Gautam Goel - 4th Generation Steward of Dhampur Sugar Mills [The Business of Family]


28 December 2020

49 mins 50 secs

Season 1

Your Host
Special Guest

About this Episode

Gautam Goel is the fourth generation Managing Director of Dhampur International Pte Ltd, the parent company and Dhampur International Pte Ltd.

Founded in India in 1933 by Gautam’s great grandfather, he along with fellow members of the current generation continue to steward the family and business legacy today.

Listen on to hear how the business was intentionally split off from a wider family group to resolve in-fighting, how they’ve professionalised the business and what challenges they face when contemplating the 5th generation’s involvement.

Standout Quotes:

  • My dad used to tell me "if you want to join the work, you have to make sure you are capable, I won't yield an inch if I don't think you are capable and you have to fight for your position, I am not going to give it to you" - [Gautam Goel]
  • "I don't believe in the saying Look before you leap because very often you don't leap, only when you leap do you realize what your capabilities are" - [Gautam Goel]
  • "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you" - [Gautam Goel]
  • "Don't be fixated on results, put in your best, do your effort and leave the results" - [Gautam Goel]

Key Takeaways:

  • Gautam encouraged his daughters to go to college, explaining that going straight to work makes you grow up fast and there is no need to rush the experience when you can enjoy it.
  • When trying different things, it is important not to move too fast from one to another because you might not give each your full attention
  • Business can't be a democracy, one person has to make the decisions
  • Gautam explains that to be in this industry in India, you cannot solely be profit-oriented, you need to have a mindset to do good for your community.
  • Not encouraging recklessness, but as long as you have common sense, it's good to be adventurous and make some mistakes to figure things out.
  • Don't be fixated on results, results are not in your control, your effort is

Episode Timeline:

  • [00:49] About Gautam Goel and the history of his family business.
  • [14:31] How did you end up joining the family business?
  • [20:25] Gautam describes the natural process of his succession noting how this affects decision making in the business
  • [24:55] What does the business look like today, from where it started?
  • [34:36] Is there a next-generation that is interested in joining the family business, and what challenges do you foresee?
  • [40:36] Integrating the idea of outside leadership in the family business
  • [42:26] Are there structures or plans in place regarding family governance?
  • [43:48] Gautam's thoughts on children inheriting wealth
  • [45:50] Are you taking any steps to document the history of the family business?
  • [46:25] Gautam's letter to his kids

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