When K K Modi had cast doubts on group leadership after his death

Topics KK Modi

Modi said after him his family members would have three choices under the trust agreement
In a conversation on his proposed memoir, the late K K Modi had pointed out he did not expect more than 60-70 per cent of the real value of the companies (in his group) to be realised in case his family went for an outright sale after his death.

The book could not be completed because of his sudden death late last year.

Modi said after him his family members would have three choices under the trust agreement — they could amicably choose a leader but there could not be two players running the show, divide the assets, or go for an outright sale and divide the money.

Talking about the challenges in the division, K K Modi said: “There is no solution to get to a single authority. Charu (his daughter) is willing to work under Bina (wife) and they can form a group and say let’s divide the group. But will Lalit (elder son) and Samir (younger son) agree to work together? Lalit is very innovative but Samir is also coming up. My hope is that Lalit will agree to Samir running the business and he can become chairman or work with Bina. But that is difficult.”

The family members are currently involved in a bitter battle on the future of the Rs 10,000-crore empire. Pitted on one side is eldest son Lalit Modi, who wants the assets, which include Godfrey Phillips, Indofil Industries, and Modicare, to be sold. But the rest of the family has opposed the move. The two sides are in a legal wrangle, with Bina Modi moving the Delhi High Court last week, challenging Lalit Modi’s move to conduct arbitration in Singapore on the trust agreement.

Bina has the support of Samir and Charu and they want arbitration to be in India. The matter has been reserved for March 2.

Samir Modi, when contacted on the conversations of K K Modi for the proposed book, said: “The documents speak for themselves and the matter is sub-judice, so I will not be able to comment.”

K K Modi pointed out the two flagship companies in the group — Indofil and GPI — were “strategically good businesses”. For instance, he said GPI’s partner Phillip Morris had the Marlboro brand, which was just like “what Coke is in soft drinks”.

But he was clear the businesses had to be run by professionals. He said: “To run these businesses you need authority and skill. We can’t depend on ourselves to run it, but (they have) to be run by a professional manager who has to be found and given the freedom. But we must have the authority to remove a professional if he does not perform.”

Talking about Lalit Modi’s plans, K K Modi said: “He is working on the cancer hospital. He wants to do big projects only. Of course in such ventures there are always chances of failure.” Lalit modi was unavailable for comment on the issue.

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