The Escorts Group, one of India's most iconic business houses, has seen its fair share of major setbacks in its seventy-five-year history. Founded in 1944 in Lahore, Escorts was first a victim of Partition. In 1960, it set up its manufacturing base in Faridabad on the outskirts of Delhi, and over the years was associated with leading global players such as Ford, JCB and Yamaha. The Rajdoot bikes it produced were a rage in the 1980s. But the same decade also witnessed a hostile takeover bid by Lord Swraj Paul, one of the lowest points in the company's life. No crisis, though, compared with the downturn that followed the economic liberalization of 1991, with the group exiting several of its business. At one point, the financial crisis was so deep that power supply to its office was cut off for non-payment of bills. From then to now, Escorts has seen a remarkable turnaround, led by Rajan Nanda and his son Nikhil. Back from the Brink is the story of how Escorts was turned around - an eye-opening account of management, with crucial lessons for practitioners, professionals and students looking to understand how a quintessentially Indian company is run - and revived.
Seetha is a senior journalist who has worked with The Telegraph, DNA, The Economic Times and The Times of India. She is the author of The Backroom Brigade, and co-author of The Maruti Story. Sharad Gupta is Chief Marketing and Communication Officer, and Vice President and Head, Innovations, Tech Incubation, at Escorts Limited.
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