Industrialist R P Goenka passes away

Dr. Rama Prasad GoenkaRama Prasad Goenka, one of the old guards of Indian industry who made his mark across a spectrum of businesses from music to tyre, died early on Sunday at his residence.

Better known as R P Goenka, the Kolkata-based industrialist is survived by his wife Sushila and sons Harsh Vardhan and Sanjiv.

Goenka, 83, died after a brief illness, family sources said.

R P Goenka was better known as India's own `takeover specialist' who made his mark in almost all businesses he ventured into.

The Goenka family, hailing originally from Rajasthan, shifted to Kolkata as far back as 1820 when Ramdutta Goenka started business with the British East India Company.

By the 1900s, the family had established itself in diverse businesses.

Born on 1 March 1930 as the eldest son of Keshav Prasad Goenka and Rukmini Devi, Rama Prasad Goenka graduated from Presidency College in Kolkata and later did his management course from Harvard University before joining the family business.

RP Goenka set up RPG Enterprises in 1979, following a division of assets among his three brothers.

RPG Enterprises, which started off as a Rs100-crore group, later  went on a takeover spree during the '80s, acquiring a number of medium and large units engaged in a range of businesses from carbon black, power generation and transmission, pharmaceuticals and IT to music.

RPG Enterprises now includes some of the big names such as tyre major CEAT, power utility CESC, Spencer's Retail, music company Saregama, power transmission group KEC International, RPG Life Sciences and carmaker ICML.

RPG handed over reins to his sons Harsh Vardhan and Sanjiv in 1990, who became chairman and deputy chairman, respectively, of the group.

Later, in 2011, Sanjiv Goenka set up RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group while Harsh Goenka continued as chairman of RPG Enterprises, which now comprises 10 companies, including CEAT, RPG Life Sciences, KEC International and Zensar Technologies.

The group has a total turnover of around Rs16,000 crore.

Sanjiv Goenka's RP-Sanjiv Goenka Group comprises 13 companies, including CESC, PCBL, Music World, Spencer's Retail and Saregama, with combined turnover of Rs14,000 crore.

R P Goenka who had served as president of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and the Confederation of Asia-Pacific Chambers of Commerce & Industry, was also a former member of the Rajya Sabha.

He had also served for several years as chairman, board of governors, IIT-Kharagpur, which later conferred on him an honorary Doctor of Science degree.

He had also served as a trustee of the Jawaharlal Nehru Memorial Fund, the Indira Gandhi Memorial Trust and the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation.

R P Goenka had received several honours, including 'The Order of the Sacred Treasure Gold and Silver Star' from the Emperor of Japan twice and the Lifetime Contribution Award from the All India Management Association.