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Nilesh Gupta Sets Target at $5 billion by 2018

“I’ll be 40 soon,” quipped 39-year-old Nilesh Gupta, who takes over as drug-maker Lupin’s Managing Director from Monday.

Nilesh and his sister Vinita Gupta (44), Lupin’s new Chief Executive, have been tasked with steering the Rs 9,400 crore-plus company to its “aspirational”, even “audacious”, target of achieving revenues of $5 billion by 2018, set by their father and founder-chairman D.B. Gupta.

The young team takes charge even as slow growth and job losses cast a long shadow over the economy. The Indian pharma industry, for instance, is dealing with multiple challenges including greater price control on medicines in the domestic market and intensified regulatory scrutiny in global markets like the US.

“In the last five years, the company has done well and the work for that was done in the previous five years,” said Nilesh. “I’ve shared this with Vinita and KKS (K.K. Sharma, Vice-Chairman of Lupin). We really want to take the next two years to set the company on the chart for future growth thereafter. So …what we do in the next two years will define the next 5-10 years thereafter.”


Nilesh’s new responsibilities include looking after entire regions like India and sectors like active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). “So far I did not have any P&L (profit and loss) responsibilities,” he said.

In the past, he had been involved in other capacities, including heading technical and supply-chain operations. Now, the buck stops with him — he will be involved in Lupin’s financial performance.

“The challenge is not growing, the challenge is how fast can we grow…and how can we do it sensibly,” he added. The target is to be a $3-billion company by 2015.

“I’ll highlight the aspiration — it’s to be a $5-billion company by 2018,” said Nilesh.

The targets had always been big, coming from DB Gupta to the rest of the company, he said. “That’s why Lupin has reached where it is, by setting those big audacious goals to work towards – whether it is in India, the US or anywhere else,” he added.

Lupin’s road ahead involves plugging gaps in markets not covered, including China, Russia and Latin America; acquiring products or technologies that serve its long-term growth strategy; and building its research portfolio including the new chemical entities basket in therapeutic areas like metabolic disorders, central nervous system and cancer.

Attrition levels in the pharma industry are high — 25 per cent among medical representatives and 20 per cent at other levels.

But the market was not all gloom and doom, Nilesh indicated.

There was a difference between education and employability, he said. What worked in class need not translate on the ground, at the workplace.

“We are seeing that challenge,” he said, adding that people joining Lupin were put through induction and acclimatisation programmes to get them up to speed at work.


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