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The business and leadership style of Gautam Adani

An excerpt from a book that tracks the making of one of the world’s biggest industrialists

Gautam Adani
Gautam Adani (HT)

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Gautambhai (Gautam Adani) does not like raising money from the investing public before the enterprise begins making profits. This is quite unlike many other industrialists in India who first raise funds from the public, and then begin setting up the venture and even obtaining the required clearances.

My first meeting with Gautambhai was extremely pleasant. It is still fresh in my memory. He did not, and does not, speak much, except when required. One reason is that he continues to be very self-conscious about his English. Another reason is his reluctance to speak; he would rather focus on listening. And he is incredibly good at maintaining relationships.

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As I studied Gautambhai closely, some factors stood out which make him different from many other industrialists in India, and possibly the world.

The first, which has been stated above, is his unwillingness to raise funds from an investing public till a business has begun generating money. The second is his ability to build and maintain relationships. He does not like going back on any deal that he has entered into. Nor does he try to buy out or squeeze out his partners. He would like to keep his partners with him all through the journey. If some partner wants to leave, he will try and dissuade them. But if they still insist on leaving, Gautambhai will not stop them. The third factor is that he does not block the chances for anyone to grow or compete with him.… Adani likes to push himself harder to grow faster than those who want to compete with him.

Another factor is he respects fair play. In some cases, where he wanted to buy out a shareholder, he paid him more than what the market price was. This is what happened when Gautambhai had to request the state government of Gujarat to give up its stake in the Mundra Port. As A.D. Desai, IAS (Retd), formerly vice chairman and chief executive officer, GMB; formerly secretary ports, Government of Gujarat, explains, ‘At a time when Gujarat was marked by minor state ports (Kandla was under the central government), Mr Adani marketed to the state government the vision of how more ports would catalyse the state’s economy. …what I like best about this big achiever is that he is polite and down to earth. Most large industrialists would send their senior executives to visit bureaucrats; Mr Adani would always come in person.’

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Excerpted from Gautam Adani: Reimagining Business In India And The World by R.N. Bhaskar, with permission from Penguin Random House India.



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