G M RAO
Group Chairman, GMR Group
GM Rao, a mechanical engineer, is the Founder Chairman of the GMR Group, the Global Infrastructure.
Mr. Rao hails from a small town in Andhra Pradesh, India. Before Indian’s economic liberalization, he has explored every business opportunity that came on his way. Starting with a single jute mill in 1978 he has ventured into 28 different businesses as a serial entrepreneur.
After the economic liberalisation in 1994, his moves became entirely strategy driven. He has divested all the unrelated businesses and primarily focused on the core infrastructure sector resulted in GMR Group exiting some of the highly attractive businesses of banking, insurance, software, breweries, jute and sugar.
Over the last 4 decades he has successfully established GMR Group, as one of the most recognized brands in the country. The Group is now well diversified and professionally managed infrastructure developer with focus on Airports, Energy, Highways and Urban Infrastructure including SEZs. Though all these business opportunities were new to the Group and to the Country, the Group has scaled up quickly and delivered world-class quality assets.
While business grew rapidly, GM Rao laid emphasis on institution building as well. Much focus was laid on Four pillars of Institution Building – People, Process, Governance & Technology. The GMR Group Vision states “GMR Group will be an institution in perpetuity that will build entrepreneurial organizations making a difference to society through creation of value.” A set of seven core Values & Beliefs was arrived at, to define the GMR Group’s distinct organization culture.
Rao believes that “Family must be run like Business and Business must be run like Family”. He quotes “Strong family governance ensures strong corporate governance”. He has been focusing very early on ESG – Environment, Social and Governance in all the infrastructure assets.
With a strong inclination of ‘Giving back to Society’ he has established GMR Varalakshmi Foundation close to 30 years back which is actively working in the areas of education, healthcare, livelihood and community development for over 20 locations across the Country impacting lakhs of lives every year.
Mr. Rao has been conferred with several awards and recognitions. For his considerable achievements, he insists “All the credit goes to my GMR colleagues and my family for their understanding, shared vision, hard work and dedication”.