Sunil Bharti Mittal
Chairman and Managing Director, Bharti Group
“Right from the beginning ours was never a trading or money-making mentality, but of wanting to be recognized in our field and to establish a corporation. We did things never tried before in India. We wanted to prove that even with meager capital we could do bigger things.”…Sunil Bharti Mittal
Story behind his name
His parents (father Sat Paul Mittal, a bania, and mother, a khatri—Hindu castes) had an inter caste marriage, which created a brouhaha at that time, forcing them to adopt the surname Bharti. Sunil Bharti reclaimed the surname Mittal much later in life.
Mr. Mittal started his first business in 1976 at the age of 18, with an investment of Rs 20,000 borrowed from his father. His first business was to make crankshafts for local bicycle manufacturers. In 1980 he sold his bicycle parts and yarn factories and moved to Mumbai. Later, in 1982 he became the exclusive dealer for Suzuki Motors’s portable electric power generators imported from Japan. His business was running smoothly but later on the government banned the import of generators as two Indian companies were awarded licenses to manufacture generators locally.
Then in 1986, Sunil Bharti Mittal incorporated Bharti Telecom Limited (BTL) and entered into a technical tie up with Siemens AG of Germany for manufacturing of electronic push button phones. Gradually he expanded his business and by early 1990s, Sunil Mittal was making fax machines, cordless phones and other telecom gear.
In 1995, Sunil Mittal founded Bharti Cellular Limited (BCL) to offer cellular services under the brand name AirTel. Soon, Bharti became the first telecom company to cross the 2 million mobile subscriber mark. In 2001, BCL entered into a joint venture with Singapore Telecom International for a $650-million submarine cable project, India’s first ever undersea cable link connecting Chennai in India and Singapore.
Always enthusiastic and brimming with ideas, Mittal, has revolutionized India’s mobile telephony and shown to the world the power of a market called “India”. Famous for his guts to take business risks, it’s no wonder that accolades and awards have followed Mittal in quick succession. In fact, he was chosen as one of the top entrepreneurs in the world in 2000 and was leveled amongst ‘Stars of Asia’ by ‘Business Week’. Not only this, he received IT Man of the Year Award in 2002 from Dataquest and CEO of the Year, 2002 Award (World HRD Congress). He features in the Forbes 2007 list of world’s billionaires at rank 69.
Despite his hectic schedule, Mittal still remains quintessentially a simple, down-to-earth man who loves spending whatever time he could get, with his family. A man, for whom yoga is a great stress buster, Mittal’s never-say-die attitude and his risk-taking abilities are sure to take him to new heights of glories.