Gopal Srinivasan belongs to Chennai-based TVS family, which runs the TVS groups of companies. TVS has led to the growth of Chennai as the automotive capital of India, and today Chennai is known as Detroit of India.
I caught up with Gopal in Manhattan, to find out about the unbroken culture of entrepreneurship that has continued for almost 100 years within his extended family.
How did they get there? How did the company and the TVS family handle the changes that India underwent during this 100-year span? India went from being a British colony to an independent nation. Later, from 1950-1980s, India went through a long phase of socialist colored economic policies and doing business was often a challenge for many family-owned companies. During the early 1990s the Indian government introduced liberalization reforms and the upshot is the current economic growth of the country.
During this 100-year span how did TVS change the focus of their family-owned business to emerge as a multi-billion dollar company today? How do the family-owned companies continue to adapt to the changing economic and political landscape of India?
In this interview, Gopal talks about his grandfather’s vision, which led to the foundation of TVS in the early 20th century. How did his grandfather, a lawyer by training, become an entrepreneur? How did he create strong values of trust and reliability that continue to persist, 100 years after the company was founded?
TVS is headquartered in Chennai and Gopal is director of TVS Electronics Limited. He is also the joint mnaging director of Sundaram-Clayton Limited and is on the board of other TVS group companies.
TVS Electronics is the only group from Asia, outside of Japan that has won the Deming Award for Quality more than once. TVS Electronics, founded in 1986, started as an IT peripherals manufacturer and has today transformed itself into an IT Transaction Solution provider and Business Process Outsourcing partner. TVS-E offers a wide range of computer peripherals to suit all peripheral related needs.
Gopal also sits on the board of ICICI Ventures, India’s largest private equity firm.
Gopal is currently the Chairman of the Tamil Nadu State Council of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). He was previously the president of Manufacturers’ Association for Information Technology (MAIT).
In 2004 was named the “Electronics Man of the Year - 2004″ by “Electronics for You.”
Gopal has an undergraduate degree from Loyola College in Chennai and an MBA degree from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.
When not traveling around the world, Gopal lives in Chennai with his family.
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