ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Rama Prasad Goenka

The death of Rama Prasad Goenka (RPG) (1 March 1930-14 April 2013) signifies the end of a unique tradition of Marwari entrepreneurship in West Bengal. The fortunes of the Goenkas, a family of Rajasthan traders, had a spectacular rise after they moved to Calcutta around the 1820s. They started working as banias to leading British agency houses of the time along with their operations as general traders and moneylenders. The family’s industrial career started in the post-Independence years under the leadership of RPG’s father, Keshav Prasad, through the route of acquisition. The acquisition of Octavius Steel and Duncan Brothers by the early 1960s are two prominent examples of such takeovers.

RPG graduated from Presidency College with an Honours degree in History. He was popularly known as “Rama Babu”. Rama Prasad Goenka established RPG Enterprises in 1979 and emerged as a “business maharaja” through the family tradition of acquisition. The “same predatory instincts, ruthlessness and cool calculation” guided his business decisions. The group’s prominent acquisitions in the 1980s under his leadership include Ceat Tyres, Dunlop (in collaboration with Manu Chhabria), CESC, and Spencer and Raychem. RPG has left behind a Rs 32,000 crore business empire.

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