Baba Ramdev, Amazon’s Amit Agarwal listed among most creative people in business

Baba Ramdev is ranked 27th in Fast Company’s 2016 list of ‘Most Creative People in Business’, while Agarwal is placed at 10th


Patanjali Ayurved is currently one of India’s fastest growing FMCG companies. Photo: Mint
Patanjali Ayurved is currently one of India’s fastest growing FMCG companies. Photo: Mint

New Delhi: Yoga guru and businessman Baba Ramdev and Amit Agarwal, the head of Amazon India, have been named in a list of most creative business people by American magazine Fast Company. Ramdev was ranked 27th in the magazine’s 2016 list of ‘Most Creative People in Business’, while Agarwal was ranked 10th.

The magazine named Lin-Manuel Miranda, writer of the rap-musical Hamilton as the most creative person in business. Miranda was followed by Divya Nag, who heads Apple’s ResearchKit team and American comedian and writer, Jill Soloway. Others in the list include fourth-ranked Jean Liu, president of Didi Kuaidi and Valentino co-creative director Marla Grazla Chlurl.

Besides being a popular spiritual guru, Ramdev is also co-founder of Patanjali Ayurved Ltd. Ramdev’s inclusion, the magazine said, was “for disrupting India’s $49 billion consumer packaged goods market”. Patanjali Ayurved is currently one of India’s fastest growing FMCG companies, with Ramdev recently claiming that the company’s revenue could cross Rs.10,000 crore by March 2017.

The magazine, in its short profile of Ramdev said, “Baba Ramdev, a well-known yoga guru, has found a killer new pose as the force behind 10-year-old consumer brand Patanjali Ayurved, which makes everything from spices to soap to cosmetics. Along with co-founder, majority-owner and managing director Acharya Balkrishna, Ramdev expanded the brand’s product line and is making global firms like Procter & Gamble and Unilever squirm. (Its new whole wheat noodles, for example, are giving Nestlé’s Maggi brand—the long-time market leader in India—a run for its money.)”

It added, “Named after an ancient yoga saint, Patanjali touts natural ingredients and is priced at 30% to 75% below its rivals. Annual sales grew 150% in 2015 to more than $750 million, despite Ramdev’s insistence on minimal marketing. The brand is so popular that it commands unheard-of advance payment from retailers and premium store displays. Ramdev and Balkrishna plan to take Patanjali global within the next few years.”

Patanjali’s growth in the last five years has been phenomenal. From Rs.446 crore in 2011-12, its revenue jumped to Rs.2,006 crore in 2014-15, and around Rs.5,000 crore for the year ended 31 March 2016.

Agarwal, who was Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’s former executive assistant and technical advisor, was included for “extending Amazon’s reach, one vendor at a time”. The magazine said, “In less than three years, Agarwal grew the division to become competitive with homegrown rivals Flipkart and Snapdeal, and is using the country’s underdeveloped logistics and payment infrastructure to his advantage.”

It added that Agarwal had “established several ‘India first’ innovations, such as Amazon Tatkal (or ‘instantly’), which sends mobile photo studios to smaller Indian cities, allowing local businesses to be active on the platform in less than an hour.

Meanwhile, 3,500-plus neighbourhood pickup points, including kirana (‘convenience’) stores and bakeries, in 50 cities and towns have been converted to Amazon delivery and pickup points, and hundreds of Project Udaan (‘flight’) assisted-shopping and pickup facilities have been set up in towns and neighbourhoods with spotty Internet access, increasing Amazon’s penetration even further.”

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