My association with Dr Desh Bandhu Gupta (DBG) dates back to 1979 when I joined him in the early part of Lupin’s journey. At that time, coming from an MNC into a small Indian company was quite a change for me. But it was DBG’s energy and entrepreneurial zeal that had rubbed off on me and kept me going. He would often quote Napoleon Hill: “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, the mind can achieve.”
I was impressed with his commitment to build a large and robust pharmaceutical business. He cared for people and society at large. As I spent time with him, I found our values were alike: Passion for excellence, care and compassion and getting a high from ‘creation’ of industrial wealth and employment.
I immensely enjoyed working with him; there was never a dull moment. He too, worked long hours and built the company from strength to strength. Even in the early years of Lupin, DBG would hire the best professionals and trust them. He hired IIM graduates to work for Lupin in the early 1980s. He valued people for their contribution and created a culture of excellence.
Another thing that impressed me the most was DBG’s passion for research and innovation. We always had a group of research scientists engaged in seeking solutions to provide better care to the patients.
DBG was deeply committed to the cause of society and believed that business cannot thrive unless it served the society. He, therefore, set up the Lupin Human Welfare & Research Foundation way back in 1988 with the sole objective to transform rural India by creating sustainable and replicable programmes around economic, social and infrastructural development targeted at uplifting the poorest of the poor residing in the remote villages of India. Today, the foundation reaches out to 2.8 million people across the country.
DBG was a visionary, an entrepreneur and an organisation builder. He built meritocracy in the company right from its start. He forayed into areas of national priority in the health sector like tuberculosis eradication, mother and child health programme of the government of India and the like.
Today, Lupin is the second largest Indian and sixth largest global generic company by revenues. DBG was a true nationalist, a path-breaker and a visionary whose legacy will live on.
The author is vice chairman, Lupin