Dr. Bina Modi has disrupted the business world ever since she broke the glass ceiling to start her first ever business venture at the age of 40. Even today, with an exciting professional journey spanning over thirty decades, Dr. Modi continues to defy societal prejudices. She chairs the illustrious and diverse Modi Enterprises – KK Modi Group. As the Chairperson and Managing Director of the Group’s publicly listed flagship company, Godfrey Phillips India, she is among the handful of women chairpersons leading a Fortune 500 India company.
Penning the Group’s Growth Story
Since taking over the reins of Modi Enterprises, Dr. Modi has been instrumental in driving the growth and success of all the Group Companies. Under her fearless leadership, all businesses of the Group have registered double-digit growth and have become household names in their respective domains. Dr. Modi is committed to excellence, driven by innovation and a legacy of caring for people. This unique combination of characteristics has become a proven catalyst for growth for the Group and delivers great value to all its stakeholders.
The Group’s FMCG giant, Godfrey Phillips India, has witnessed a record-breaking growth this year. Since Dr Modi took over reigns of the company in 2019, the top line of Godfrey Phillips India (consolidated) grew at a CAGR of 13% and the Profit Before Tax grew at 20% CAGR in FY 19 to FY 23. Similarly, for Indofil Industries Limited, the Profit Before Tax grew at CAGR of 10% from FY 19 to FY 23 and during the same period, the short- and long-term bank borrowing of Indofil reduced by 58%. It is a tremendous achievement towards making the Company totally debt free.
KPIs for Success
Despite the staggering business growth, Dr. Modi’s personal KPIs are unique. She says, “The Group is steadily progressing towards meeting its founder and my late husband, KK Modi’s, dream of becoming a US$5billion enterprise. We entrust the business targets on the business managers of the respective companies. My Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs, are more attuned to human capital development. For me, KPI stands for Keeping People Informed, Keeping People Involved, Keeping People Interested and Keeping People Inspired. I take my role as the protector and promotor of my husband’s legacy of always putting people first, very seriously. One of his life’s mantras was to bet on people, not strategies, and it has never failed us. It is my sincere belief that when you start taking care of your people, the magic happens!”
When Dr. Modi says ‘people’, she casts the net wide to include each and every stakeholder linked with the group – employees, retailers, customers, consumers, communities, investors etc. Her constant aim is to deliver optimal value to even the last member of the value chain.
Under Dr. Modi’s guidance, the Group has taken courageous decisions of consolidating its core businesses and investing in innovations. She credits her bravado and tenacity to the business lessons she learnt from KK Modi, “When I started my first business, by husband was my mentor. His pearls of wisdom have become my bible. He used to say, ‘Innovate, because to stagnate is to die’ and ‘Have the courage to fail’. All my decisions are inspired by Mr. KK Modi’s wise words and have been for the wellbeing of our people and the Group’s growth. For instance, divestment of Godfrey Phillips’s pan masala business was a bold decision. I am extremely proud of the brand we built. But we weighed its contribution to our business and growth and took the decision to focus on our core offerings and diversify into more promising categories. The decision has paid off.
We firmly believe that the success of Modi Enterprises is owed to our people. It is their efforts that give us an edge. So, it is my constant endeavour to empower our people to push boundaries. Our entire senior management practices open door and open mindset policy. I’m particularly proud of our Coffee With CEO initiative at Godfrey Phillips, where the CEO, Mr. Sharad Aggarwal, has casual conversations with the employees at regular intervals. Every employee’s feedback is valuable. Just like we take tough decisions, we also encourage our people to take risks, and share their innovative ideas with us. We ensure that each idea is discussed in detail and implemented basis merit.”
Furthermore, their ambitious cost optimization program, Sanchay, maximised utilisation of their resources and responsibly managed spending to deliver biggest bang for the buck. The results have been phenomenal, and the Group has achieved a significant boost in efficiency and productivity.
Dr. Modi has been honoured with an honorary doctorate by two leading universities, and recognised at multiple distinguished platforms, including Women Economic Forum and Indo-American Chambers of Commerce. More recently, she has been awarded with ‘Women Empowerment Leadership Principles Award, Asia, 2023’. On being asked about the achievement she is most proud of, she said, “It may sound like a cliché, but I truly believe my best achievements are yet to come. Like Robert Frost said, I have miles to go. But if I have to choose, I’ll say that certification of our Group companies as a Great Place To Work gives me great joy. The Group has a rich legacy of always putting people first. All our business decisions have the human factor at the core. Getting validation for our sincere and relentless efforts to create a great workplace for our people is always heartening. In fact, our flagship company, Godfrey Phillips India, has received this recognition for a fifth year in a row now.”
The Group companies have been recognized for their manufacturing capabilities, CSR initiatives, employee centric schemes by various credible bodies and institutes.
A Sustainable Future
As the Group's Chairperson, Dr. Modi is unwavering in her dedication to Corporate Social Responsibility and their values of sustainability and corporate governance. She heads the CSR committees of both flagship companies – Godfrey Phillips India and Indofil. Dr. Modi is particularly proud of her brainchild, Indofil’s Project Khushi, a program to sponsor education and vocational ambitions of hundreds of girls from weaker socio-economic segments of the society. She is also deeply involved in the ideation of farmer community welfare programs of GPI which involves building check dams and farm ponds, school infrastructure development, after school programs, health awareness, upskilling of farmers, women empowerment and training initiatives to name a few.
She is taking bold steps towards an ambitious ESG journey, prioritizing reduced water usage, renewable energy, waste reduction, and biodiversity improvement. Dr. Modi maintains that their agility and people-centric approach are essential to sustainable growth, and she continues to prioritize the wellbeing of all stakeholders in their value chain. With a strong culture of inclusion and diversity, the Group ensure independence of non-executive and independent directors, internal and statutory auditors and compliance with the highest standards of accounting and regulations, while advocating for positive change and long-term growth.
In Dr. Modi’s words, “We don’t believe in sitting around and waiting for the future. We are the change makers, and we are ringing in the future! We continue to deliver phenomenal financial success. Along with celebrating record-breaking growth this year, we are also planning diversification of our portfolio. Our commitment to the people and our planet will be a strong underlying theme of all our decisions and actions. After all, we only grow when our people grow.”
A Role Model for Future Leaders
Dr. Modi's achievements and recognition have made her a role model for many young women aspiring to make a mark in the business world. She is a strong advocate of diversity and inclusion, and believes that every individual, regardless of gender, race, or religion, deserves an equal opportunity to succeed. She says, “Personally, I believe women are extremely strong and capable. The best way to empower them is to provide them with equal opportunities and they will do the rest. Organizations that are biased in favour of any one gender are losing out on great talent. And at Modi Enterprises – KK Modi Group, we ensure that we provide all our employees an equal platform for growth. As a country, we have made significant strides for gender parity. The industry has to rise up to the challenge as a whole to ensure we are using our talent pool to its full potential by not discriminating against anyone basis their gender, race, region, religion or age.”
Dr. Modi's leadership style is an inspiration to many. Her ability to lead by example, take tough decisions, and inspire people to achieve their full potential has been instrumental in driving the growth and success of Modi Enterprises – KK Modi Group