Bajaj group patriarch Rahul Bajaj like most of his peers of his time is not ready to stop work anytime soon. Like most of his peers, he is named as chairman Emeritus even in various companies where he gave up his position as chairman.
On several occasions in the past, when he was asked if he plans to give up his post as chairman, he sternly says a no. He added, he cannot give up working and will continue to guide the business until his last breath.
Ending long-standing tenures in various companies
Over the last few years, he started to give up his position in various companies as a chairman and handover various companies to the next generation. But he continues to be chairman emeritus of various companies. And he still is the head of Bajaj Group of Companies.
His resignation from the top post was announced after the Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) called for a separation of the posts of chairman and managing director of top listed companies. It also says the chairperson of a company's board should be a non-executive director and should not be related to the MD or CEO. In addition, the regulator stated that the chairperson of a company's board should be a non-executive director and should not be related to the MD or CEO.
After resigning as Non-Executive Chairman of Bajaj Finance, his son Sanjiv Bajaj took over the post with effect from August 1, 2020. Rahul Bajaj was with Bajaj Finance since its inception in 1987 and the Group for over five decades.
In 2019, he gave up his role as chairman and non-executive director of Bajaj Finserv and was appointed chairman emeritus from May 16, 2019.
Today, Bajaj Auto said its chairman Rahul Bajaj has resigned. He will be replaced by Niraj Bajaj, the non-executive director of the company from May 1. Rahul Bajaj has now been named as chairman emeritus for five years with effect from May 1.
In addition, Rahul Bajaj will step down as the non-executive director with effect from April 30, 2021. A statement released by the company said, "Shri Rahul Bajaj has made a huge contribution to the success of the company and the group over the last five decades. Considering his tremendous experience and in the interest of the company, and to continue to benefit from his experience, knowledge, and wisdom from time to time in an advisory role and as a mentor, the Board of Directors at its meeting held today and as recommended by the Nomination and Remuneration Committee has approved the appointment of Shri Rahul Bajaj as Chairman Emeritus of the Company for a term of five years with effect from May 1, 2021."
Rahul Bajaj took charge of Bajaj Group business in 1965 since then the business has grown leaps and bounds. Bajaj Auto, the group's flagship company, saw its turnover grow to Rs 12,000 crore from just Rs 7.2 crore with the firm's flagship scooters.
More than just a Bajaj
He holds an Honours Degree in Economics from Delhi University, a degree in Law from Bombay University and an MBA from Harvard Business School. He was elected to the Upper House of Parliament (Rajya Sabha 2006 - 2010). In addition, Rahul Bajaj was appointed Knight in the Order of the Legion of Honour by the President of the French Republic. He was appointed by the Government of India the Chairman (1986-89) of the Government-owned domestic carrier, Indian Airlines.
He was nominated by the President of India as the Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay during 2003-06.
The CSR initiatives of the Bajaj Group which include Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation and Shiksha Mandal and a number of social organisations including Bharatiya Yuva Shakti Trust and Ruby Hall Clinic, a large hospital in Pune as their Chairman.
This Padma Bhushan awardee is known to put governments in their positions by his feisty statements. The most recent one was when he told home minister Amit Shah in an event in 2019, “Nobody from our industrialist friends will speak, I will say openly… An environment will have to be created… When UPA II was in power, we could criticise anyone… You (the government) are doing good work, but despite that we don’t have the confidence that you will appreciate if we criticise you openly.”
In 2014, he had said he is not anti-Congress, “but this is not the Congress of my grandfather Jamnalal’s time.”