Wednesday, August 02, 2023

Kiran Mazumdar Shaw reckons Vijay Mallya’s aviation fascination led to his downfall

Bengaluru-based Biocon’s chairperson and founder, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw has blamed the aviation foray for the downfall of her close friend and business tycoon, Vijay Mallya.

Vijay Mallya, often called India’s liquor baron had also floated Kingfisher Airlines which proved to be the albatross around his neck making him not just lose his alcobev business but eventually flee the country.

Ms Shaw made this observation during a podcast chat with Nikhil Kamath, the founder of India’s largest broking firm, Zerodha.

When asked to comment about Mallya (whom Ms Shaw knew from her childhood), she said that the low-cost airline Air Deccan had hit a rough patch in the mid 2000s.

In 2008, the founder of the airline, Capt GR Gopinath sold the company to Vijay Mallya and this was the start of his entrepreneurial downfall, she observed.

“It was a big price to pay for an airline in those days when the business was just beginning to take off. Everyone who used Kingfisher Airlines swore by the service but it wasn’t financially viable though he (Mallya) had done a decent job. The beer business was booming. If he had stuck to beer, he would still be a successful businessman,” she added.

The Biocon founder who said in the podcast that Mallya considered her his elder sister had apparently even advised the latter to downsize and cut his losses. “You don’t have to make this into a huge international airline. Focus on the Indian market for the time being, cut your losses and this would do you a lot of good,” she was heard saying on the podcast.

02/08/2023 News9

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