Manjushree Khaitan, Chairperson of Kesoram Industries, Passes Away at 69

Khaitan’s journey with Kesoram Industries began in October 1998 when she joined the board. Her father’s succession plan for the company became evident in 2013 when she was appointed executive vice-chairman.

Manjushree Khaitan, the chairperson of Kesoram Industries and the younger daughter of the renowned industrialist Basant Kumar Birla, passed away at 69 years old. She breathed her last at her residence in Birla Park, Kolkata, on Thursday after a prolonged illness.

Khaitan’s journey with Kesoram Industries began in October 1998 when she joined the board. Her father’s succession plan for the company became evident in 2013 when she was appointed executive vice-chairman. Following her father’s death in July 2019, Khaitan took on the role of non-executive chairperson.

Under her leadership, Kesoram Industries navigated significant restructuring to stabilize its operations and reduce debt. The company, which has two primary businesses—tyres and cement—saw the tyre division demerged and acquired by Himadri Speciality Chemical and Dalmia Bharat Refractories through a corporate insolvency resolution. Last year, Kesoram decided to demerge its cement operations and engaged in discussions with UltraTech Cement, led by her nephew Kumar Mangalam Birla, for an all-stock deal. The transaction is pending regulatory approval.

A company insider noted Khaitan’s dedication and remarkable memory. “She was extremely committed to Kesoram and had a phenomenal memory,” the insider said.

Beyond her corporate responsibilities, Khaitan was deeply involved in educational initiatives, particularly with the Ashok Hall group of schools, where her engagement spanned over four decades. She was a staunch advocate for the education of underprivileged girls and supported numerous artists through her work with the Birla Academy of Fine Arts.

Tragically, in 2023, Khaitan also faced the loss of her daughter, Vidula Jalan, who was the co-chairperson of Mangalam Cement.

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About Kesoram Industries

Founded in 1919 as Kesoram Cotton Mills Ltd., the company started as a cotton textile mill in Calcutta. It expanded into rayon production with its first plant in 1959, which had a capacity of 4,635 metric tons of rayon yarn annually. Over time, Kesoram diversified into the tyre and cement industries, prompting a name change to Kesoram Industries Limited in 1986 to reflect its broader portfolio.

Today, Kesoram Industries is recognized for its strong entrepreneurial spirit and is listed on four global stock exchanges: the National Stock Exchange of India, Bombay Stock Exchange, Calcutta Stock Exchange Association, and the Societe de la Bourse de Luxembourg.

Remembering a Legacy

Manjushree Khaitan’s legacy is marked by her significant contributions to both the corporate and social sectors. Her commitment to restructuring Kesoram Industries and her advocacy for education and the arts have left a lasting impact. As Kesoram Industries continues to evolve, her leadership and vision will be remembered and celebrated.