November 1, 2015 will be remembered as a sad day.
Brijmohan Lall Munjal, chairman of MotoCorp and maker of the popular Hero range of motorcycles and scooters, died on Sunday after a brief illness. He was 92.
His close to 35% stake in Hero, which he shared with his children, earned him a spot among India’s richest. In October, the patriarch featured at Number 27 on Forbes Asia’s India Rich List with a family fortune of $3 billion.
Munjal was a first generation entrepreneur who started small and through sheer hard work and perseverance made it to the top. Chairman of the Hero Group; honoured with Ernst & Young’s Entrepreneur of the Year award in 2001.
Munjal was born in 1923 at Kamalia, district Toba Tek Singh in unpartitioned Punjab, British India. Kamalia is now in Pakistan. The Munjals then shifted to Ludhiana, a city that was to become the base of their business ventures.
Munjal, who never went to college, started making bicycle components before securing a license to make bicycles. Along with his three brothers, he built Hero Cycles into the world’s largest maker of bicycles.
In 1984, Hero made the leap into producing motorcycles by forging a joint venture with Honda Motor. Their Hero Honda partnership went on to overtake entrenched market leader Bajaj Auto, controlled by billionaire Rahul Bajaj, to become India’s biggest motorcycle maker.
— Times of India (@timesofindia) November 2, 2015
After 27 years, Hero, run by Munjal’s son Pawan, broke ties with the Japanese firm in 2011 renaming their company Hero MotoCorp. While it now competes with Honda, Hero has held on to its position as India’s biggest maker of two-wheelers with a 50% market share.
The patriarch had long handed over operational charge to his sons, Pawan and Sunil, and last June retired as chairman, ceding spot to Pawan.
Deeply saddened at the passing on of Mr BML Munjal the man who created Hero and was the epitome of the quintessential gentleman.
— SUHEL SETH (@suhelseth) November 2, 2015
Sad to hear about the demise of Shri Brijmohan Lall Munjal. He was a great human being and a visionary businessman. RIP
— Naveen Jindal (@MPNaveenJindal) November 2, 2015
Very sorry to hear about the passing away of Sh Brij Mohan Munjal. He was a towering figure, a giant amongst India’s industrialists. — Omar Abdullah (@abdullah_omar) November 1, 2015
— Raj Nayak (@rajcheerfull) November 1, 2015