Subhash Chandra


Chairman of the Essel Group
A self-made man
Tremendous business astuteness, has chartered a course of growth and success, unparalleled in business history.
Untrodden path has always excited him
In the Forbes list of India’s Richest, ranks 29th
Entered his family business of exporting rice, at the age of 19.
Started a vegetable oil unit and within a few years achieved a turnover of US$ 2.5 million.

In 1976, ventured into export of food grains and formed a company M/s Rama Associates.
In 1981, entered in the packaging business.
Developed Asia’s largest amusement and theme parks – EsselWorld and Water Kingdom.
In 1991, launched the first Hindi satellite channel – Zee Television.
Brought the concept of online lottery.
Enter the field of telecommunications based on satellite and digital wireless communication.

Set up TALEEM to provide access to quality education through distance and open learning.
Ekal Vidyalaya Foundation of India – a movement to eradicate illiteracy from rural and tribal India.
Trustee of Global Vipassana Foundation – a trust set up to help people raise their spiritual quotient.
Brain Trust of India to identify and nurture the gifted children
Leads the Board of Directors and works together with heads of various businesses and the corporate team.
In the process of bringing together “the space, the sky and the earth”.

His Life

Born on 30th November 1950, at Adampur Mandi village, Haryana.
Wished to be an engineer, but destiny had something else in store for him.
Dropped his studies after class 12 from CAV High School
Learned the rules of business from his grandfather, late Jaganath Goenka, which set the path for his future.
Eldest amongst seven children.
Had once at the age of three told his father Nandkishore Goenka, “he need not pay high prices if he wants to make profit”.

Subhash Chandra believes in the teachings of ‘Gita’ that your rights are in ‘action’ not in ‘results‘
Belief – “paths are made by walking and walking down beaten paths is for beaten men”.
A soft-spoken yet tough businessman whose handshake seals a deal forever
Has learned “no backing out even in the face of losses“.

Thus we can say that Mr.Chandra continues to lead by example.

Essel Group is a giant conglomerate with diverse business interests.
The businesses of Essel group can be broadly classified into the following groups : –
Social Service

Decision Making and Ideas of New Venture

Idea of Packaging
Generate business ideas by mere observation.
His visit to a packaging exhibition in 1981 made him come out with an innovative packaging idea.
Essel Packaging Limited (today known as Essel Propack Limited), was started in 1982 to manufacture integrated multi-layered laminated tubes.
These multi-layered laminated tubes are basically used by dental care, pharmaceuticals, cosmetic, foods and FMCG industries.
The company had an initial capacity to manufacture 50 million tubes it has risen to a present capacity of 3 billion tubes, with a market capitalization of US $ 125 million.

Idea of Amusement Park
Chandra’s visit to amusement parks abroad made him develop Asia’s largest amusement/theme parks in India

India Paryatan Limited, which includes Essel World (developed in 1988) and Water Kingdom (developed in 1998)

French architect Jean Michel Rouls designed Water Kingdom.

The park till date has entertained more than 11 million visitors.

Joint Ventures
Chandra realized that it’s the era of merger, acquisitions; and joint venture.

He entered deals with reputed international and local entertainment companies.

This includes a recent joint venture with AOL Time Warner and formation of new company “Zee Turner Private Limited“

Acquisition of ETC Networks Limited and Padmalaya Telefilms Limited.

Idea of TV Channel
A casual visit by Chandra to a friend at Mumbai Doordarshan in the early 1990’s struck an idea of setting up his own broadcasting company without even having the technical know how of broadcasting business.

Interestingly, Chandra achieved whatever he dreamt of.

Indian laws restrained him from entering into such a project, but the well-determined Chandra found a way out to this problem and set up Asia Today Limited with equity participants from non-resident Indians.

The first private satellite television channel named Zee TV on 2nd October 1992, which has today made him a global media player.
Chandra who had zero knowledge about programming, distribution and film rights had the willingness to learn.
He made sure that nothing anti-Indian ever got air space on his network.
Tasting success of Zee TV- three more channels namely Zee News (a news and current affair channel), Zee Cinema (India’s first movie pay channel) and Music Asia (a music channel) today known as Zee Music was added.

It was then decided to have separate regional channels to cater the needs and to provide entertainment.

All the four regional channels (Zee Marathi, Zee Bengali, Zee Gujarati and Zee Punjabi) are high on the viewership list amidst competition from other private channels including the Government run Doordarshan.

Every single day, Zee Network reaches out to 32 million homes across the country, thus touching lives of almost 200 million people in South Asia alone.

Zee Network today has crossed the boundaries over the time traveling all the way to USA, Caribbean, the Middle East, Europe, Africa, Far East, Australia and New Zealand reaching to more than 225,000 Asian households.

At any given point of time, someone, somewhere across the globe is always being entertained by Zee Network.

Through Siti Cable, the distribution arm of Zee Telefilms, the network has cable connectivity into approx. 6 million households, giving it a handsome market share of 25%.

Call it “the best-out-of-the-home entertainment experience” under one roof and to make this innovative concept come true.

The company is engaged in building 14 family entertainment centers across the country that would have multiplexes, food courts, restaurants, shopping areas, bowling alley and various other entertainment options.

“Super Lotto”
He registered his name in Indian history once again for brining home the first international concept of online lottery through his company Playwin Infravest Private Limited “Super Lotto”

Which has started operations and has already created a double crorepati (Rs. 20 million) as jackpot for a 22 year old youth & hundreds of other lakhpatis (Rs. 1lakh plus)

Business Baazigar – Idea Lao Paise Le Jao.

