Anil Manibhai Naik (born 9 June 1942), popularly known as A. M. Naik, is an Indian industrialist, philanthropist and the Group Chairman of Larsen & Toubro Limited, an Indian engineering conglomerate, and since 2018, the Chairman of the National Skill Development Corporation.
He was awarded the Padma Bhushan, India’s 3rd highest civilian award, in 2009. In 2019, he was awarded the Padma Vibhushan, India’s 2nd highest civilian award. Naik is also the recipient of the ‘Economic Times – Business Leader of the Year Award, for the year 2008.
Naik is a Gujarati. He was born to a family of teachers in Gujarat, also referred to as Master Kutumb in Gujarati language. His father, who used to teach at a public school in Mumbai, heeded Mahatma Gandhi’s call to revitalise India’s villages, and decided to return to his native village along with his family. Young Anil’s early schooling therefore was in Endhal and the neighbouring village of Kharel. In June 1958, Naik enrolled at V.P. Science College in Vallabh Vidyanagar, where he would prepare for a year for admission to an engineering college.
He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Birla Vishvakarma Mahavidyalaya Engineering college in Vallabh Vidyanagar in Gujarat.
After graduation, he went to Mumbai with a note from his father introducing him to Viren J. Shah working in Mukand Iron & Steel Works Limited to apply for its engineering programme. Due to his lack of proficiency in English, the personnel manager had asked him to improve his English. So Naik started working on his English skills. In the meantime, he joined Nestor Boilers, which was a Parsi-owned firm. Changes in ownership and management style at Nestor Boilers prompted Naik to turn to L&T.
Career at L&T
On 15 March 1965, Naik joined L&T, as a junior engineer. A rapid rise followed. He was appointed Assistant Manager within three years and 15 days of joining – a record at L&T. He was promoted as General Manager in 1986. He became Member of board of L&T Limited on 23 November 1989. In 1999, he took over as the Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director. In 2003, he became the Chairman of Larsen & Toubro, the first employee in the Company’s history to be elevated to this post. At the helm, Naik initiated the transformation process that made L&T into a more entrepreneurial organisation with increased emphasis on wealth creation for all stakeholders. In an interview to McKinsey, Naik explained his reasons for the portfolio rationalisation that he undertook. In 2017, he stepped aside from executive responsibilities, and took over as Group Chairman.
Ring fencing L&T
In the late 1980s, L&T encountered a take over attempt as a large business group seized substantial stake in the company. Matters came to a head in 2002, when the group’s entire holding was transferred en bloc to yet another family-owned business house. The way in which Naik thwarted the take-over and fortified L&T against such threats has been widely covered in the media. It ended in a ‘win-win’, with all parties concerned being happy with the outcome. S. Gurumurthy, currently on the Board of the Reserve Bank of India described the events as a ‘security threat for L&T being converted into a security ring.’ The Employee Stock Options which emanated from the successful resolution of the issue gave financial security to a large section of employees, and allowed them to share in the Company’s growth.
Shaping L&T into a ‘Nation Builder’
Naik’s stewardship of L&T is characterised by a sharper focus on sectors of national significance – defence, nuclear, aerospace, infrastructure, oil & gas and power. He has been instrumental in imparting a strong, nationalistic orientation to the Company’s products, offerings and capabilities, giving rise to its description as ‘the company that is building 21st Century India’.
Chairman – NSDC
In 2018, the Government of India appointed Naik the Chairman of the National Skill Development Corporation – the apex body to promote skilling and part of the Skill India mission of the Prime Minister. Making the announcement, Skill Development and Entrepreneurship Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said under Naik’s leadership, the corporation apart from its engagement in executing skilling modules, should also be a think-tank providing direction and necessary guidance for creating a demand-based skilling ecosystem in the country. Naik said NSDC has developed a unique model combining skill development with strong industry partnerships. NSDC, under the ministry, aims to promote skill development by catalysing creation of large, quality and for-profit vocational institutions. The organisation provides funding to build scalable and profitable vocational training initiatives.
