It was the best of times, It was the worst of times’ is how Mahindra Group Chairman Anand Mahindra poetically described the previous fiscal year while addressing M&M shareholders at the company’s recent Annual General Meeting. Describing the ongoing global health pandemic as ‘the worst of times’, the Mahindra leader expressed confidence that the company, and indeed the entire Group, would triumph over current circumstances, just as it had done many times in the past.
Recognizing the immense hardship that people are going through during these Covid times, Mr Mahindra took a moment to praise the efforts of his colleagues who had risen above personal safety concerns to do their part in helping the larger community.
The Group had made available 50 of their Club Mahindra resorts as temporary care facilities. It produced and delivered 1.2 million masks, 400,000 face shields, 70,000 plus litres of hand sanitisers, 600+ aerosol boxes, and provided free meals and cab services for the needy in the fight against Covid-19.
Mahindra employees had certainly risen to the challenge and in doing so, they had helped the Group as well by rapidly developing innovative solutions through an undiluted focus on the challenges at hand. This, Mr Mahindra pointed out, would help the Group companies transition back to the ‘best of times’.
He reminded shareholders that the company had faced severe challenges earlier as well and cited the exceptionally trying situation of 2002 when the share price of Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M) plunged to Rs. 56. The company was removed from the Nifty stock index. However, the company proved its naysayers wrong.
An emergency ‘Blue Chip Conference’ of the top 150 managers of the Group worldwide was called to analyse the business strategy. The reason for the challenges was not hard to find – despite being leaders in their market segment, having global ambitions and innovative abilities – the company lacked financial focus. Mahindra set itself a target of three years to turn things around but achieved the goals in just one year.
“It was an emotional moment for us, when in 2018 we were declared to be the best performing stock on the Nifty since 2002. We have never been short on ambition and that ambition had paid off handsomely,” said Mr. Mahindra.
The anecdote, Mr Mahindra said, emphasised the Group’s ability to recover from the worst of times. And Covid-19 has given the Group time to recalibrate its growth strategies and recommit to achieving key financial goals. Elaborating on the Group’s future business strategy Mr. Mahindra said it was focussed on ambitious growth and preparing for the future by nurturing and investing in businesses that have a potential market capitalisation of over one billion US dollars.
“We see ourselves as a cheetah – fleet of foot, sharp of eye, clearly focused on moving ahead with great speed,” he said, as he expressed cautious optimism that the rising share price of M&M was an indication that this strategy was beginning to pay off.
He reiterated his faith in the Group’s core values – the adherence to Rise and the unshakeable dedication to the principles of good corporate governance. Mr Mahindra concluded by expressing his belief that as long as the Group took these values as its lodestar, it would never have to fear ‘the winter of despair’. With these guiding principles, the Mahindra Group would always be able to move into ‘the spring of hope.”
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