Ruzbeh Irani is a busy man these days. As executive vice-president for corporate strategy and chief brand officer, Irani spearheaded the recently unveiled brand positioning exercise christened ‘Rise’ for the Rs 32,000-crore ($7.1-billion) Mahindra Group. Tasked with helping to raise the group’s profile on the global stage, the 47-year-old Irani was also the man behind the group’s recent entry into the World MotoGP Championship for superbikes.
Irani’s rise within the Mahindra Group, which he joined in 2007, has been little short of meteoric. Despite this being his first stint with the tractors-to-information technology group, Irani was inducted last April to the executive board, which also includes representatives of the next generation of the group’s leadership.
But that doesn’t surprise those who know Irani. The Harvard Business School and Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies alumnus has spent close to 22 years with Hindustan Unilever and Unilever. Irani is also a member of the board of directors at Mahindra USA, Mahindra Logistics and Mahindra First Choice Services (the used-vehicle sales company).
Irani, who is himself an avid jogger and sports enthusiast, has also led Mahindra’s participation in sports such as football and basketball. He is associated with the Mahindra NBA Challenge, which was set up in conjunction with the National Basketball Association of the US. He has also leveraged his cross-cultural experience in the work he does leading Mahindra’s global recruitment programme, through which the group annually hires some of the brightest and best from Ivy League campuses in the US.