In his personal capacity, Naik is a philanthropist who is committed to securing positive outcomes on his initiatives in healthcare, education and skill-building. In August 2016, Naik announced that he would give 75% of his income to charitable causes over his lifetime, setting up the Naik Charitable Trust for education and the Nirali Memorial Medical Trust for healthcare.
Nirali Memorial Medical Trust had entered into an agreement to set up a Cancer Hospital at Navsari which will be operated by Tata Trusts. In January 2019, the Prime Minister of India laid the foundation stone for the Cancer hospital in Navsari, Gujarat. The healthcare campus at Navsari will also house a speciality hospital for which the NMMT has tied up with the Apollo Hospitals Group. NMMT also runs Nirali Memorial Radiation Centre in nearby Surat, a multi-disciplinary hospital at Powai in Mumbai and provides modern medical facilities at a hospital at Kharel, Gujarat.
Awards and Honours
|2019||Padma Vibhushan||Government of India|
|2018||Lifetime Achievement Award||Bombay Management Association|
|2018||Lifetime Achievement Award||Business Today|
|2017||India’s 50 Greatest CEOs Ever||Outlook Magazine|
|2015||Giants International Award||Giants International|
|2015||Businessman of the Year 2014 Award||Business India|
|2015||Lakshya Business Business Visionary Awards 2015||National Institute of Industrial Engineering (NITIE), Mumbai|
|2014||India Today Power List – 50 Most Powerful People||India Today|
|2012||The Best-Performing CEOs in the World||Harvard Business Review|
|2012||D.M. Trivedi Lifetime Achievement Award||Indian Chemical Council|
|2012||Infrastructure Leader of the Year||Infrastructure Excellence Awards|
|2012||Most Powerful CEOs||Economic Times|
|2010||Asia Business Leader Award – 2010||CNBC Asia|
|2010||Golden Peacock Life Time Achievement Award for Business Leadership||Golden Peacock Awards|
|2010||Harish Mahindra Memorial Global Award for Outstanding Contribution to Corporate Leadership||Priyadarshni Academy|
|2010||Business leader of the Year – Building India||NDTV Profit|
|2010||Best CEO of the Year Award||Indian Society for Training & Development|
|2010||Qimpro Platinum Standard – National Statesman Award for Excellence in Business||Qimpro Foundation|
|2009||Mumbai’s 50 Most Influential||DNA|
|2009||India’s 50 Most Powerful People||Business Week|
|2009||Padma Bhushan||Government of India|
|2009||Business Leader of the Year||The Economic Times|
|2009||Gujarat Garima (Pride of Gujarat) Award||Government of Gujarat|
|2008||Entrepreneur Of The Year||Ernst & Young|
|2008||Best Transformational Leader||Asian Centre for Corporate Governance & Sustainability Awards|
|2008||V. Krishnamurthy Award for Excellence||Centre for Organization Development, Hyderabad|
|2005||Sankara Ratna||Sankara Nethralaya|
|2004||Lifetime Achievement Excellence Award for ‘Best Corporate Man of the Decade’||Foundation of Indian Industry & Economists|
|2003||JRD TATA Corporate Leadership Award||All India Management Association|
- Honorary Consul General for Denmark.
- Senior member of the Confederation of Indian Industry.
- Member of the Board of Trade, Ministry of Commerce, Government of India.
- Fellow of the Indian National Academy of Engineers.
- Former Member of the Board of Governors of the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.
- Nominated as the Chairman of the IIMA (IIM Ahmedabad) Society and the Board of Governors, for a period of three years starting 28 March 2012
- Conferred ‘Doctor of Letters’ (Honoris Causa) by the Sardar Patel Universityon 15 December 2011
- Conferred Doctor of Philosophy from Gujarat Technological Universityon 19 January 2013
- Conferred Doctor of Letters from Veer Narmad Universityof South Gujarat on 26 February 2016
- Conferred Doctor of Science from Maharaja Sayajirao University of Barodain December 2016
A.M. Naik is married to Geeta Naik. They have two children.