NEW DELHI: Brijmohan Lall Munjal, Founder and Chairman of Hero MotoCorp, died in New Delhi hospital after a brief illness. Aged 92, he was among the top 30 richest people in India.
Born in 1923 at Kamalia, presently in Pakistan, he grew up in a simple middle-class family. After completing his education, he worked at the Army Ordnance Factory, before moving his base to India after partition.
After independence, the Munjal brothers started a small business of manufacturing bicycle components in Ludhiana and went on to build one of the largest business groups in the country.
Hero Group, which officially came into existence in 1956, had started its activities in the early 1940s as a bicycle-maker run by the four Munjal brothers.
Mr Munjal retired from his active role and became the Chairman Emeritus of the over USD 4-billion group earlier this year and remained on the board of the company as non-executive member.
Mr Munjal led the Hero Group to a number of firsts. Hero MotoCorp is ranked the world’s largest two-wheeler company now for the 14th year in a row. Another firm of the Hero group, Hero Cycles, has been the largest manufacturer of bicycles since 1986.
He was among the earliest Indian industrialists to effectively implement (Just-in-Time) JIT as well as backward integration and is acknowledged as the trend-setter in the area.
Mr Munjal led the Hero group to form a joint venture with Japan’s Honda in 1984, the joint venture – Hero Honda, went on to become the world’s single-largest motorcycle maker. The partnership ended in 2011.
He was conferred with the ‘Padma Bhushan’ in 2005 in recognition of his contribution in the field of trade and industry.
Amongst his notable contributions to Ludhiana are the Ludhiana Stock Exchange, the Ludhiana Aviation Club, Ludhiana Management Association and the Dayanand Medical College & Hospital, of which he was the Chairman Emeritus, after being its President for over three decades.
His nephew Umesh Munjal said he breathed his last at 7 p.m. at Max Hospital, New Delhi. The cremation will be held today.