Thermax - Changing of the Guard
Thermax is an engineering company in India that provides integrated solutions in energy, environment, and chemicals. The Aga family along with family trusts owns 62% of the company. Post a restructuring exercise in 2000, Thermax transforms itself from a small family business to a professionally managed $850 million conglomerate. Meher Pudumjee (family) is the current chairperson of the board. The case traces the journey of the company under the leadership of Meher's father, Rohinton Aga, who builds the business; her mother, Anu Aga, who restructures the company and professionalises it; and finally under Meher and the professional management team. In 2019, with the incumbent CEO scheduled to retire, Meher feels the company stands at a critical inflexion point and needs to rethink its strategy for the future. While historically Thermax has groomed people from within to take on leadership roles, she feels the next chapter of growth requires a completely fresh perspective and initiates a search for an external candidate. What qualities should the ideal candidate possess? How will this new incumbent integrate and extract loyalty as an outsider? Will the culture of the organization need to adapt in order to allow the new CEO to drive change?