Prominent Industrialist Rama Prasad Goenka is no more. He passed away early Sunday morning at his residence in Kolkata after a brief illness. He was 83. Hailing from a business family, he was known as the country’s takeover specialist, who made his mark in multiple businesses.
Goenka was the Founder and Chairman Emeritus of the RPG Group, a multi-sector Indian industrial conglomerate. His ancestors belonged to Rajasthan. They started business in Kolkata during British East India Company. His family established themselves in diverse businesses by 1900s.
Born on March 1, 1930, to Keshav Prasad Goenka and Rukmini Devi in Kolkata, Goenka completed his graduation from Presidency College. After pursuing management course from Harvard University, he joined the family business.
Later, he set up RPG Enterprises in 1979 with a total turnover of around Rs 100 crore. He expanded his business in tyre, carbon black, transmission, pharmaceuticals, IT, power generation, music, etc. The companies such as – CEAT, CESC, Spencer’s Retail, Saregama, KEC International, RPG Life Sciences and ICML – are his expanded empire.
His sons Harsh Vardhan and Sanjiv took over reins from him as Chairman and Deputy Chairman respectively of the group in 1990. Goenka was managing 23 companies out of them 10 including CEAT, RPG Life Sciences, KEC International and Zensar Technologies were managed by Harsh Goenka from Mumbai. Sanjiv headed 13 companies include CESC, PCBL, Music World, Spencer’s Retail and Saregama from Kolkata.
Goenka was a strong supporter of the late Indira Gandhi, India’s former prime minister. He was the member of Rajya Sabha. He also served as the president of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and Confederation of Asia-Pacific Chambers of Commerce & Industry. Goenka was the Chairman of the Board of Governors of International Management Institute and a trustee of the Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund, the Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust and the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation.
He was also the Chairman of the Board of Governors of IIT-Kharagpur for several years. Goenka had received the honours – ‘The Order of the Sacred Treasure Gold and Silver Star’ from the Emperor of Japan and the Lifetime Contribution Award from the All India Management Association.