and this emotional statement to Business Line was made the very night news broke that PharmEasy was buying-out his 66 percent-plus stake in Thyrocare for over ₹4,500 crore.

Sumathi, he says of his wife, was “the director in the blockbuster where I was the hero”. She passed just days before Thyrocare’s IPO, about five years ago. Clearly the energy behind him, she was the “connector” between him and the larger ecosystem of people, he says.

“AVM sir”, as Dr Velumani is called by colleagues and employees, has braved the odds and transitioned from being a scientist at BARC (Bhabha Atomic Research Centre) to a successful entrepreneur who built a pan-India pathlab chain. Having risen from “the bottom of the pyramid” (his words), his actions within the company have always been by a “humane yardstick”, he says, adding in classic Velumani-speak, “No employee has been asked to go home, unless he is a chor (thief) or a kaamchor (work shirker).”

It may take another 90 days for the money to come in, but over the next two months AVM plans to invite two employee-families to his house for a meal, a gesture to thank them. “They would be the longest serving ones,” he says, adding that his organisation never held events based on “designations”. Everyone was invited.

Not surprising then, his future plans include supporting those who provide “grey collar” employment, “not white or blue”, he adds. Conversant in Tamil and Hindi, besides English, AVM sees himself as a motivational “storyteller” and traveller. “I decided not to buy a house of my own,”he says, explaining it through the anecdote of a buffalo that chooses to be tied, or to roam free.

Published on July 04, 2021

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