MAN WITH THE MI­DAS TOUCH

MG Ge­orge Muthoot Chair­man, The Muthoot Group

MillionaireAsia India - - Front Page - BY ANU­RADHA KAUL PHO­TOS: MANOJ KESHARWANI

"I STRONGLY BE­LIEVE IN OUR MOTO OF UN­CHANG­ING VAL­UES IN THE CHANG­ING TIMES"

The crowned ‘in­ven­tor’ of the flour­ish­ing gold loan busi­ness in In­dia, M Ge­orge Muthoot, Chair­man, The Muthoot Group, claims to own the largest pri­vate gold hold­ing in the coun­try. Rightly so, this in­dus­try fore­run­ners with a strong net­work of 4500 branches across the ru­ral and ur­ban length and breadth of the coun­try, is one of the strong­est con­tender for ac­quir­ing a bank li­cence from RBI. As Mil­lion­aireAsia In­dia un­folds the pages of the un­told story of this busi­ness fam­ily that has for over 800 years been ded­i­cated to serv­ing the people of Ker­ala, the 19th gen­er­a­tion of this leg­endary lin­eage, M Ge­orge Muthoot tells us about the evo­lu­tion of their group from a tra­di­tional tim­ber trad­ing busi­ness to be­ing one of largest fi­nan­cial ser­vice en­ter­prises in the coun­try.

Start­ing the day with a morn­ing prayer fol­lowed by a meet­ing where each em­ployee across the 4500 branches of the Muthoot Group pens down his/ her tasks for the day, is just one of very many Unique prac­tices at the Muthoot Group. At helm of af­fairs of this fast evolv­ing group which is spread across 16 busi­ness ver­ti­cals, M Ge­orge Muthoot is just as strongly spir­i­tual and phil­an­thropic as he is com­mit­ted to the growth of the Muthoot Group. He hails from Ker­ala’s land own­ing Syr­ian Chris­tian com­mu­nity who are known to be the de­scen­dants of St. Thomas – one of the apos­tles of Christ. To help un­der­stand their group, M Ge­orge Muthoot takes us down the his­tory of 800 years when his an­ces­tors, with a pack of fam­ily owned ele­phants and over 5000 em­ploy­ees lead a tim­ber trade busi­ness.

Roots in Phi­lan­thropy

The Chair­man’s of­fice at the Group head­quar­ters in the cap­i­tal city ex­em­pli­fies the Group’s busi­ness his­tory – be it the huge poster of a pack of ele­phants, pho­to­graphs of group founder (the Chair­man’s grand­fa­ther), or a map of the small vil­lage in Ker­ala where this story be­gan. These are all sym­bols which re­it­er­ate the group phi­los­o­phy ‘Un­chang­ing val­ues in chang­ing times’. As M Ge­orge Muthoot ex­plains, “The back­ground of the fam­ily and our busi­ness goes back 800 years. All the gen­er­a­tions of our fore­fa­thers were the heads / lead­ers of their re­gion. While over 5000 people worked for our fam­ily, we in-turn took upon our­selves the re­spon­si­bil­ity to look af­ter these people. Till about 126 years ago, all our busi­ness was only char­ity-driven.”

Phi­lan­thropy and de­vel­op­ment of their people was the core of the fam­ily’s en­deav­ours. He ex­plains, “We have built 70% of our vil­lage in Ker­ala.

“THE REA­SON WHY OVER SO MANY YEARS THE PEOPLE OF THIS TOWN CON­TIN­UED TO FOL­LOW OUR FAM­ILY IS BE­CAUSE OF OUR STRONG BE­LIEFS IN – ETHICS, VAL­UES, RE­LI­A­BIL­ITY, DE­PEND­ABIL­ITY, TRUST­WOR­THI­NESS, GOOD­WILL AND IN­TEGRITY. THESE VAL­UES ARE NOT ONLY A PART OF OUR FAM­ILY ETHOS, BUT ARE TO­DAY ALSO IM­BIBED BY THE 30,000 PEOPLE WORK­ING WITH US. “

Till date there is no mu­nic­i­pal cor­po­ra­tion re­quired there. The vil­lage runs on its own fol­low­ing the Pan­chayat sys­tem. The vil­lage is now more de­vel­oped than many big towns around.”

Keep­ing the Trust

Em­pha­sis­ing the trust of the people in their fam­ily, he ex­plains, “The rea­son why over so many years the people of this town con­tin­ued to fol­low our fam­ily is be­cause of our strong be­liefs in – ethics, val­ues, re­li­a­bil­ity, de­pend­abil­ity, trust­wor­thi­ness, good­will and in­tegrity. These val­ues are not only a part of our fam­ily ethos, but are to­day also im­bibed by the 30,000 people work­ing with us.” He adds fur­ther, “The great fam­ily lin­eage which we be­long to is not one of cut-throat busi­ness­men. We have al­ways been con­cerned about the wel­fare of our people. I be­lieve that the suc­cess of our Group is be­cause of God. I see God in poor people. We do tremen­dous amount of char­ity which keeps us go­ing, but we do not be­lieve in pub­li­cis­ing or talk­ing about it.”

For­ma­tion of Change

The Muthoot Group as we know it to­day was founded by M. Ge­orge Muthoot’s grand­fa­ther, Muthoot Ninan Mathai in the year 1887. He ex­plains, “This is a com­pany that started from a vil­lage in Ker­ala. Our fam­ily had a very con­serva-

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