“Wow!! We have an amazing airport, mom!!” exclaims my son every time we walk into the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport. True, the new fount for air travelers in Hyderabad set a benchmark in itself. A class apart shown not only to the rest of India but the entire world as such. And then, another one at New Delhi.
This made the judgmental North Indians who label the sum total of South as Madrasis ask a simple question – Yeh GMR kaun hai? (Who is this GMR?)
My answer – a visionary from Andhra.
GMR. G M Rao aka Grandhi Mallikarjuna Rao is one of the most important names today representing the face of India to the world. A simple businessman from a place called Rajam in Srikakulam, Andhra Pradesh, went ahead to show the world what a single man’s uninterrupted hard work and vision can do.
The ace honcho of GMR Group, a billion dollar global infrastructure company with a personal net worth of 1 Billion dollars sets a perfect example of planning, timing, idea, strategy and innovation. The group now operates in 7 countries, building foray into airport development, urban development, highways and energy.
The GMR name stands for churning out world class infrastructure, delivering only what can be the best in the game. Life was not a walk in the park for G M Rao, who glided rough waters and applied out of the box business ideas, turning them into a billion dollar establishment. This, without any management degree from Harvard or IIM.
The success story of this man is near reality yet poetic. Mr Rao was born into an upper middle class family in Rajam. His father traded mostly in commodities and jewelry business. Unlike his family, GM Rao went ahead to pursue studies from the coveted Andhra University, later joining a modest position as a junior engineer with Andhra Pradesh Government.
Planning his life ahead
Mr Rao is a man of constant change and betterment. This quality of his showed from the very beginning, when he could not resist staying from the world of business as an engineer. He soon entered into commodity trading, just like his father. But his approach was more social and connected. He built an amazing network both with suppliers and customers.
GMR led Hyderabad and Delhi airports were ranked among the top airports of the world by ACI in 2011, marking the rise of new high class airports to the world.
Building Those Failing Businesses
In the times when taking over a failed business was considered superbly risky, GM Rao stated his own personality in the matters. He had a plan. Acquiring a dwindling jute mill for a handsome bargain back in the day, he started developing the same with an innovative approach. This proved to have worked in his favor and the business was a success. Cashing on this output, Rao started acquiring other assets with the help of local banks.
Creating a Bank – ING Vysya
GMR did not rest or go fishing after multiplying his businesses. He started divesting his stake into various ventures, just like a portfolio. Eggs in many baskets. As the world looked on from where it was, he went a notch up and charmed. He founded ING Vysya Bank, in collaboration with ING. This was not a long shot, and Rao diluted his stake soon.
G M Rao on Forbes Lists – No 98 in India’s Richest in 2014 and No 1268 in the List of World’s Billionaires. GMR is amazingly modest and down to earth. Shies away from all the attention.
Made Smart Friends
Rao’s wide network had only important brains. His close aids are also strategists and planners of sorts. The Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Chandrababu Naidu being one of them only proves the fact. GMR continued to liaise his close connections and the hard work and entered into the world of energy and infrastructure. This marked the dawn of a new era as such.
Rao’s vision, planning and strategy in collaboration with a powerful network made GMR Group become the owner cum asset developer for Hyderabad’s New Rajiv Gandhi Airport at Shamshabad.
GMR – Snapshots of Success
GMR has been rated as the richest Telugu man by Forbes magazine
GMR Group is now India’s most largest trusted brands in infrastructure and development, showcasing classy global appeal
GM Rao received the coveted Entrepreneur of the Year Award by The Economic Times in 2007
GMR Varalakshmi Foundation is one of the greatest charity organizations in the world today, serving the society across 22 locations
In the year 2013, GMR donated close to Rs 740 crores.
GMR led Hyderabad and Delhi airports were ranked among the top airports of the world by ACI in 2011
Rajiv Gandhi International Airport receives the 3rd Best Airport in Airport Quality Service in 2015
As goes the saying, the visionaries can never rest. The world will only expect to see the rise and rise of GMR Group. And to think of it. It all started with a young man from Srikakulam.