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‘OTC Allows Us To Keep In Touch With What Indian Consumers Want’

Nandini Piramal, Executive Director, Piramal Enterprises Ltd. leads from the front

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For Nandini Piramal, Executive Director, Piramal Enterprises, an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business, joining the Piramal HR business in 2010 gave her the opportunity to do more at a young age. “I always wanted HR. It is a 7-year journey, which helps improve the quality of people at work. One can create change in the long term,” she says.

Nandini leads the Over-The-Counter (OTC) business of the company and heads the Human Resources function at Piramal Group. She also takes care of the Quality function for the Piramal Pharma business and Risk function at the Piramal Financial Services business. Under her leadership, the OTC business moved up ranks from 40 in 2008 to 5 in 2016. She played a pivotal role in Piramal Healthcare’s branded generic-medicine business sale to Abbott Laboratories. Her HR transformation strategy, with renewed focus on service delivery, customer centricity and operational excellence started showing results in the group.

She is also passionately involved with Piramal Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the group. Other than that, she directs implementation strategy across Piramal Foundation Education Leadership programmes, Piramal Sarvajal and Piramal Swasthya.

“We have a lot to do. The world is transforming around us and staying ahead as an organisation is the real challenge before us,” says Nandini.

She has not only steered the Piramal Group through its tough phase, but also carved a niche for herself, heading key consumer-facing businesses and consolidating the 40-year legacy of the company.

“I want people to plan and finalise processes so that there is no time wasted. That is the reason why I insist on presentations in advance and I believe in data. This helps us in getting long term achievements and evolution,” she adds.

Some time back, Nandini introduced cross-functional management development programmes for middle and senior managers across four group companies. It involves improving leadership skills, building an entrepreneurial mindset towards each business and grooming individuals for a greater role.

OTC or the consumer products division business of the pharma segment that forms part of their holding and listed firm Piramal Enterprises, which she heads, has expanded rapidly, rising to be the fifth largest of its type in India in 2016 from 40th in 2008. Recently, it acquired baby-care products maker Little’s, five OTC brands from global drug maker Merck and four brands from Pfizer Limited in May 2016

“OTC allows us to keep in touch with what Indian consumers want. We should understand what is changing in India,” she says about the business which the Piramals started on their own in 2007 after two previous joint ventures with Reckitt Benckiser Group and Boots had ended once Reckitt acquired Boots.

At Piramal Pharma business, Nandini also checks quality and risk processes at two domestically-regulated manufacturing plants at Mahad, Maharashtra (which makes nutrition vitamins) and Ennore, near Chennai, where it manufactures active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). “We have several cross factory and agency audits, even mock tests. We always want to be audit ready,” she adds.

Nandini graduated with BA (Hons) Politics, Philosophy, and Economics from Oxford University, followed by an MBA from Stanford Graduate School of Business.

The World Economic Forum recognised Nandini as a ‘Young Global Leader’ in the year 2014. Nandini enjoys cooking, travelling and reading during her spare time.