August 03, 2020
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Mallika Srinivasan, TAFE

Mallika joined TAFE in 1986 as general manager with a clear vision taking her heirloom to new heights. The Eicher ­acquisition did that for her.

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Mallika Srinivasan, TAFE
Photograph by Getty Images
Mallika Srinivasan, TAFE
  • TAFE sells over 1,50,000tractor units annually


Just over a decade ago, Tractors and Farm Equipment (TAFE) made the move to buy Eicher Motors’ tractor business. The call, that made TAFE the country’s second largest tractor manufacturer, was taken by Mallika Srinivasan and was backed by her father, A. Sivasailam, who headed the company then. Ever since, the appellation ‘Tractor Queen’ has stuck with her.

Mallika, 57, as she once told an interviewer, grew up knowing she wanted to be in business. The automobile industry particularly was the world she had grown up in and stuck to (Mallika’s husband Venu Srinivasan heads the TVS Group).

In the mid-eighties, Mallika then fresh out of Wharton, joined TAFE—founded in 1945 by her grandfather S. Anantharamakrishnan—as general manager with a clear vision taking her heirloom to new heights. The Eicher ­acquisition did that for her. TAFE is curre­ntly the third-largest tractor company in the world, selling over 1,50,000 units ann­ually. In her words, TAFE has re-invented itself twice in the last 20 years.

“She had a very clear strategy of what exactly she wanted to achieve,” says Abdul Majeed, Partner, Price Waterhouse Co, who reckons that TAFE has grown faster than the industry average owing to a strong focus on distribution and customer services. Agriculture machinery is possibly still an overwhelmingly male sector. Running an automotive business, says Mallika, is not all that different from running any other business that one would traditionally associate women with. The essentials of being successful are very much the same. And, in her own words, Mallika has set her sights on playing the global game from here on. 

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