Family Feuds In India- The Morning Brief Economic Times Podcast

To make sense of the week’s hottest stories in business, economy, politics and markets, journalists from the Economic Times chat with reporters and industry leaders in this thrice-weekly (Tuesday, Thursday, Friday) podcas

Family Feuds In India- The Morning Brief Economic Times Podcast

Family feuds within business families in India often stem from unclear communication and role definition, leading to disputes over resource allocation, ownership, and succession planning. Prominent Indian business families such as the Singhanias, Kalyanis, Hindujas, Guptas, and Murugappa Group have experienced public disputes affecting market value and company control. Effective resolution often requires professionalizing the business, respecting board member roles, and establishing clear shareholding structures and succession plans to prevent and address conflicts.

Key Insights

  1. Lack of clear communication and role clarity are often the root causes of disputes in business families. Family members may have different expectations about their roles, responsibilities, and compensation that are not discussed openly.
  2. Disputes can arise from the unequal growth and profitability of different business units owned by the family. Family members may resent the allocation of resources and profits across units.
  3. As families grow larger with more generations, the complexity of relationships increases and the potential for disputes rises. It becomes harder to ensure all family members and their branches feel respected and have their interests addressed.


Business family disputes in India. 0:03

Family disputes and shareholder agreements are major concerns for Indian listed companies.

Mr. Harsh Mariwala, Chairman of Marico, discusses how professionalizing the business has helped avoid disputes within the family.

Mr. Ketan Dalal, Managing Director of Katalyst Advisors, highlights the lack of communication as the single biggest reason for disputes in Indian business families.

Family business dynamics and succession planning. 5:00

Mr. Harsh Mariwala highlights the potential for jealousy and confusion within families when multiple family members are involved in a business, leading to issues with role clarity and rewards.

The Hinduja family dispute and recent settlement showcase how family issues can arise when daughters assert their share in the business, underscoring the importance of clarity and communication within families.

Ketan Dalal highlights the complexity of family business succession planning, with each family unique and lacking clarity on ownership and shareholding agreements.

Ketan Dalal explains how even when shareholding is clear, issues can arise due to unequal distribution of value and resentment among family members.

Complex family business succession planning. 10:02

Ketan Dalal emphasizes the importance of communication in resolving conflicts within a company.

Complexity of implementing a large-scale merger involving multiple companies, families, and properties.

Family disputes in Indian businesses. 13:32

Board members must be respected by the family to effectively resolve family disputes (15:05)

Board can play an important role in resolving disputes, but it depends on the company’s size and stakes (15:44)

Family members discuss challenges in settling inheritance disputes within Indian business families, with unclear ownership structures and conflicting opinions.

Family business succession planning and dispute resolution. 17:38

Elderly brothers transfer valuable companies to trust to avoid disputes among heirs.

Acknowledge and address shareholding structure issues before they become major problems.

Mr. Harsh Mariwala advises on the importance of succession planning for family businesses, citing the need for a dispute redressal mechanism to avoid valuation decline.

The role of the board in succession planning is emphasized, with examples of successful containment of family disputes.


Q1. What are some of the specific triggers that Mr. Harsh Mariwala mentions can cause disputes in business families according to the transcript?

A1. According to Mr. Harsh Mariwala, some of the specific triggers for disputes include issues around allocation of resources within families or companies, lifestyle issues like what car a family member can drive, and role clarity when multiple family members are involved in running the day-to-day business.

Q2. Which business families have disputes and what was the outcome of if any and which are pending?

Some of the business families mentioned in the podcast that have ongoing or recent disputes are:

  • Gautam Singhania and his wife Nawaz holding of Raymond Group - Their dispute became public and resulted in Raymond stock losing 2500 crores of market value.
  • Baba Kalyani of Bharat Forge and his sisters - There is an ongoing dispute between them over control of their chemical company Haikal.
  • Gopichand Hinduja and his nieces (daughters of his late brother Srichand) - The podcast mentions an ongoing dispute but does not provide details of the outcome.
  • Extended members of the promoter Gupta family of Jagran Prakashan Group - The dispute is between the founder Sridhar Vembu and his wife Pamela Sreenivasan over their ongoing divorce proceedings.
  • Religare group - A dispute between the son on one side and two daughters on the other side, but no information on the outcome is provided.
  • Murugappa group - A recent settlement was reached between the daughters of late MP Murugappa with the rest of the family over a board seat. As part of it, both daughters will be recognized as promoters.

Listen to the full episode

Family Feuds: From Living Room to Boardroom - The Morning Brief -


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