There are many Indian entrepreneurs who have carved their unique paths in different industries. Among them, Dilip Shanghvi stands out and commands undeniable respect. He is the founder of Sun Pharmaceuticals, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world. Shanghvi’s journey from a humble pharmacist to a pharmaceutical magnate is an inspiring one. However, there’s more to him than meets the eye. Let’s take a look at ten things you might not have known about this trailblazer.

1. Born into a Pharmaceutical Environment

Shanghvi was not a stranger to the pharmaceutical industry. He was born in a Gujarati family that ran a wholesale generic drugs business in Kolkata. He grew up in an environment where conversations about drugs and medicines were common. This undoubtedly influenced his career choice and gave him a head start in understanding the nitty-gritty of the pharmaceutical business.

Despite his deep-rooted connection to the industry, Shanghvi went on to study Commerce in college. His formal education is in business, not medicine. It is fair to say that pharmaceuticals run in his blood but his craft was honed by his understanding of business.

2. Sun Pharma Was Born From a Personal Loan

It would be surprising to note that Shanghvi initiated his business with a small loan. He borrowed money from his father and started Sun Pharmaceuticals in 1982. Starting with only 2 employees, a marketing man and an administration woman, the company began by manufacturing psychiatric drugs.

The strategy was to focus on niche areas less touched by big pharmaceutical companies. Today, Sun Pharma has grown exponentially, boasting of manufacturing units in India, the U.S, and several other countries, including research centers globally.

3. He Was Once the Richest Man in India

As of March 2019, Shanghvi was listed as the 21st richest person in the world by Forbes Magazine. There was a time in 2015 when he became the richest man in India, overtaking Mukesh Ambani. Shanghvi’s net worth was estimated at $21.7 billion.

This goes to show the magnitude of success Sun Pharma has achieved under Shanghvi’s dynamic leadership. The success, opulence, and massive influence didn’t happen overnight. It was born out of years of hard work, smart decisions, and an undying entrepreneurial spirit.

4. Emphasis on Employee Welfare

Shanghvi strongly believes that the success of a company vastly depends on the happiness and satisfaction levels of its employees. With this belief, he has implemented robust employee welfare measures at Sun Pharma. The company is known for its favourable employment conditions and practices that significantly contribute to employee welfare.

From providing employee stock options to offering attractive pay packages and excellent career opportunities, Sun Pharma is one of the best employers in the pharmaceutical sector. Many of these innovative steps towards employee welfare have been initiated by Dilip Shanghvi himself.

5. Known for his Acquisitions

Through the years, Shanghvi has become known for his affinity towards big-ticket acquisitions. He rose to prominence in the pharmaceutical world through the acquisition of several companies under the Sun Pharma banner.

Some of his earliest acquisitions include Detroit’s Caraco Pharmaceuticals in 1997 and Israel’s Taro Pharmaceutical Industries in 2010. One of his most noted acquisition was Ranbaxy Laboratories in 2014, making Sun Pharma the largest pharmaceutical company in India and fifth largest in the world.

6. He is a Private Person

Contrary to many successful entrepreneurs, Shanghvi values his privacy. He shies away from the limelight and prefers to keep his personal life shielded from the public. One can infer from various interviews that Shanghvi is a humble individual, disciplined in maintaining a private-public life balance.

This humility reflects on his leadership style too. He is reportedly a calm, serene figure who prefers to let his work speak rather than noise and pomp. Due to this nature, despite being one of the richest individuals in the world, Shanghvi leads a simple and austere lifestyle.

7. Champions Various Causes

Shanghvi is not just a successful businessman but also a responsible citizen. Through Shanghvi Family Foundation, he supports various charitable causes, including healthcare, education and social development.

He donated a significant sum for the construction of Shri Bhawani Niketan Sangeet Vidyalaya, a music school in Jaipur, India. Additionally, he has also contributed to the cause of mental health in India and actively promotes it.

8. Awards and Recognition

Dilip Shanghvi has been recognized for his invaluable contributions to the pharmaceutical industry and entrepreneurship at large. He was awarded the ‘CNN-IBN Indian of the Year’ in the business category by the Indian media network, CNN-IBN, in 2011.

In 2016, he was bestowed with the ‘Padma Shri’ by the Government of India – one of the highest civilian honours in India. He was also awarded the ‘Ernst & Young World Entrepreneur of the Year’ in the same year.

9. Stepping Down as MD

No power or position is permanent is a belief that Shanghvi strongly upholds. He proved this when he stepped down from the position of Managing Director of Sun Pharma in 2012. He still played an active role in the functioning of Sun Pharma after his stepped down.

But, in April 2021, it was announced that Shanghvi will return to the position of MD after a gap of nine years. He stood by the organisation in crucial junctures, and his strategy of distancing himself from the direct daily operations and yet being involved in pivotal occasions left a significant impact on how the business world operates.

10. A Philosopher at Heart

Dilip Shanghvi shows a deep philosophical side of his personality. In various interviews, he has pointed out that he is not attracted to material possessions. Shanghvi believes that the satisfaction of having led a meaningful life is more important than financial or material success.

This utmost humility and his perspective of life reflect his grounded personality. Despite featuring in the Forbes billionaire list several times, he is known to maintain a simple and low profile, showcasing his philosophy in his lifestyle.

You can learn more about Dilip Shanghvi from the following resources:

Sun Pharma: An Indian Multinational Company

Dilip Shanghvi | Indian entrepreneur