Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Schauna Chauhan, Alisha Chauhan, Nadia Chauhan - Parle Agro

Parle Agro is one of the most trusted names in the Indian beverage, packaged drinking water, and confectionery industry. It has leading brands like Frooti, Appy, Appy Fizz and Bailley. As a pioneer, Parle Agro is the first to introduce fruit drink in a Tetra Pak, apple nectar and PET bottles in India. The second generation entrepreneurs, the daughters of the man behind this company, Prakash Chauhan, spoke to DARE about their transition, challenges, and more. From the daughters of Prakash Chauhan to the ones handling Parle Agro, how was the transition planned out? Schuana - Fresh out of school, I had a lot of ideas that I immediately wanted to implement. My father advised me to take one step at a time. That’s how the whole phase started. When I joined the company in 1999, it was a learning phase for me. I started interacting with a lot of departments, understanding the fundamentals of the organization—how we work, what is the culture, etc. It took few years to do this. When I joined, the company itself was going through a transition. We had just sold our soft-drink brand to Coca-Cola. My father and his brother were separating in their business. Because of all this, I could bring in a lot of changes and it was easier since there was an entirely new team coming in. I spent a lot of time recruiting a good team. Alisha - Things were different with me. I finished my education and then did a course in fitness and right after that I came back to Mumbai and immediately started setting up V3 fitness commune. Since I was very passionate about starting a fitness center, a business of my own, my father was extremely supportive, and helped me on all fronts. Nadia - For me, it was a very unique situation as my father had me involved in the business from a very young age. From the age of 11, I attended lot of meetings along with him. The questions that I had in my mind, I used to discuss with him later. This involvement made the transition a lot smoother when I formally joined the business because of the familiarity with the operations, the vision that my father had for the business, and most importantly the culture of the business. From the beginning itself, my father focused me into marketing, sales and product development meetings—from dreaming of the product to making sure that it is established. That is really what I have taken up as my role in the business today. So there wasn’t a phase of transition, it was just that we were involved a lot from such a young age that we just came in and took over. When I joined the company, it was very important for me to earn myself respect, and create an identity of my own. Therefore, I worked at different levels—ground level to the top. More than just the fact that it brings in more humility, it also allows you to understand the ground realities before you start dreaming of things that are completely impossible that might not be good or lucrative for the business. For more than one year, I did spend time in studying the absolute micro level things, and not just looking into it from the point of view of providing direction or leadership.

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