Subhash Chandra came up with this innovative concept of giving chance to MBA students to prove their worth.

Show was a platform to celebrate India’s best entrepreneurial ideas and provide a launch pad to the most deserving among India’s budding entrepreneurs.

Show was all about a search for people with smart business ideas and provide them funds to start business on that ideas.

Jury comprised of Subhash Chandra, Mahesh Murthy & Prof. Anil Gupta. Apart from them, one new judge every week for personal interviews.

Delhi’s Irfan Alam, bagged the title of `Business Baazigar‘ and his idea was to convert a cycle rickshaw into an environment-friendly luxury vehicle.

“Global Indian Entertainment Personality of the Year” by FICCI for 2004.

“Dadasaheb Phalke Academy Trophy” for his devoted services to Indian Film Industry in the Satellite Sector – 2003.

Zee Telefilms was among the ten Indian Companies in the Forbes International 200 Small Best Companies selected from among 20,000 small companies worldwide in 2001.

“Enterprise CEO of the Year” by the International Brand Summit.

“BSE Award for Maximisation of Shareholders Wealth – 2000”

“Entrepreneur of the Year” by Ernst & Young in 1999.

“Businessman of the Year” by Business Standard in 1999.

Zee awarded “Emerging Company of the Year” by The Economic Times in 1998.

Zee TV UK was awarded the MACE (Multicultural Awards for Competitiveness and Enterprise – Leadership in Best Practice)

The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) chose Mr. Chandra as the Chairman of the CII Media Committee for two successive years.

Mr. Chandra has been nominated for Indian American’s Achiever’s Award along with the likes of Shah Rukh Khan, Narayan Murthy, Pandit Ravi Shankar and more.

The list of what he has achieved in the last two decades just goes on. Therefore, one can only say that the Karmayogi continues doing his Karma setting examples for others to emulate.

Business Ethics
Subhash Chandra and Rupert Murdoch’s deal

Star started telecasting Hindi programs in spite of its deal with Zee that it would not telecast any Hindi program on its channel in India.
Subhash Chandra decided not to continue with such a company and quitted the deal, but with the benefit of acquiring a 100% stake in Asianet, Siticable and Patco.
Recently formed a strategic alliance where Zee will not compete with Asianet.
But provide its expertise and technology know-how to Asianet for its growth.

Company without Subhash Chandra and vice versa
In the year 1999 shareholders of Essel packaging urged the management to reconsider their decision to appoint Mr. Ashok Kumar Goel as chairman in place of Mr. Subhash Chandra.

Goel was aimed at “harnessing human capital and resources available within the company and to provide wider opportunities.

But the shareholders felt differently. They felt that Subhash Chandra was the best man for the job. The reasons that made them feel so were

Thinking: His office is located on 35th floor of Oberoi towers.

Techno-savvy: He is technology oriented, when other companies are booming in software, he is after “convergence”.

Risk taker: Subhash Chandra says “the joy of doing different things drives me, I like hitting roadblocks.”

Future Projects:-

Subhash Chandra has announced a breakaway cricket series called the Indian Cricket League (ICL).

It will run parallel to the leagues and tournaments of the BCCI in India.

Will have six teams with two Indian internationals, four overseas players and eight juniors in each side.


Chandra believes that this initiative is not in conflict with the BCCI but would be complementary to them.

Idea behind the league is to create an “ideal pool with killing instinct”. ”. He says there is need for some united effort to create a talent pool

FM Radio

Zee is expected to get into the FM radio segment in the second phase of expansion.

A mixed bag of companies have qualified for submitting financial bids and Suhbash Chandra’s Pan Indian Network Infravest is one of them.

Beauty brand named after himself

Launching a beauty brand named after himself in the US market, , under the newly floated subsidiary — Natural Wellness.

The brand will include products in hair care and skin care.

The brand would comprise beauty products sourced mostly from the Indian market.”


Intentions are to launch 400 stores under the name Veria Wellness Centre across the US.

The company is expected to appoint franchises once the business expands. And plans to enter European markets and also India at a later stage.


Is a regional communication satellite.
After launched, will be owned and
operated by Zee.

Nation’s first private satellite. Has Ku-band facilities and can eventually be used for providing DTH services

Entertainment & tourism centre with MTDC

The Essel Group is entering into a joint venture with MTDC to develop a SEZ.

Around 5,000 hectares of land earmarked as a ‘Recreation and Tourism Development Zone’ , 60% of this land is developable.

It will be based on media, entertainment, sports, healthcare, wellness, education, and some IT processing base to support the tourism industry

The Essel Group Hopes to Start executing this project in about 1.5 yrs

His success story is one of the finest ever written.

Subhash Chandra has gone from zero to Zee.

Never even attended college & knew nothing about programming, distribution, trade and commerce.

He realised early on that there is no such thing as a stupid question.

Chandra learned from his grandfather as they would go about the village bazaar shamelessly collecting information through gossip.

Even today Chandra is much the same and collects as much information as he can He is a man who listens to what people say, he has no computations about taking advice from the most humble of his employees.

He is a forceful team leader and believes strongly in honesty and never likes to go back on his word

He believes in himself.

He knows his weaknesses and always tries to overcome them.

He believes in making partnerships and in keeping them.

He is a first-generation and result oriented entrepreneur.

He is a good leader who believes in participative leadership.

Thus we can say that Chandra is the young entrepreneur’s role model for the millennium.

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